About Animal-Computer Interaction
ACI is a rapidly growing field, which focuses on the interaction between animals and computing-enabled technology and for which the International Conference on Animal-Computer Interaction is the main convention venue. ACI2021, the conference's eighth edition, takes place 9-11 November 2021, hosted ONLINE by Indiana University Bloomington, USA.
ACI as a discipline
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’ individual lives, social dynamics, welfare, activities and experience? What kind of technology could improve animals’ lives and how could such technology be developed? At the crossroad between technology, biology and culture, the field of ACI addresses this kind of 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. Broadly speaking, ACI’s core aims include:
- Studying and theorizing the interaction between animals and technology in naturalistic settings, whether the interaction is direct or indirect, dyadic or distributed, active or passive, synchronous or asynchronous
- Developing animal-centered technology that can improve animals’ wellbeing, support animals in their activities and foster intra- and inter-species relationships
- Informing multidisciplinary animal-centered approaches that can enable animals to participate in the design process as legitimate stakeholders and contributors.
Overall, the shared ambition of ACI researchers and practitioners is the development of more inclusive societies and more - ethically, economically and environmentally - sustainable forms of technologically supported living.
As a field of research and practice, ACI extends the study, design and development of computing-enabled interactions to all animals, including humans as members of the kingdom animalia, taking a multispecies perspective that acknowledges the evolutionary continuities between species in terms of participating agents, methods and applications.
The benefits of such a multidisciplinary perspective are both practical – including, for example, the improvement of animal wellbeing and human-animal relations – and disciplinary – including, for example, the strengthening and expansion of theoretical and methodological frameworks and the discovery of innovative applications.
To address the theoretical, methodological and ethical challenges encountered in the pursuit of animal-centered design and computing, ACI brings together researchers and practitioners from fields as diverse as biology (e.g. animal ergonomics, cognition, behaviour and welfare science), technology (e.g. engineering, computing, informatics, design) and cultural studies (e.g. geography, anthropology, ethnography), making ACI a fundamentally interdisciplinary field.
We warmly invite you to join us to help us break new ground and make a difference in this challenging, exciting and innovative field.