Counting Sheep news

Posted on Feb 7, 2014 in Ordinary Madness of Academia

Really pleased to note that our first set of Counting Sheep scenarios won the 2013 IoT Internet of Things Editor’s Choice – Best Design Fiction Award! Many thanks and congratulations to the awesome students who worked on the projects: Dani Clode, Mata Freshwater, Hamish McPhail, Peggy Russell, and Lauren Wickens.

And we’re also pretty chuffed to see one of our favourite magazines/websites – Modern Farmer – publish a nice little piece about our work: Using Sheep To Test the Boundaries of Science (No Sheep Were Harmed)

“Down in New Zealand — a country with seven times more sheep than people* — there’s a team of researchers who are very, very interested in your responses. It’s part of a quirky project called Counting Sheep, mapping out the intersection of agriculture, ethics and the very nature of how people answer questions … “By the time most of us hear about a scientific advance, it’s already happened,” Galloway says. “There’s never a chance to put the brakes on, to decide whether it’s something we wanted in the first place.” Counting Sheep started in December with three fictional sheep scenarios. Each one combines an evocative design with a provocative storyline (see below). Anyone can participate in the study — just look over one of the faux-projects, then take a brief survey. The goal is to provoke an instinctive response. Thus far they’ve heard everything from “This is total bullshit!” to “This is the most brilliant thing I’ve ever seen!” And how will the results be used? Galloway thinks government and industry could want some insight into the popular psyche, before proceeding with new scientific advances (e.g., do people really want lab lamb?) More importantly, she believes this could upend the way social research is performed.”

Thanks to Jesse Hirsch for writing the article – although my hope is to one day see research like this described as inventive rather than quirky!