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The Symmetrical Anthropology of Testing Autonomous Vehicles

[Simmetrichnaia antropologiia testirovaniia bespilotnykh avtomobilei]

DOI: https://doi.org/10.31857/S0869541522010031

Type of publication: Research Article

Submitted: 11.11.2021

Accepted: 20.01.2022

About author(s)

Nikolay Rudenko | https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9511-3881 | diogenstyx@gmail.com | European University at St. Petersburg (6/1a Gagarinskaya Str., St. Petersburg, 191187,


anthropology of technology, science and technology studies, autonomous vehicles, symmetrical anthropology, testing, Yandex


Smart technologies are becoming mainstream. In these conditions, the need to study their implementation in human everyday life becomes more acute. The anthropology of technology sets itself such a task. This anthropology can be divided into two types: the first type operates with the usual disciplinary languages with an emphasis on culture. The other is trying to work with the dynamics of socio-technical assemblies. This article contributes to the second type of research. I argue that we will be able to understand the success of smart technology in interacting with humans if we turn to the approach of symmetric anthropology. However, in the latter, the idea of testing is not fully worked out. Therefore, I put forward the thesis that testing in the network is implemented with the help of special intermediaries. Along with the growth of the network of such intermediaries, the numbers of those become larger; they unite in a series, testing the adaptation of the network to new elements and the stability of relations between the elements. I illustrate the thesis taking two cases of testing autonomous vehicles in Russia.

Funding Information

This research was supported by the following institutions and grants:
Russian Science Foundation, https://doi.org/10.13039/501100006769 [grant no.20-78-10106]


Rudenko, N. I. 2022. Simmetrichnaia antropologiia testirovaniia bespilotnykh avtomobilei [The Symmetrical Anthropology of Testing Autonomous Vehicles]. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 1: 30–48. https://doi.org/10.31857/S0869541522010031

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