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Give Me Poetical Science

North, S. (2016) Give me poetical science: an invited speaker abstract for RM4ACI (Research Methods in ACI) workshop. In: Third International Conference on Animal-Computer Interaction (ACI2016), 15-17 Nov 2016, Milton Keynes, UK.

In this published outline North reflects on his continued contribution to methods for analysing horse behaviour using processed video. This is posed as an evaluative method against ‘natural’ horse behaviour. The publication is of interest because of its hybrid methodologies and expansion of ACI and HCI. It poses Design Fictions as an approach to challenging anthropocentric design principals and presents a diagram of ‘things’ and how human, non-human and machine might intersect. This might be a diagram of Pettmans Humanimachine. The paper calls for a hybrid qualitative and quantitative method for evaluating ACI and a consideration of HCI as a subcategory of ACI. The paper critisises the positivist approaches to research and asks for a ‘extend quantitative
ethology-based approaches into the analysis of humananimal interactions’ (p1)

The paper also proposes a consideration of ‘nonhuman personhood’.

  • ethno-ethology: “recontextualizes the approach to modes of knowledge within the interactivity of human/non-human relations in order to identify the representations and other cultural phenomena humans use to interact with animals and the practices concomitant with these representations.
  • etho-ethnology: “seeks to describe and understand how humans and animals live together in hybrid communities sharing meaning, interests and affects, articulated around jointly negotiated significations”

Useful Quotes

“Much of my work to date has focused on investigating a hybrid between the qualitative methods prevalent in HCI (ethnography, conversation analysis, semi-structured questionnaires) and ethology-based approaches from the animal sciences.” (p1)

“I am employing fiction as a ‘thought experiment’, intended to help system designers
understand the ‘otherness’ of non-human animals. So, in a sense, I am using very qualitative, humanities approach in order to make the case for objective, quantitative tools, such as HABIT.” (p2)

“Designers will search for objective methods to both: determine the real needs of non-human animals and to evaluate prototypes introduced to them.” (p2)

“in order for nonhuman animals to become design stakeholders and to actively challenge an anthropocentric world-view, it may be essential that we keep raising this point.” (p2)

“provide a bridge to some of the more esoteric work on multispecies ethnography, ‘otherness’ and the humanities” (p2)

“ethno-ethology and etho-ethnology specifically describe human-nonhuman interaction, my proposed ethographology makes no distinction between humans and others. It is just a blending of techniques from ethology and ethnography, which may then be applied to the study of all things with agency.” (p3)

Further Reading

Lawson S., Kirman B, and  Linehan C, 2016. Power, participation, and the dog internet. ACM Interactions 23, 4, 37-41. 1072-5520.

Lestel D., Brunois F, and Gaunet F, 2006. Etho-ethnology and ethno-ethology.
Social science information 45, 2, 155-177.

North S. and Mancini C, 2016. Introduction: frameworks for ACI: animals as
stakeholders in the design process. ACM Interactions 23, 4, 34-36


Published inPhD