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After the builders had presented their artifacts, we entered into a group discussion in order to share some of the observations that the participants had made during their material engagement with the topic. We also encouraged them to reflect on the workshop and how they approached the topic. The discussion allowed us to complement the rather fun and playful activity of building the artifact - which sometimes included an ironic twist - with a more serious, reflective approach and critical re-considerations of the topic at hand. Although the topic for the workshop was rooted in a current research project on Robotic-assisted surgery within the cluster, some participants voiced concern about what they perceived as techno-solutionism. They felt sceptical about the workshop since it had prompted them to build »magic machines« - if RAS creates emotional and communicative losses during a surgery, why not get rid of the robot instead of trying to improve technology that could never solve the underlying socio-political problems in the first place? 

The participants also self-critically reflected on the references to surveillance technology that were inherent in some of the artifacts. While they were able to take on a theoretically informed critical stance towards filtering and technologies during the paper presentations and discussions, this aspect somehow faded into the background during their material engagement with the topic and their building of the artifacts. This also echoes our experiences when engaging in research that aims at interdisciplinary and responsible technology design: it appears to be particularly challenging for non-technologists to translate theoretically informed critical approaches into productive contributions to responsible technology design. This observation also coincides with the implication of techno-solutionism: instead of trying to effectuate their criticism by actively informing and contributing in the design and conceptualization of sociotechnical systems, some might dismiss a technological approach altogether. 

However, as this workshop has once again shown, material engagements with a complex topic at hand can contribute to opening up new spaces of possibilities. The workshop and the discussions with a broad variety of viewpoints has given us fresh inspiration for how we can address the challenges laid out. Our rationale with integrating a hands-on workshop into an event that is focused on scholarly exchange through the form of paper presentations and discussions was that of expanding our 'ways of knowing'. As part of the interdisciplinary MoA cluster, we pursue the goal to explore new formats that expand existing methodologies in human-computer interaction, for example in regards to how we can conceptualize and actualize non-human agency in the context of human-robotic interaction in RAS. This workshop was one step into this direction.

[1] Kristina Andersen and Ron Wakkary. "The Magic Machine Workshops: Making Personal Design Knowledge". Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. Association for Computing Machinery, New York, USA, 2019
[2] Lia, Hillary, et al. "Setting the Tone in the Operating Room: a Model Guided By Emotions as Social Information Theory." Academy of Management Proceedings. Vol. 2022. No. 1. Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510: Academy of Management, 2022
[3] Pelikan, Hannah RM, et al. "Operating at a distance-how a teleoperated surgical robot reconfigures teamwork in the operating room." Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction. CSCW (2018): 1-28.