hey! i'm dirk

I'm an academic currently at Northumbria University and co-founder of the Tech4Animals Lab. My main interest is understanding how people build and use technology in unexpected ways, and how this impacts the lives and livelihoods of its users (aka those tricky social implications of technology).

In particular, I work through the lens of anthrozoology, or human-animal relations to understand and critique what role technology currently plays in a variety of human-animal relations, and what roles it really ought to play instead.

research i like to do

The role of technology in human-dog relationships

IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society, 4(1), 2022

We did a big, long, detailed study disentangling the where-what-why of technology within 'modern' human-dog relationships (and I use modern as a pejorative)... here's the catch: we didn't do it as technologists. We did it as people more interested in the human-animal relationship itself. tl;dr: the role of tech in that relationship could be great, but it's going the wrong way. Check out the full paper here!

Interspecies information systems

Requirements Engineering, 26, pp. 535-556, 2021

I think it's pointless trying to talk just of 'technology' as some decontextualized artifact, so I wrote a bunch on how we should really consider the 'interspecies' information systems that naturally emerge when we use tech4animals. Check out the full paper here!

Buddy's wearable is not your buddy: privacy implications of pet wearables

IEEE Security & Privacy, 17(3), pp. 28-39, 2019

Did you know there's really cool things out there called "pet wearables" to help us give better care to our non-human companions? And that they're an absolute privacy nightmare? Now you do! There, saved you the hassle of reading an entire paper. Still want to? Check out the full paper here!