Ethics and Power Dynamics in Playful Technology for Animals: Using speculative design to provoke reflection

Fiona French, Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas, Heli Väätäjä, Patricia Pons, Sabrina Karl, Yoram Chisik, Eleonora Nannoni, Anna Zamansky, Mandeep Mangat, Patrizia Paci, Haruka Kasuga, Dana Vilker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Technology (digital or otherwise) is a great enabler; it bridges gaps and opens doors and, in the process, alters the reality within which it and its users exist. As technology aimed at non-human animals is becoming commonplace, questions about its efficacy and the ethical implications of its use are becoming ever more pertinent. To explore these issues, we conducted a workshop in which speculative design was used as a means of debating ways through which play, a widespread phenomenon across animal species, can be used as a tool for enabling interspecies communication. We describe the context for this discussion, the methods used, and present a set of speculative designs that illustrate aspects of ethics, equality, and appropriate play in order to provoke further reflection and discussion.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAcademic Mindtrek 2021 - Proceedings of the 24th International Academic Mindtrek Conference
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781450385145
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2021
Event24th International Academic Mindtrek Conference, Mindtrek 2021 - Virtual, Online, Finland
Duration: 1 Jun 20213 Jun 2021

Publication series

NameACM International Conference Proceeding Series


Conference24th International Academic Mindtrek Conference, Mindtrek 2021
CityVirtual, Online

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 ACM.


  • Animal-Computer Interaction
  • co-design
  • ethics
  • participatory speculation
  • power dynamics
  • speculative design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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