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Accepted Paper:

Living in a Loop: A Visual Ethnography of Routines in a Robotic Dairy Farm  
Joffrey Becker (ENSEA - ETIS) Severine Lagneaux (CRA-W (Belgique))

Paper short abstract:

Our ethnographic study describes the daily life of a robotic dairy farm after the digitisation of its infrastructure. It resulted in the documentary film Routines which addresses how robotics and computer technologies reconfigure interactions and practices of domestication.

Paper long abstract:

Robotic dairy farms constitute a special kind of controlled ecosystem. They form a space where relations between humans and animals combine with the activity of computer systems and robots in what appear to be a complete redistribution of relations in an adapted and a digitalised infrastructure. Do such hybrid systems raise new issues regarding the routines which characterize the activities in the barn? What new socio-technical arrangements are emerging from robotics and computer science practices?

Based on film, our ethnography shows that while robotic milking is a further step in the rationalization of milk production processes, the integration of robots, sensors to acquire data, and computer systems to process them introduces changes in the relation between the farmer and his herd. These systems therefore imply new arrangements between humans, animals and machines, which consist of a new method to achieve an optimized level of performance. Questioning the impact that socio-material organisation can have on activities in a community composed of humans, technical devices and non-humans, our ethnographic study resulted in a documentary film called Routines.

Taking place in a Belgian dairy farm of the Walloon region, Routines describes the daily life of the farm and the reconfigurations linked to its robotisation. By adopting the point of view of human, animal or mechanical actors, the film addresses the way in which robotics and computer technology contribute to transform not only the work activities but also the interactions and practices of domestication.

Panel P14
Controlled Environment Facilities and the Visualisation of Future Human Society
  Session 1 Thursday 9 June, 2022, -