Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Counting sheep, dreaming of future technologies

Counting sheep, dreaming of future technologies

How do you think internet technologies should be used in livestock farming? Researchers from Victoria University of Wellington are using fictional scenarios to investigate how New Zealand merino might be grown and used in future.

The three year Marsden-funded research titled
Counting Sheep: NZ Merino in an Internet of Things, aims to understand how collecting and sharing farm data online can reshape how people and animals interact with each other.

Over the past two years, Dr Anne Galloway, a design ethnographer and senior lecturer in Victoria’s School of Design, travelled the country visiting merino stations, A&P shows, shearing and woolhandling competitions, labs and offices, in order to understand what matters to the people who produce New Zealand merino.

Based on her findings, Dr Galloway and student researchers created fictional scenarios which combine evocative designs and storylines about future production and consumption of merino sheep and products.

“Today's farms can generate and collect large amounts of data,” says Dr Galloway. “Our aim is to figure out what people can do with this information, and understand the kinds of science and technology people want—or don’t want—in the future.”

The fictional scenarios are designed to explore people’s hopes and fears about technology, imagine where they might lead in the future, and challenge us to think differently. They include growing your own lamb, woollen casts knitted over broken bones, a new half-dog half-lamb companion for every New Zealander, and a wool shed for public use in the city.

“We want to know, for example, if a scenario like ‘Grow Your Own Lamb’ gives too much power to consumers, or if ‘PermaLamb’ changes issues around animal welfare. We want to understand what people think are good and bad uses of technology—before researchers and businesses make them happen.”

Anyone can participate in the study by taking a brief online survey about the scenarios (http://countingsheep.info/). The goal is to provoke an instinctive response, says Dr Galloway. “So far, we’ve heard everything from ‘I would rather die than live in this world’ to ‘this is the most brilliant thing I’ve ever seen’.” The survey is open until 15 June, 2014.

The researchers will make the results available online and they hope the process they are running encouraging public debate using the internet will help inform policy makers on how new technologies can be harnessed.

Some of the scenarios:
Grow Your Own Lamb
Choose to grow your lamb on the paddock or in a lab. If you choose the latter, you can choose to flavour it with rosemary or mint as it grows.

Boneknitter
When you break a bone, this wooden device knits fiberglass-strength merino wool and flax around your limb while you have a hot cuppa. It heralds a complete shift in the medical procedure of getting a cast applied.

PermaLamb
The DNA of a Merino sheep and a working dog are combined, creating a new, transgenic super-species. The new creature provides information, entertainment, clothing and food for the entire country.

Kotahitanga Farm
This concept blurs traditional boundaries between people and animals, urban and rural spaces. Merino sheep can be tracked on screens inside the wool shed, or seen grazing in city parks.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Economic Update: RBNZ Says Rate Cut Seems Likely

The Reserve Bank will likely cut interest rates further as a persistently strong kiwi dollar makes it difficult for the bank to meet its inflation target, it said. The local currency fell. More>>

ALSO:

House Price Action Plan: RBNZ Signals National Lending Restrictions

The central bank wants to cap bank lending to property investors with a deposit of less than 40 percent at 5 percent and restore the 10 percent limit for owner-occupiers wanting to take out a mortgage with a deposit of less than 20 percent, according to a consultation paper released today. More>>

ALSO:

Sparks Fly: Gordon Campbell On China Steel Dumping Allegations

No doubt, officials on the China desk at MFAT have prided themselves on fashioning a niche position for New Zealand right in between the US and China – and leveraging off both of them! Well, as the Aussies would say, of MFAT: tell ‘em they’re dreaming. More>>

ALSO:

Loan Sharks: Finance Companies Found Guilty Of Breaching Fair Trading Act

Finance companies Budget Loans and Evolution Finance, run by former 1980s corporate high-flyer Allan Hawkins, have been found guilty of 106 charges of breaching the Fair Trading Act for misleading 21 borrowers while enforcing loan contracts. More>>

ALSO:

Post Panama Papers: Govt To Adopt Shewan's Foreign Trust Recommendations

The government will adopt all of the recommendations from former PwC chairman John Shewan to increase disclosure and introduce a register for foreign trusts with new legislation to be introduced next month. More>>

ALSO:

The Price Of Cheese: Cheddar At Eight-Year Low

Food prices decreased 0.5 percent in the year to June 2016, influenced by lower grocery food prices (down 2.3 percent), Statistics New Zealand said today. Compared with June 2015, cheese prices were down 9.5 percent, fresh milk was down 3.9 percent, and yoghurt was down 9.2 percent. More>>

ALSO:

Financial Advisers: New 'Customer-First' Obligations

Goldsmith plans to do away with the current adviser designations which he says have been "unsatisfactory" in that some advisers are obliged to disclose potential conflicts of interest and act in their customers' best interests, but others are not. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news