There are many emergent topics surrounding working animals. They are integral to millions of humans’ lives, working in human assistance, military operations, farming, or transportation. This workshop will examine the role of ACI when designing technology for working animals. It will engage with the important reflection of some of these deeper topical issues (e.g. the ethics of having animals ‘work for’ humans) and how they apply to our field, as well as examine topics that are specific to ACI (e.g. if/when/how a new technology should be integrated into an existing training framework). The workshop will particularly focus on the ethical considerations from the field of ACI when designing technology-based interactions and challenges if technology is applicable and whether it should even be considered. Following this, in situations where the ACI community engages with the development of technology for working animals, we will discuss related methods and challenges.




Panel discussion


09:00 – 09:10

09:15 – 10:00


14:00 – 14:10

14:15 – 15:00


01:00 – 01:10

01:15 – 02:00

Session 1

Session 1 debrief

10:00 – 10:30

10:30 – 11:00

15:00 – 15:30

15:30 – 16:00

02:00 – 02:30

02:30 – 03:00

Break – 30 min

Session 2

Session 2 debrief

11:30 – 12:00

12:00 – 12:30

16:30 – 17:00

17:00 – 17:30

03:30 – 04:00

04:00 – 04:30

Session 3

Session 3 debrief

12:30 – 13:00

13:00 – 13:30

17:30 – 18:00

18:00 – 18:30

04:30 – 05:00

05:00 – 05:30

Workshop debrief and wrap-up

13:30 – 14:00

18:30 – 19:00

05:30 – 06:00

Call for participation

We welcome paragraphs of interest to our workshop to discuss topics relating to the ethics, challenges, and frameworks involved with designing technology for working animals. We welcome trainers, practitioners, researchers in areas of ethics, welfare, and application areas. The workshop will be held on November 8th 2021 as part of the eighth annual Animal Computer Interaction conference (ACI 2021). If you are interested in attending, please register on our Eventbrite page and we’ll be in touch with more information about the event soon! If you have any questions, please email the organizers!


Charlotte Robinson

University of Sussex, UK

Charlotte Robinson is a lecturer (associate professor) based out of the Sussex Animal Computer Interaction lab (SACI Lab). Her previous work has examined how technology can support working canines in their jobs, and explored different methodologies to allow dogs to be involved in the design process. She is involved with on-going projects that seek to not only look at practical applications of technology, but also to understand how non-human animals experience emergent technologies and the implications for welfare. Over the last 20 years, she has worked in animal shelters, assistance dog organisations, and with pets-as-therapy programs. Charlotte is interested in continued exploration of the themes and challenges in the area of technology for working animals.

Email: charlotte.robinson@sussex.ac.uk
Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/charlotte-l-robinson

Jai Farrell

Swinburne University of Technology, Australia

Jai Farrell is a PhD candidate at Swinburne University investigating how different types of technologies can be applied to the existing practices of Assistance canine training. Through a partnership with Assistance Dogs Australia Jai’s work has been focusing on adapting existing HCI practices to shape how to design and implement animal-centric processes to improve the efficiency of canine training. Jai has a passion for technology and loves working with animals. He is interested in expanding the field of ACI to ensure that the needs and the welfare of the animals are a primary consideration during all stages of solution design and implementation.

Email: jai.farrell@gmail.com

Mia Cobb

University of Melbourne, Australia

Mia Cobb is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Melbourne’s Animal Welfare Science Centre, collaborating with the Centre for AI and Digital Ethics. After working in animal shelter and working dog facilities she pursued her PhD, examining attitudes and kennel management practices relating to the welfare of working dogs. Mia believes in helping scientific research escape academic journals, founding the popular canine science blog, Do You Believe in Dog? in 2012. She is currently interested in how the intersections of animal welfare science, human psychology, science communication and emerging technologies can help animals and people lead happier lives. She lives with a large mutt named Rudy.

Email: mia.cobb@unimelb.edu.au
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/miacobb
Twitter: @doubelieveindog