The contingent futures of the mobile present: automation as possibility

Sarah Pink, Vaike Fors, Mareike Glöss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


In this article we outline and demonstrate a design anthropological approach to investigating automated mobile futures as a processual opening up of possibilities, rather than as a process of technological innovation. To undertake this we investigate the example of how the car-smartphone relationship is configuring in the contingent circumstances of the mobile present and the implications of this for automated mobile futures. Our discussion is set in the context of the growing possibility that automonous driving (AD) features are increasingly part of everyday mobilities (even if unequally distributed globally) and in which personal mobile smart technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) will exist in some form and will interface with humans and be interoperable with other technologies. In developing this we draw on ethnographic understandings of how people live with the possibilities afforded by technologies in everyday life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)615-631
Number of pages17
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sep 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • automation
  • autonomous driving cars
  • Design anthropology
  • mobile futures
  • smartphones

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