Dr James Wright

James Wright


Research Associate


Dr James Wright is a Research Associate on PATH-AI: Mapping an Intercultural Path to Privacy, Agency, and Trust in Human-AI Ecosystems, a joint project with RIKEN, Japan's largest comprehensive research institution. The project studies the values of privacy, agency, and trust from a comparative and intercultural perspective looking at both Japan and the UK.

James’ PhD in anthropology and science and technology studies (STS) at the University of Hong Kong, completed in 2018, looked at the development and attempted implementation of care robots in Japan, and involved 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Japan. This work formed the basis of his upcoming book, Robots Won’t Save Japan: An Ethnography of Eldercare Automation, due to be published in January 2023 by Cornell University Press.

Before joining The Alan Turing Institute, James was a research associate on the Sustainable Care programme at the University of Sheffield, where he examined how digital technologies are transforming adult social care in the UK, and what potential they hold for the future. He was also a postdoctoral fellow at the Fondation France-Japon, part of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) in Paris, where he worked on a comparison between Japanese and European publicly funded care robot projects.

James’ recent invited lectures and talks include:

  • “Are robots the solution to Japan’s care crisis?” Sci-Tech Asia Webinar.
  • “Suspect AI - Vibraimage, Emotion Recognition Technology, and Algorithmic Opacity.” Invited seminar, Mellon Sawyer Seminar on Histories of AI.
  • “The potential of technology in adult social care.” Interview, “Care Matters” podcast.
  • “Alexa, Care Worker Platforms, and Emergent Precarious Technologies of Care in the UK.” Conference paper presentation, Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) Annual Conference.
  • “Technology in care: opportunities and obstacles in place-based care contexts.” Conference paper presentation, Sustainable Care Conference, University of Sheffield.
  • “ICT development and use in social care systems in the UK.” Invited talk, Technology-Enabled Care Services Association (TSA).
  • “Robots and AI in Japanese care.” Invited talk, BNP Paribas.
  • “AI, robots and care work in Japan.” Invited seminar, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST).
  • “Robot care devices in action.” Invited seminar, Japanese National Institute for Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST).
  • “Robots vs immigrants? Reconfiguring the future of Japanese institutional eldercare.” Invited lecture, SOAS Japan Research Seminar.
  • “Care robots in Japan.” Invited seminar, Centre Maurice Halbwachs CNRS-EHESS and Ecole Normale Supérieure.
  • “Public innovation and emerging technologies in health and social care across Japan and Europe.” Panel organizer, École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) workshop

Research interests

James’ research interests include:

  • The ethical and societal challenges posed by AI and robots, and how these challenges differ across different cultural contexts
  • The development and use of robots, AI, and other digital technologies for the care and wellbeing of older adults, particularly in Japan
  • Digital emotion recognition and suspect detection systems
  • Responsible research and innovation practices
  • Public innovation policy and practice in Japan, Europe, and the UK