A-33/21 The domestication triangle: How humans, animals and technology shape each other – The case of automated milking systems

This article investigates the domestication of milking robots, most often labelled automatic milking systems (AMS) into dairy farms in Norway. It shows that producers of AMS tend to represent the integration of the technology as a process where their expert systems aid and guide the farmer so that she learns how to be an ‘AMS farmer’. However, farmers' AMS-stories shows us that learning to live with AMS is a process that continues even after the AMS technology seems to have been fully integrated. Furthermore, cows and fellow farmers are central actors, but machines also learn in the process. Hence, we find a extended domestication process where farmers and cows not only adapt to the machine, but indeed that the machine also need to ‘learn’ how to function in particular farms. As such, we target a domestication triangle of machines, animals and farmers where all elements co-evolve. From this we argue that the concept of domestication in studies of agricultural technology needs to take a posthuman turn and focus on a domestication triangle of humans, animals and machines. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2021.03.006

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