Artificial Intelligence / Law / Technology
Animals, Ethics and Technology: Towards digital rights for animals
In a digital world, the design and deployment of technologies must be carefully considered. While many experts around the world work to ensure ethical human engagement, it is important to also think about the role technology plays with animals. Are we making technology that centres animal’s rights? Is the use of technology ethical in our homes, animal shelters, zoos and farms? Can this technology help to better the lives of animals or ensure sustainable environmental outcomes? Are these technologies being designed for the benefit of our pets or just for the benefit of us?
This panel is a discussion by experts in the field of animal-computer-interaction. Their work looks at technologies that are used on and made for animals, aiming to use improve outcomes for wildlife and habitats under threat. Our panel, Dr Mia Cobb, Animal Welfare Science Centre, Dr Simon Coghlan, Senior Research Fellow in Digital Ethics and Dr Sarah Webber, Human-Computer Interaction Group, bring a cross-disciplinary perspective to the consideration of the ethics, rights, design and deployment of technology for animals.
Animals, Ethics and Technology: Towards digital rights for animals is the second seminar in the Centre for AI and Digital Ethics’ series ‘Technology and the World Around Us.’
Dr Mia Cobb
Wallis Annenberg PetSpace Leadership Fellow and Research Fellow, Animal Welfare Science Centre
Mia Cobb is a scientist who cares about the welfare of animals. 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.
Mia worked in animal shelter and working dog facilities for over a decade, before shifting focus to research and advance the welfare of Australia’s working and sporting dogs, receiving her PhD from Monash University. This has included research of animal behaviour and stress physiology, human attitudes, animal housing and management practices, and how animal welfare relates to the sustainability and performance of animal-based industries. She also believes in helping scientific research escape academic journals and founded the popular canine science platform, Do You Believe in Dog?.
Dr Simon Coghlan
Senior Research Fellow in Digital Ethics
Simon is a moral philosopher and a veterinarian. He is a senior research fellow in the Centre for AI and Digital Ethics (CAIDE) and the School of Computing and Information Systems (CIS).
Simon’s research in digital ethics currently includes a focus on companion and care robots for older people and other groups, on animal-computer interaction, and on digital technologies in healthcare and public health. He has interests in applied ethics of various types, including conservation ethics, animal ethics, and health ethics.
Simon has current projects on:
- Digital technologies and animal welfare
- Chatbots and ethics
- Robot ethics
Dr Sarah Webber
Doreen Thomas Postdoctoral Fellow
Sarah Webber is an interaction design researcher investigating how we can create digital technologies which better respond to contemporary values of human-nature relationships, social connectedness and wellbeing. Her research focuses primarily on technologies for connections with nature and wildlife. In this work she looks at participatory methods for designing technologies with animals, and innovative technologies for ecological understanding and for animal welfare. Sarah’s recent research has examined the design of digital technologies in zoos, including an interactive installation for orangutans and effects on zoo visitors’ perceptions of the animals.
As part of the Human-Computer Interaction group, Sarah has contributed to research into interactive technologies for social interaction, for wellbeing, and for older users and marginalised groups. She has a keen interest in the ethical issues associated with digital technology design.
Professor Jeannie Paterson
Co-Director, Centre for AI and Digital Ethics, Moderator of Panel
Jeannie specialises in the areas of contracts, consumer rights and consumer credit law, as well as the role of new technologies in these fields. Her research covers three interrelated themes: Support for vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers; the ethics and regulation of new technologies in consumer markets; Regulatory design for protecting consumer rights and promoting fair, safe and accountable AI.