Rejecting acceptance: learning from public dialogue on self-driving vehicles

Stilgoe, Jack and Cohen, Tom 2021. Rejecting acceptance: learning from public dialogue on self-driving vehicles. Science and Public Policy. https://doi.org/10.1093/scipol/scab060

TitleRejecting acceptance: learning from public dialogue on self-driving vehicles
TypeJournal article
AuthorsStilgoe, Jack and Cohen, Tom
AbstractAbstract The investment and excitement surrounding self-driving vehicles are huge. We know from earlier transport innovations that technological transitions can reshape lives, livelihoods, and places in profound ways. There is therefore a case for wide democratic debate, but how should this take place? In this paper, we explore the tensions between democratic experiments and technological ones with a focus on policy for nascent self-driving/automated vehicles. We describe a dominant model of public engagement that imagines increased public awareness leading to acceptance and then adoption of the technology. We explore the flaws in this model, particularly in how it treats members of the public as users rather than citizens and the presumption that the technology is well-defined. Analysing two large public dialogue exercises in which we were involved, our conclusion is that public dialogue can contribute to shifting established ideas about both technologies and the public, but that this reframing demands openness on the part of policymakers and other stakeholders. Rather than seeing public dialogues as individual exercises, it would be better to evaluate the governance of emerging technologies in terms of whether it takes place ‘in dialogue’.
KeywordsManagement, Monitoring, Policy and Law
Public Administration
Geography, Planning and Development
JournalScience and Public Policy
ISSN0302-3427
1471-5430
Year2021
PublisherOxford University Press
Publisher's version
License
CC BY 4.0
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1093/scipol/scab060
Publication dates
Published online20 Aug 2021
Licensehttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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