Animals and Digital Technologies

This project explores the ethics of digital technologies and their impact on nonhuman animals. A range of digital technologies are increasingly being applied to animals. These include drones to monitor and count animals on farms and in the wild, artificial intelligence and machine learning to interpret animal welfare and emotional states, and robots that look and act like animals. New digital technologies will be used with many different kinds of animals, including pets, working animals, animals in sport, livestock, and wildlife. Such technologies may have positive and negative effects. For example, they may help to improve animal welfare or alternatively harm animals in various ways. Technology can also impact on human relations with animals and our attitudes towards them. This project will investigate the ethics of these emerging and possible future technologies, and will add to the new field of Animal-Computer Interaction (ACI).

Coghlan, S., Sparrow, L. The “digital animal intuition:” the ethics of violence against animals in video games. Ethics Inf Technol (2020).