Animal-centered design needs dignity: a critical essay on ACI's core concept

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Abstract

Despite a massive acceptance of 'animal-centered design' being at the very heart of Animal-Computer Interaction, exactly what it means to be animal-centered often remains vague. In this position paper, I question and critique what animal-centered design really means as it is used. I argue that even though the ACI manifesto and subsequent foundational works clearly set out a focus on animal user-centered design, much work since has adopted 'animal-centered' as being a synonym for 'animal user-centered'. However, I argue, the fundamental essence of ACI's intellectual origins in human-centered design's preoccupation with human values, and in turn, human dignity — which set it apart from mere user-centered design, is lost in such a straightforward adoption of the term. I then analyze what it might mean to actually adopt a value-driven approach akin to human-centered design for animal-centered design, and how this might force us to move beyond the typical welfarist position dominant across most of ACI. Rather than consider the prevention of unnecessary suffering as a central goal of technologies developed by ACI researchers, I argue that technologies that preserve animal dignity as a core value is a more appropriate understanding of the term 'animal-centered'.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNinth International Conference on Animal-Computer Interaction (ACI'22)
Subtitle of host publicationDecember 5–8, 2022, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, United Kingdom.
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherACM
Pages1-7
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781450398305
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 10 Sep 2022
Event9th International Conference on Animal-Computer Interaction: Defining Tomorrow - Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Dec 20228 Dec 2022
Conference number: 9
https://www.aciconf.org/aci2022

Conference

Conference9th International Conference on Animal-Computer Interaction
Abbreviated titleACI2022
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityNewcastle upon Tyne
Period5/12/228/12/22
Internet address

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