New book chapter, 'Your thoughts for a penny?'

By Os Keyes

Corinne and I have a new chapter out together in the edited volume “Economies of Virtue”, which was deeply fun to participate in and write. Our chapter (“Your thoughts for a penny?”) is officially summarised as:

In this chapter, we examine both aspects by drawing from autoethnographic methods and presenting our experiences in the form of stories in which the authors, each entangled in this reality of industry funding in different ways, reflect on our experiences. We examine how our work is shaped by industry funding, how we negotiate our own lines in the sand regarding when or how we are paid ‘pennies for our thoughts’, and how these negotiations and lines evolve over time. Engaging in both individual reflection and dialogic exchange, we ask ourselves (and each other): What lessons can be learned from the ethnographic realities of working on AI in academic settings in which research is reliant on industry funding?

The unofficial story and summary is that the idea showed up after Corinne, Cami and I had been discussing and wrestling with questions of complicity in our work. Cami had to drop out due to other demands on their time, leading to the two of us remaining tacking back and forth between our various experiences of industry internships, funding and so on and so forth.

Reflecting on the chapter now, I’m pretty pleased with how it digs into the social and habit-forming (in a Deweyan sense) aspects of funding and relations. Similarly, the point about forming and maintaining pathways to different complicities (you can’t escape it altogether) is important. It evokes, quite deliberately, Megan Boler’s notion of “critical hope” in teaching.

In many respects, writing this meant writing (and thinking) about different facets of some of the same personal experiences I talked about in my whistleblowing for change chapter; the difference is this is a bit more abstract and structural, both because that’s the approach I wanted to take, and because the passage of time and application of energy means I’m less raw, and relate less immediately and personally, to some of the experiences. They represent me approaching the same thing via different orientations, at different times, and go nicely together.