Seminar #14. ‘The Digital Animal and Conservation by Algorithm ‘.

WhenTuesday, 29 March, 2022, 13:00–14:30 CET (Central European Time) on Zoom (
PresentersBill AdamsClaudio Segré Professor of Conservation, Graduate Institute, Geneva; Downing College Cambridge.
DiscussantFinn-Arne Jørgensen, Professor in Environmental History, University of Stavanger
AbstractDigital innovation has brought about a revolution in devices to observe, track and locate animals.  These range from fixed devices such as webcams and camera traps (trail cams), through airborne and satellite remote sensing to tracking and imaging devices fitted to living animals (collars and tags).  Digital data from these devices is streamed, shared, archived and analysed, yielding new knowledge and new systems of knowledge accumulation, and enabling new modes of intervention in non-human lives and human society, ‘conservation by algorithm’. 

This seminar will discuss some of these innovations, and their implications.  It will explore the new digital lives that animals take on within databases and information networks, and their implications for human understandings of nature, and for conservation management.
Recommended readingAdams, William, “Digital Animals,” The Philosopher, vol. 108, no. 1 (2022).
Adams, William, “Geographies of conservation II: Technology, surveillance and conservation by algorithm,” Progress in Human Geography, vol. 43, no. 2 (2019): 337–350.