Problematising Upstream Technology through Speculative Design: The Case of Quantified Cats and Dogs

Lawson, Shaun, Kirman, Ben, Linehan, Conor, Feltwell, Tom and Hopkins, Lisa (2015) Problematising Upstream Technology through Speculative Design: The Case of Quantified Cats and Dogs. In: Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - CHI '15. Association for Computing Machinery, pp. 2663-2672. ISBN 978-1-4503-3145-6

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There is growing interest in technology that quantifies aspects of our lives. This paper draws on critical practice and speculative design to explore, question and problematise the ultimate consequences of such technology using the quantification of companion animals (pets) as a case study. We apply the concept of "moving upstream" to study such technology and use a qualitative research approach in which both pet owners, and animal behavioural experts, were presented with, and asked to discuss, speculative designs for pet quantification applications, the design of which were extrapolated from contemporary trends. Our findings indicate a strong desire among pet owners for technology that has little scientific justification, whilst our experts caution that the use of technology to augment human-animal communication has the potential to disimprove animal welfare, undermine human-animal bonds, and create human-human conflicts. Our discussion informs wider debates regarding quantification technology.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Personal informatics; critical design; design fiction; animal computer interaction; the Quantified Dog
Subjects: G400 Computer Science
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Computer and Information Sciences
Depositing User: Becky Skoyles
Date Deposited: 13 Aug 2018 10:06
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2021 09:52

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