LIBRARIES AS ACTORS. WHAT ABOUT THE CITIZENS?

eJournal: uffmm.org, ISSN 2567-6458, 19.Januar 2019
Email: info@uffmm.org
Author: Gerd Doeben-Henisch
Email: gerd@doeben-henisch.de

CONTEXT

In this blog a new approach to the old topic of ‘Human-Machine Interaction (HMI)’ is developed turning the old Human-Machine dyad into the many-to-many relation of ‘Actor-Actor Interaction (AAI)’. And, moreover, in this new AAI approach the classical ‘top-down’ approach of engineering is expanded with a truly ‘bottom-up’ approach locating the center of development in the distributed knowledge of a population of users assisted by the AAI experts.

PROBLEM

From this perspective it is interesting to see how on an international level the citizens of a community/ city are not at the center of research, but again the city and its substructures – here public libraries – are called ‘actors’ while the citizens as such are only an anonymous matter of driving these structures to serve the international ‘buzz word’ of a ‘smart city’ empowered by the ‘Internet of Things (IoT)’.

This perspective is published in a paper from Shannon Mersand et al. (2019) which reviews all the main papers available focusing on the role of public libraries in cities. It seems – I could not check by myself the search space — that the paper gives a good overview of this topic in 48 cited papers.

The main idea underlined by the authors is that public libraries are already so-called ‘anchor institutions’ in a community which either already include or could be extended as “spaces for innovation, collaboration and hands on learning that are open to adults and younger children as well”. (p.3312) Or, another formulation “that libraries are consciously working to become a third space; a place for learning in multiple domains and that provides resources in the form of both materials and active learning opportunities”. (p.3312)

The paper is rich on details but for the context of the AAI paradigm I am interested only on the general perspective how the roles of the actors are described which are identified as responsible for the process of problem solving.

The in-official problem of cities is how to organize the city to respond to the needs of its citizens. There are some ‘official institutions’ which ‘officially’ have to fulfill this job. In democratic societies these institutions are ‘elected’. Ideally these official institutions are the experts which try to solve the problem for the citizens, which are the main stakeholder! To help in this job of organizing the ‘best fitting city-layout’ there exists usually at any point of time a bunch of infrastructures. The modern ‘Internet of Things (IoT)’ is only one of many possible infrastructures.

To proceed in doing the job of organizing the ‘best fitting city-layout’ there are generally two main strategies: ‘top-down’ as usual in most cities or ‘bottom-‘ in nearly no cities.

In the top-down approach the experts organize the processes of the cities more or less on their own. They do not really include the expertise of their citizens, not their knowledge, not their desires and visions. The infrastructures are provided from a birds perspective and an abstract systems thinking.

The case of the public libraries is matching this top-down paradigm. At the end of their paper the authors classify public libraries not only as some ‘infrastructure’ but “… recognize the potential of public libraries … and to consider them as a key actor in the governance of the smart community”. (p.3312) The term ‘actor’ is very strong. This turns an institution into an actor with some autonomy of deciding what to do. The users of the library, the citizens, the primary stakeholder of the city, are not seen as actors, they are – here – the material to ‘feed’ – to use a picture — the actor library which in turn has to serve the governance of the ‘smart community’.

DISCUSSION

Yes, this comment can be understood as a bit ‘harsh’ because one can read the text of the authors a bit different in the sense that the citizens are not only some matter to ‘feed’ the actor library but to see the public library as an ‘environment’ for the citizens which find in the libraries many possibilities to learn and empower themselves. In this different reading the citizens are clearly seen as actors too.

This different reading is possible, but within an overall ‘top-down’ approach the citizens as actors are not really included as actors but only as passive receivers of infrastructure offers; in a top-down approach the main focus are the infrastructures, and from all the infrastructures the ‘smart’ structures are most prominent, the internet of things.

If one remembers two previous papers of Mila Gascó (2016) and Mila Gascó-Hernandez (2018) then this is a bit astonishing because in these earlier papers she has analyzed that the ‘failure’ of the smart technology strategy in Barcelona was due to the fact that the city government (the experts in our framework) did not include sufficiently enough the citizens as actors!

From the point of view of the AAI paradigm this ‘hiding of the citizens as main actors’ is only due to the inadequate methodology of a top-down approach where a truly bottom-up approach is needed.

In the Oct-2, 2018 version of the AAI theory the bottom-up approach is not yet included. It has been worked out in the context of the new research project about ‘City Planning and eGaming‘  which in turn has been inspired by Mila Gascó-Hernandez!

REFERENCES

  • S.Mersand, M. Gasco-Hernandez, H. Udoh, and J.R. Gil-Garcia. “Public libraries as anchor institutions in smart communities: Current practices and future development”, Proceedings of the 52nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, pages 3305 – 3314, 2019. URL https: //hdl.handle.net/10125/59766 .

  • Mila Gascó, “What makes a city smart? lessons from Barcelona”. 2016 49th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS), pages 2983–2989, Jan 2016. D O I : 10.1109/HICSS.2016.373.

  • Mila Gascó-Hernandez, “Building a smart city: Lessons from Barcelona.”, Commun. ACM, 61(4):50–57, March 2018. ISSN 0001-0782. D O I : 10.1145/3117800. URL http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/3117800 .

ACTOR-ACTOR INTERACTION. Philosophy of the Actor

eJournal: uffmm.org, ISSN 2567-6458
16.March 2018
Email: info@uffmm.org
Gerd Doeben-Henisch
Email: gerd@doeben-henisch.de
Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences (FRA-UAS)
Institut for New Media (INM, Frankfurt)

PDF

CONTENTS

I   A Vision as a Problem to be Solved … 1
II   Language, Meaning & Ontology …  2
     II-A   Language Levels . . . . . . . . .  . . 2
     II-B  Common Empirical Matter .  . . . . . 2
     II-C   Perceptual Levels . . . . . . .  . . . . 3
     II-D   Space & Time . . . . . . . .  . . . . . 4
     II-E    Different Language Modes . . . 4
     II-F    Meaning of Expressions & Ontology … 4
     II-G   True Expressions . . . . . . .  . . . .  5
     II-H   The Congruence of Meaning  . . . .  5
III   Actor Algebra … 6
IV   World Algebra  … 7
V    How to continue … 8
VI References … 8

Abstract

As preparation for this text one should read the chapter about the basic layout of an Actor-Actor Analysis (AAA) as part of an systems engineering process (SEP). In this text it will be described which internal conditions one has to assume for an actor who uses a language to talk about his observations oft he world to someone else in a verifiable way. Topics which are explained in this text are e.g. ’language’,’meaning’, ’ontology’, ’consciousness’, ’true utterance’, ’synonymous expression.

AAI – Actor-Actor Interaction. A Toy-Example, No.1

eJournal: uffmm.org, ISSN 2567-6458
13.Dec.2017
Email: info@uffmm.org

Author: Gerd Doeben-Henisch
Email: gerd@doeben-henisch.de

Contents

1 Problem ….. 3
2 AAI-Check ….. 3
3 Actor-Story (AS) …..  3
3.1 AS as a Text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
3.2 Translation of a Textual AS into a Formal AS …… 4
3.3 AS as a Formal Expression . . . . . . . . . .4
3.4 Translation of a Formal AS into a Pictorial AS… 5
4 Actor-Model (AM) …..  5
4.1 AM for the User as a Text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . .6
4.2 AM for the System as a Text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
5 Combined AS and AM as a Text …..  6
5.1 AM as an Algorithm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
6 Simulation …..  7
6.1 Simulating the AS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
6.2 Simulating the AM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
6.3 Simulating AS with AM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
7 Appendix: Formalisms ….. 8
7.1 Set of Strings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9
7.2 Predicate Language . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
8 Appendix: The Meaning of Expressions …11
8.1 States . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
8.2 Changes by Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

Abstract

Following the general concepts of the paper ’AAI – Actor-Actor Interaction. A Philosophy of Science View’ from 3.Oct.2017 this paper illustrates a simple application where the difference as well as the
interaction between an actor story and several actor models is shown. The details of interface-design as well as the usability-testing are not part of this example.(This example replaces the paper with the title
’AAI – Case Study Actor Story with Actor Model. Simple Grid-Environment’ from 15.Nov.2017). One special point is the meaning of the formal expressions of the actor story.

Attention: This toy example is not yet in fully conformance with the newly published Case-Study-Template

To read the full text see PDF

Clearly, one can debate whether a ‘toy-example’ makes sens, but the complexity of the concepts in this AAI-approach is to great to illustrate these in the beginning  with a realistic example without loosing the idea. The author of the paper has tried many — also very advanced — versions in the last years and this is the first time that he himself has the feeling that at least the idea is now clear enough. And from teaching students it is very clear, if you cannot explain an idea in a toy-example you never will be able to apply it to real big problems…

 

AAI – Actor-Actor Interaction. A Philosophy of Science View

AAI – Actor-Actor Interaction.
A Philosophy of Science View
eJournal: uffmm.org, ISSN 2567-6458

Gerd Doeben-Henisch
info@uffmm.org
gerd@doeben-henisch.de

PDF

ABSTRACT

On the cover page of this blog you find a first general view on the subject matter of an integrated engineering approach for the future. Here we give a short description of the main idea of the analysis phase of systems engineering how this will be realized within the actor-actor interaction paradigm as described in this text.

INTRODUCTION

Overview of the analysis phase of systems engineering as realized within an actor-actor interaction paradigm
Overview of the analysis phase of systems engineering as realized within an actor-actor interaction paradigm

As you can see in figure Nr.1 there are the following main topics within the Actor-Actor Interaction (AAI) paradigm as used in this text (Comment: The more traditional formula is known as Human-Machine Interaction (HMI)):

Triggered by a problem document D_p from the problem phase (P) of the engineering process the AAI-experts have to analyze, what are the potential requirements following from this document, all the time also communicating with the stakeholder to keep in touch with the hidden intentions of the stakeholder.

The idea is to identify at least one task (T) with at least one goal state (G) which shall be arrived after running a task.

A task is assumed to represent a sequence of states (at least a start state and a goal state) which can have more than one option in every state, not excluding repetitions.

Every task presupposes some context (C) which gives the environment for the task.

The number of tasks and their length is in principle not limited, but their can be certain constraints (CS) given which have to be fulfilled required by the stakeholder or by some other important rules/ laws. Such constraints will probably limit the number of tasks as well as their length.

Actor Story

Every task as a sequence of states can be viewed as a story which describes a process. A story is a text (TXT) which is static and hides the implicit meaning in the brains of the participating actors. Only if an actor has some (learned) understanding of the used language then the actor is able to translate the perceptions of the process in an appropriate text and vice versa the text into corresponding perceptions or equivalently ‘thoughts’ representing the perceptions.

In this text it is assumed that a story is describing only the observable behavior of the participating actors, not their possible internal states (IS). For to describe the internal states (IS) it is further assumed that one describes the internal states in a new text called actor model (AM). The usual story is called an actor story (AS). Thus the actor story (AS) is the environment for the actor models (AM).

In this text three main modes of actor stories are distinguished:

  1. An actor story written in some everyday language L_0 called AS_L0 .
  2. A translation of the everyday language L_0 into a mathematical language L_math which can represent graphs, called AS_Lmath.
  3. A translation of the hidden meaning which resides in the brains of the AAI-experts into a pictorial language L_pict (like a comic strip), called AS_Lpict.

To make the relationship between the graph-version AS_Lmath and the pictorial version AS_Lpict visible one needs an explicit mapping Int from one version into the other one, like: Int : AS_Lmath <—> AS_Lpict. This mapping Int works like a lexicon from one language into another one.

From a philosophy of science point of view one has to consider that the different kinds of actor stories have a meaning which is rooted in the intended processes assumed to be necessary for the realization of the different tasks. The processes as such are dynamic, but the stories as such are static. Thus a stakeholder (SH) or an AAI-expert who wants to get some understanding of the intended processes has to rely on his internal brain simulations associated with the meaning of these stories. Because every actor has its own internal simulation which can not be perceived from the other actors there is some probability that the simulations of the different actors can be different. This can cause misunderstandings, errors, and frustrations.(Comment: This problem has been discussed in [DHW07])

One remedy to minimize such errors is the construction of automata (AT) derived from the math mode AS_Lmath of the actor stories. Because the math mode represents a graph one can derive Der from this version directly (and automatically) the description of an automaton which can completely simulate the actor story, thus one can assume Der(AS_Lmath) = AT_AS_Lmath.

But, from the point of view of Philosophy of science this derived automaton AT_AS_Lmath is still only a static text. This text describes the potential behavior of an automaton AT. Taking a real computer (COMP) one can feed this real computer with the description of the automaton AT AT_AS_Lmath and make the real computer behave like the described automaton. If we did this then we have a real simulation (SIM) of the theoretical behavior of the theoretical automaton AT realized by the real computer COMP. Thus we have SIM = COMP(AT_AS_Lmath). (Comment: These ideas have been discussed in [EDH11].)

Such a real simulation is dynamic and visible for everybody. All participating actors can see the same simulation and if there is some deviation from the intention of the stakeholder then this can become perceivable for everybody immediately.

Actor Model

As mentioned above the actor story (AS) describes only the observable behavior of some actor, but not possible internal states (IS) which could be responsible for the observable behavior.

If necessary it is possible to define for every actor an individual actor model; indeed one can define more than one model to explore the possibilities of different internal structures to enable a certain behavior.

The general pattern of actor models follows in this text the concept of input-output systems (IOSYS), which are in principle able to learn. What the term ‘learning’ designates concretely will be explained in later sections. The same holds of the term ‘intelligent’ and ‘intelligence’.

The basic assumptions about input-output systems used here reads a follows:

Def: Input-Output System (IOSYS)

IOSYS(x) iff x=< I, O, IS, phi>
phi : I x IS —> IS x O
I := Input
O := Output
IS := Internal

As in the case of the actor story (AS) the primary descriptions of actor models (AM) are static texts. To make the hidden meanings of these descriptions ‘explicit’, ‘visible’ one has again to convert the static texts into descriptions of automata, which can be feed into real computers which in turn then simulate the behavior of these theoretical automata as a real process.

Combining the real simulation of an actor story with the real simulations of all the participating actors described in the actor models can show a dynamic, impressive process which is full visible to all collaborating stakeholders and AAI-experts.

Testing

Having all actor stories and actor models at hand, ideally implemented as real simulations, one has to test the interaction of the elaborated actors with real actors, which are intended to work within these explorative stories and models. This is done by actor tests (former: usability tests) where (i) real actors are confronted with real tasks and have to perform in the intended way; (ii) real actors are interviewed with questionnaires about their subjective feelings during their task completion.

Every such test will yield some new insights how to change the settings a bit to gain eventually some improvements. Repeating these cycles of designing, testing, and modifying can generate a finite set of test-results T where possibly one subset is the ‘best’ compared to all the others. This can give some security that this design is probably the ‘relative best design’ with regards to T.

Further Readings:

  1. Analysis
  2. Simulation
  3. Testing
  4. User Modeling
  5. User Modeling and AI

For a newer version of the AAi-text see HERE..

REFERENCES

[DHW07] G. Doeben-Henisch and M. Wagner. Validation within safety critical systems engineering from a computation semiotics point of view.
Proceedings of the IEEE Africon2007 Conference, pages Pages: 1 – 7, 2007.
[EDH11] Louwrence Erasmus and Gerd Doeben-Henisch. A theory of the
system engineering process. In ISEM 2011 International Conference. IEEE, 2011.

EXAMPLE

For a toy-example to these concepts please see the post AAI – Actor-Actor Interaction. A Toy-Example, No.1