Call: ACI2017: Fourth International Conference on Animal-Computer Interaction

ACI2017: Fourth International Conference on Animal-Computer Interaction
21-23 November 2017, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
www.aci2017.org
#aci2017conf

Submission deadline for papers and workshop proposals: 30th June 2017

ACI is the main international conference on Animal-Computer Interaction, a rapidly growing field that focuses on the interaction between animals and computing-enabled technology.

Animals have been exposed to, and have interacted with, technology for the best part of a century; for example, in conservation studies, behavioural experiments, comparative cognition studies, precision farming and various support roles. But how does technology affect animals in their individual and social lives? How does it enable or disable their natural or learned behaviours? How does it influence their experience? And how does is impact upon their welfare?

At the crossroad between interaction design, on the one hand, and animal behavioural and welfare science, on the other, researchers have begun to address these questions, with a focus on the usability and experience of technology from the perspective of animal users, and on the design processes that inform animal-computer interactions.

As a result, an increasing body of work is shaping the emerging discipline of Animal-Computer Interaction (ACI), with a focus on:

  • Studying and theorizing the interaction between animals and technology in naturalistic settings, with regards to specific animal activities or interspecies relations
  • Developing user-centered technology that can: improve animals’ welfare by enabling the fulfillment of their needs; support animals in tasks humans might ask of them; foster interspecies relationships
  • Informing interdisciplinary user-centered approaches that can enable animals to participate in the design process as legitimate stakeholders and contributors.

As a field of research and practice, ACI extends the study and design of interactions with computing systems to animals beyond humans, whilst still including humans themselves as members of the kingdom animalia. By taking a multispecies perspective, ACI acknowledges the evolutionary continuities existing between species, thus pushing the boundaries of interaction design in terms of participating agents, methods and applications.

Such a perspective has a range of potential benefits that range from improving animal wellbeing and human-animal relations, to the strengthening of disciplines such as human-computer interaction. For example, the development of multispecies research practices and design frameworks could enable designers to better account for the cognitive and ergonomic diversity of their prospective users. ACI could also broaden participation in interaction design, providing inclusive technology to support multispecies communities, and lead to the development of more sustainable forms of technologically supported living. In the longer term, by bringing more-than-human voices to the design table, ACI could help us revisit anthropocentric biases in human activity and interspecies interaction, and contribute to the exploration of alternative models that can better support biodiversity and foster environmental restoration.

Call for Contributions

This year, the conference theme is improving relations. While we invite any ACI-related contributions from any relevant disciplines, we particularly welcome contributions that focus on the improvement of human-animal relations or relations between other animals.

This may concern, for example, theories, methods or applications that have the potential to better support interspecies communication; to improve humans’ understanding of other animals, their characteristics and needs; to enable humans to take better care of other animals; to reduce interspecies conflicts and the impact of human activity on animals; to better supports animals in activities they do for humans; to help humans take better care of animals; to foster the development of ecologically and ethically more sustainable forms of interspecies interaction and cohabitation.

We specifically invite the submission of:

Overall, contributions may relate to any of the following areas:

  • Design: for example, interaction modalities that may need to be developed in order to make technology accessible to other animals; novel designs for users with different sensorial apparatuses, cognitive capabilities, and ergonomic characteristics; multisensory interfaces and alternative interactional paradigms appropriate for ACI; design solutions developed within ACI applications that could inform design within interaction design or animal studies
  • Methodology: for example, methodological frameworks enabling animals to actively participate in the design process as legitimate stakeholders, contributors and users; multidisciplinary methodologies that can be called upon when designing with animals or investigating how technology affects them and their interactions with humans; methodologies that can be derived from other disciplines; more-than-human approaches developed within ACI that could contribute to other disciplines
  • Theory: for example, main challenges that ACI researchers may encounter in conceptualizing the interaction between humans, animals and technology; ways of interpreting the outcomes of applied studies, concrete designs and research practices to articulate such interactions; existing theoretical frameworks from other disciplines, that ACI theories can draw from or contribute to
  • Ethics: for example, legitimate technological applications for ACI; implications of ACI’s animal-centered perspective for conducting research that involves animal participants; ethical frameworks that may or may not be suitable to support the development of ACI; relation between ethics and methodology in ACI; potential influence of ACI ethics on ethical aspects of HCI research
  • Applications: for example, ACI applications relating to animal studies or husbandry, or practices involving animals in a range of contexts; applications that mediate the interaction between humans and other animals, or interactions among other animals; animal technologies that do or do not constitute good examples of or models for ACI.
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