In this article, we examine how the digital material value of emerging technologies is articulated in technology design contexts. We argue that here digital material value lies not in the monetisation of an artefact or product but in the opening up of possibilities for its use. Thus, to generate digital material value, a certain configuration of things and processes that enables its value to be relevant is required. We develop this through a processual theory of digital materiality, which attends to how the affordances of digital material things emerge in shifting circumstances, and a corresponding theory of value. To demonstrate how this happens in human experience and action, we draw on ethnographic research with drone developers in Australia. Studying digital materiality through emerging technologies goes beyond seeing technologies and data as finished commodities that are modified when consumed towards studying the incompleteness of the technology design process itself.
- Digital materiality
- emerging technologies
- ethnography of technology design