Personal tools

Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Centre for the Study of Culture and Society

You are here: Home / Research Programmes / Summer School 2018: Readings, Viewings, Links / Nishant Shah, Living in Unpopulated Spaces: Rapid Feminist Prototyping for Survival

Nishant Shah, Living in Unpopulated Spaces: Rapid Feminist Prototyping for Survival

Whether we like it or not, the near future will be defined by automation, artificial intelligence, smart infrastructure, urban intensification and energy generation.


This rapidly approaching  reality begs several questions: How will we co-exist with machines? How will we perceive and relate to destinations with unpopulated architecture? In the absence of universal access to  technology, how will we promote diversity in thinking, living and working without succumbing to the creation of smart societal enclaves?

Lecture + Prototyping workshop:

This day long workshop looks at three concrete questions that are symptomatic of the determinants that shape the city of the future: the trolley problemmachine learning bias, and statistical modelling. We look at the ways in which the resolutions and the staging of these problems produces the new blue-print of traffic, mobility, occupation, inhabitation, design, and living in unpopulated spaces.

The impulse lecture lays out these questions that emerge in the current efforts at prototyping the future city. It further critiques the naturalization of these prototyping impulses and instead offers a set of feminist touchstones that question the presumptions and bring out the implicit biases that need to be corrected in computation based decision making and modelling.


The lecture ends with a prompt which invites the participants to break into working groups and engage in a rapid feminist prototyping that allows for the emergence of alternative ideas.

At the end of the prototyping, each group will present their outcomes and we will enter into a discussion around what the future of cities will look like in the age of unpopulated actors.

Reading Material

Kate Crawford – “AI’s white guy problem” -
Lucy Suchman – “Feminist Research at the Digital/Material boundary”- video and transcript
Renee Ridgway – “From page Rank to RankBrain” -
Maya Ganesh –“Entanglement: Machine learning and human ethics in driver-less car crashes”

Document Actions

Research Programmes