Course title: Essay Example

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Smartwatch story……………………………………………………………………….3

Apple`s peer-to-peer payment app………………………………………………6



1.0 Introduction

Actor-network theory is also known as the sociology of translation in simpler terms to state. This particular theory was developed by scholars of science and technology who go by the names; Michel Callon (Callon, 1986), Bruno (Latour, 1996) and John (Law, 1992). The major objective towards the development of this theory was to generally understand the process of innovation and the creation of knowledge in the realm of science and technology (Law & Hassard, 1999).

This notable theory of interest tries to establish the connection between the humans and the inanimate objects which human beings interact with during his or her course of life. The actor-network has been established to examine into details the motivators and the subsequent actions of the actors who form elements that are actually linked by association of the heterogeneous networks of aligned interests
(Hooper, 2014).

Actor network theory is very important while employing it to study computing. Actor network theory presents a very powerful qualitative research tool for the growing number of researchers who their aim is to understand how the technology and the modern society are linked together (Tatnall, 2005). The concept of the networks under this theory allows the researchers to get rid of the proximity of consideration which can actually cast doubts of the objects with remote connections when analyzed using this theory. Finally, actor network theory makes the study of the social artifacts much easier in the modern era of computing (Latour, 2005).

2.0 Smart watch (

The first story of consideration in this particular paper is about the smartwatch that actually tells you what you are touching. This smart watch was developed by the Disney Company and it’s a modern invention referred to as the EM-Sense. This smartwatch works by actually detecting the tiny electromagnetic signals that are emanated by the human body when touching any electromechanical object.

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Figure 1: The Disney Smart Watch < >

In this particular story there are several actants. We got the human being actant the smartwatch actant. The smartwatch can be described as a hardware that runs on customized software. The human actant and the hardware actant have been established to influence each other’s behavior. The human being directly influences the behavior of the smart watch, what the human being touches is only what the smartwatch can store data about and later use it to influence human behavior. Therefore both actants influence each other’s behavior; the smartwatch actant even offers to remind the human being about certain activities that ought to be undertaken at a certain periods of time.

The smartwatch runs on a system that can termed as a computer system. The goal of any computer system is to enhance the management and ease the processes of doing work. The smartwatch helps in the management of self programs. What kind of self programs? These are the daily activities that are normally accomplished by the smartwatch wearer, the smartwatch offers to remind it`s wearer about activities that he or she normally undertakes at certain times of the day, for example while going home in the evening, the smartwatch can offer to remind you that you normally buy a packet of milk, therefore this computer system helps in time management.

The actants of this specific story have been observed to raise many issues and views. Some views are techno-optimistic whilst others are techno-pessimistic. It is very true that big data is generated by the smartwatch; imagine the smartwatch storing data for a period of three years? What vast amount of data is that? Theorists such as Morozov pin points that there are a lot of problems that arise from the quantifying of data (Morozov, 2011). These problems can range from moral to political. He further says that modern technology is good but we ought to be cautious since in modern era, data is collected, stored in vast amount and later sold. Therefore should we embrace modern technology? It remains a lingering question in our minds but it should be understood that one man`s utopia is another man`s brave world. Simply to state is that for every advent of new technology there are underlying merits and demerits. A techno-pessimistic theorist by the name Nicholas Carr states that since human behavior is adjusted, then this technology diminishes our ability of concentration and contemplation
(Carr, 2010). Imagine since the smartwatch offer to remind me of everything that I normally do every day, and then I will never strain to remember or concentrate since I got my personal keeper who tells me that I have taken much time to perform a certain duty that I normally do in a short time. Well, I agree with the view.

In the era of modern computing, an actant has been established not to act in isolation. If the actant acts in isolation, then nothing can be achieved. From the story of the human being and the smartwatch, both actants do not act in isolation. They work together to realize a goal in the modern era of computing. The smart watch must be worn by the human being top receive the data and store it in its internal memory. The smart watch in turn assists the human being by dictating what he or she touches, it also serves the role of reminding what certain activities ought to be undertaken at certain times and for how long. It is clear that the smart watch saves the resource of time by positively influencing the human being.

3.0 Apple`s peer-to-peer payment app (

This is a story that generally talks about a money transfer application that is run on a mobile especially the iphone’s. This particular application allows the users’ to transfer money to one another and also make payments at the stores, supermarkets or any other outlet where this payment is accepted.

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Figure 2: Apple Pay being used in the UK < >

This is an interesting story with several actants, we have the human actant, the mobile phone hardware actant and the software regarded as the peer to peer payment app actant. All the three actants must act together to realize a working network. The peer to peer application must be installed in the mobile phone so that the human being can operate the mobile phone, launch the application and make a money transfer or a payment. We see how the peer to peer application influences both the mobile phone hardware and the human being. It is very true also that the mobile phone influences both the software and the human being. And it is very correct that human being influence the two actants, if a human being wants to make a payment, he operates the mobile phone, then the software application to make the payment, he is the master of the two actants.

In the modern era, the aspect of management is very critical, proper management means great success, the computer system in this story is greatly enhances the management, we see how the peer to peer payment system positively enhances self personality and the business world, the system ensures that a person can make instant payments or money transfer in a secure mode and the same time incurring minimal costs. We also note how a great business opportunity is being realized by the apple company, the Apple Company will realize enormous profits out of this computerized system that requires only computers to operate, much time and capital is saved by the advent of this computer system.

Several key issues result from this story, techno-optimistic theorist by the name Clay Shirky states that since the 1940s people have developed the culture of using the free time constructively for creative acts rather than the consumptive one`s (Shirky, 2010). Indeed I side with the theorist since this peer to peer payment application was achieved as a result of using the free time constructively. Programmers used their ample time and high end levels of innovation to realize this priceless product to the market. However others such as Morozov argue that generation of big data will lead to moral and political problems (Morozov, 2011). How will such problems arise? Modern gadgets collect data and store it at central data banks, what do you think will happen to people who refuse to be monitored? Definitely the way they are treated will change; the peer to peer application will of course have data storage mechanism since it is monetary system. Then, should we embrace this kind of technology? The final decision lies on the nature and weight of problems we are faced by during the course of our lives
(Law & Hassard, 1999).

Indeed an actant in modern computing doesn`t act in isolation, the human being, the mobile phone and the peer to peer payment software interacted and worked together to realize and working payment and money transfer system. Therefore the slogan that an actant in the modern computing does not act in isolation is very true.

4.0 Conclusion

We have established that actants must work together in order to change the actor-network from a virtual plan to actual activity. An actant cannot work in isolation to achieve any personalized goal. It was established that an actant only acts when its actions directly influence another actant within the network. If an actant does not influence other actants, then the actant is in isolation. From our both stories, actants were never in isolation at all. We can therefore conclude that actor network theory was equally important and appropriate in the analysis of the stories since I was able to establish the connection between the humans and the inanimate objects which human beings interact with during the course of life.


TATNALL, A. (2005). Actor-Network Theory in Information Systems Research.

MOROZOV, E. (2011). The net delusion: the dark side of Internet freedom. New York, NY, PublicAffairs.

CARR, N. G. (2010). The shallows: what the Internet is doing to our brains. New York, W.W. Norton.

SHIRKY, C. (2010). Cognitive surplus: creativity and generosity in a connected age. New York, Penguin Press.

Apple ‘to launch peer-to-peer payment app’ — BBC News. 2015. Apple ‘to launch peer-to-peer payment app’ — BBC News. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 16 November 2015].

This ​Disney smartwatch can identify anything you touch. 2015. This ​Disney smartwatch can identify anything you touch. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 16 November 2015].

HOOPER, L. (2014). Actor network theory. [Place of publication not identified], Grin Verlag Gmbh.

LAW, J., & HASSARD, J. (1999). Actor network theory and after. Oxford [England], Blackwell/Sociological Review.

LATOUR, B. (2005). Reassembling the social an introduction to actor-network-theory. Oxford, Oxford University Press.