As a cultural sociologist I investigate how authenticity is negotiated in the context of emerging technologies. Currently I am working on my PhD research about authenticity and artificial (un)intelligence at the University of Twente, combined with my work at SETUP Media Lab.

People and societies increasingly understand themselves in the mirror of AI-technologies. Our communications, jobs, relationships, healthcare systems, welfare regimes, city governance, and educational systems are increasingly co-shaped by data-models and AI-systems. AI increasingly (mis)informs us about what is the self as well as the artefacts surrounding the self. Due to society’s preoccupation with artificial intelligence and robots becoming more “human-like”, have we come to overlook an important, inverse question: in what ways are humans and societies becoming more machine-like?

authenticity // emerging technologies // (digital) culture
My research on the authenticity ideal of ‘being true to yourself’ in the context of mental health medications resulted in a peer-reviewed publication and annual guest lecture for the Sociology mastercourse “Medicalization, Healthcare and Social Control”. I consider my previous jobs in healthcare and social services as an important source of practice-driven knowledge on socio-cultural complexity, and have investigated cultural negotiations of authenticity in the following contexts:
• Medicalization (University of Amsterdam 2011-2012)
• Cosmetic surgery (Centre for Rotterdam Cultural Sociology 2013-2016)
• Social robotics (Erasmus University, department Medical ethics and Philosophy 2017)
• Digital algorithms (Medialab SETUP 2018-current)
• Human | Machine complementarity (Medialab SETUP 2019-current)
• Artificial Intelligence (University of Twente 2019-current)

Writing: SETUP reads // Vrij Nederland // Brainwash // iBestuur // Mediawijzer // Hard//hoofd // OneWorld// Sociale Vraagstukken // Next Nature Network
• Demystifying artificial intelligence and emerging digital technologies
Contributing to ethical debates on emerging technologies
• Critical thinking

Spithoven, R. and Beerends, S. (2019) ‘Crystal ball security’: Towards a responsible application of Big Data techniques in the security complex, Tijdschrift voor veiligheid, 18 (3-4) 75-92. Visit open acces

Beerends, S. (2019) Book Review The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, Delphi – Interdisciplinary Review of Emerging Technologies, Volume 2, Issue 3. Visit open acces

Beerends, S. (2019) How (Un)intelligent Is Our Collaboration with Artificial Intelligence? Delphi – Interdisciplinary Review of Emerging Technologies, Volume 2, Issue 1. Visit open acces

Beerends, S. and Bröer, C. (2012) ‘Als je pillen gaat slikken, vermijd je iets wat echt is’: romantische en sociologische denkbeelden in het publieke debat over geestelijke gezondheidszorg. Sociologie, 8 (3), 318-342. Visit open acces

Image by Gerd Leonhard