WHY THE WORLD NEEDS ANTHROPOLOGISTS – Review Part 1

eJournal: uffmm.org, ISSN 2567-6458, 1.December  2020
Email: info@uffmm.org
Author: Gerd Doeben-Henisch
Email: gerd@doeben-henisch.de

ANTHROPOLOGY AND ENGINEERING

The starting point of view in this blog has been and still is the point of engineering, especially the perspective of man-machine interface [MMI], later as Man-Machine Interaction, then  accompanied by   human-computer interaction [HCI] or human-machine interaction [HMI]. While MMI often is discussed in isolation, not as part of engineering, this blog emphasizes a point of view where MMI is understood as an integrated part of systems engineering. The past years have shown, that this integration makes a great difference in the overall layout as well as in the details of the used methods. This integration widened the scope of MMI to the context of engineering in a way which teared down many artificial boundaries in dealing with the subject of MMI. The analysis part of MMI can take into account not only the intended users and a limited set of tasks required for the usage of a system but it can extend the scope to the different kinds of contexts of the intended users as well as the intended service/product as such: cultural patterns, sustainable perspectives, climate relevance, political implications, and more. This triggers the question, whether there are other established scientific disciplines which are sharing this scope with MMI. Traditionally experimental and cognitive psychology has always played an important role as part of the MMI analysis.  Different special disciplines like physiology or neuro-psychology, linguistics, phonetics etc. have played some role too. More recently culture and society have been brought more into the focus of MMI. What about sociology? What about anthropology? The following text discusses a possible role of anthropology in the light of the recent book Why The World Needs Anthropologists?

INTRODUCTION AND CONCLUSION

This review has the addendum ‘Part 1’ pointing to the fact, that this text does not deal with the whole book first, but only with some parts, the introduction and the conclusion.

An Introduction

The introduction of the book is asking, why does the world needs anthropologists?, and the main pattern of the introduction looks back to the old picture of anthropology, and then seeks to identify, what could/is the new paradigm which should be followed.

The roots of anthropology are located in the colonial activities of the British Empire as well as in the federal activities of the USA, which both had a strong bias to serve the political power more than to evolve a really free science. And an enduring gap between the more theoretical anthropology and an applied one is thematised although there existed always  a strong inter-dependency  between both.

To leave the close connection with primarily  governmental interests and to see the relation  between the theory and the different Applications  more positive than negative anthropology is understood  as challenged to rebrand its appearance in the public and in their own practice.

The most vital forces for such a rebranding seem to be rooted in more engagements in societal problems of public interests and thereby challenging the theory to widen their concept and methods.

Besides the classical methods of anthropology (cultural relativism, ethnography, comparison, and contextual understanding)  anthropology has to show that it can make sense beyond pure data, deciphering ambiguity, complexity, and ambivalence, helping with  diversity, investigating the interface between culture, technology, and environment.

What Is Left Out

After the introduction the main chapters of the book  are left out in this text  until later. The chapters in the book are giving examples to the questions, why the world needs anthropology, what have been the motivations for active anthropologists to become one, how they have applied anthropology, and which five tips they would give for practicing and theorizing.

Conclusion

In the conclusion of the book not the five questions are the guiding principle but ‘five axis that matter greatly’, and these five axis are circumscribed as (i) navigate the ethics of change; (ii) own-it in the sense, that an anthropologist should have a self-esteem for his/ her/ x  profession and can co-create it with others; (iii) expand the skill-set; (iv) collaborate, co-create and study-up; (v) recommend as being advisors and consultants.

The stronger commitment with actual societal problems leads anthropology at the crossroads of many processes which require new views, new methods. To gain new knowledge and to do a new practice is  not always accompanied by  known ethical schemata. Doing this induces  ethical questions which have not been known before in this way.  While a new practice is challenging the old knowledge and induces a pressure for change, new versions of knowing can  trigger new forms of practice as well. Theory and application are a dynamic pair where each part learns from the other.

The long-lasting preference of academic anthropology, thinking predominantly  in the mind-setting of   white-western-man, is  more and more resolved  by extending anthropology from academia to application, from man into the diversity of genders, from western culture into all the other cultures, from single persons to assemblies of diverse gatherings living an ongoing discourse with a growing publicity.

This widening of anthropological subjects and methods calls naturally for more interdisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity, and of a constructive attitude  which looks ahead to  possible futures of processes.

Close to this are expressions like collaboration and co-creation with others. In the theory dimension this is reflected by multiperspectivity and a holistic view. In societal development processes — like urban planning — there are different driving forces acting working top-down or acting working bottom-up.

Recommending solutions based on anthropological thinking ending in a yes or no, can be of help and can be necessary because real world processes can not only wait of final answers (which are often not realistic), they need again and again decisions to proceed now.

REFLECTIONS FOLLOWING THE INTRODUCTION AND THE CONCLUSION

The just referred texts making a fresh impression of a discipline in a dynamic movement.

General Knowledge Architecture

For the point of view of MMI (Man-Machine Interface, later HMI Human-Machine Interaction, in my theory extended to DAAI Distributed Actor-Actor Interaction) embedded in systems engineering with an openness for the whole context of society and culture arises the question whether such a dynamic anthropology can be of help.

To clarify this question let us have a short look to the general architecture of knowledge.

Within the everyday world philosophy can be understood as the most general point of view of knowing  and thinking.  Traditionally logic and mathematics can be understood as part of philosophy although today this has been changed. But there are no real reasons for this departure: logic and mathematics are not empirical sciences and they are not engineering.

Empirical science can be understood as specialized extension of philosophical thinking with identifiable characteristics which allow to  differentiate to some extend different  disciplines.  Traditionally all the different disciplines of empirical science have a more theoretical part and a more applied part. But systematically they depend from each other. A theory is only an empirical one, if there exists a clear relationship to the everyday world, and certain aspects of the everyday world are only theoretical entities (data) if there exists a relationship to an explicit theory which gives a formal explanation.

Asking for a  systematic place for engineering it is often said, that it belongs to the applied dimension of empirical science.  But engineering has realized processes, buildings, machines long before there was a scientific framework for to do this, and engineering uses in its engineering processes lots of knowledge which is not part of science. On the other side, yes, engineering is using scientific knowledge as far as it is usable and it is also giving back many questions to science which are not yet solved sufficiently. Therefore it is sound to locate engineering besides science, but   being  part of philosophy dealing with the practical dimensions of life.

What About Anthropology?

While philosophy (with logic and mathematics) is ‘on top’ of empirical science and engineering, it is an interesting question where to place anthropology?

While empirical science as well as engineering are inheriting all what philosophy provides remains the question whether  anthropology is more an empirical science or more engineering or some kind of a hybrid system with roots in empirical science as well as in engineering?

Looking back into history it could arise the impression that anthropology is more a kind of an empirical science with strong roots in academia, but doing  fieldwork to feed the theories.

Looking to the new book it could support the image that anthropology should be more like engineering: identifying  open problems in society and trying to transform these problems — like engineers — into satisfying solutions, at least on the level of counseling.

Because in our societies the universities have traditionally a higher esteem then the engineers — although the engineers  are all  trained by highly demanding university courses — it could be a bias in the thinking of  anthropologist not to think of their discipline   as engineering.

If one looks to the real world than everything which  makes human societies livable is realized by engineers. Yes, without science many of the today solutions wouldn’t be possible, but no single scientific theory has ever enabled directly some practical stuff.  And without the engineers there would not exist any of the modern machines used for measurements and experiments for science. Thus both are intimately  interrelated: science inspires engineering and engineering inspires and enables science, but both are genuinely different and science and engineering play their own fundamental role.

Thus if I am reading the new book as engineer (attention: I am also a philosopher and I am trained in the Humanities too!) then I think there are more arguments to understand anthropology  as engineering than as a pure empirical science. In the light of my distributed actor-actor interaction paradigm, which is a ‘spinoff’ of engineering and societal thinking it seems very ‘naturally’ to think of anthropology as a kind of social engineering.

Let us discuss both perspectives a bit more, thereby not excluding the hybrid version.

1) Anthropology as Engineering

The basic idea of engineering is to enable a change process which is completely transparent in all respects: Why, Who, Where, When, How etc. The process starts with explicit preferences turning some known reality into a problem on account of some visions which have been imagined and which have become ranked higher than the given known reality. And then the engineers try to organized an appropriate change process which will lead from the given situation to a new situation until some date in the future where the then given situation — the envisioned goal state — has become real and the situation from the beginning, which has been ranked down, has disappeared, or is at least weakened in a way that one can say, yes, it has changed.

Usually engineers are known to enable change processes which enable the production of everyday things (tools, products, machines, houses, plants, ships, airplanes, …), but to the extend that the engineering is touching the everyday life deeper and deeper (e.g. the global digital revolution absorbing more and more from the real life processes by transforming them into digital realities forcing human persons to act digitally and not any more with their bodies in the everyday world) the sharp boundary between engineering products and the societal life of human persons is vanishing. In such a context engineering is becoming social engineering even if the majority of traditional engineers this doesn’t see yet in this way. As the traditional discipline MMI Man-Machine Interface and then  expanded to HMI Human-Machine Interaction and further morphed into DAAI Distributed Actor-Actor Interaction this  already manifests, that the realm of human persons, yes  the whole of society is already included in engineering.  The border between machines and human actors is already at least fuzzy and the mixing of technical devices and human actors (as well as all other biological actors) has already gained a degree which does not allow any longer a separation.

These ideas would argue for the option to see anthropology as social engineering: thematizing all the important visions which seem to be helpful or important for a good future of modern mankind, and to help to organize change processes, which will support approaching this better future. That these visions can fail, can be wrong is part of the ever lasting battle of the homo sapiens to gain the right knowledge.

2) Anthropology as  an Empirical Science

… to be continued …

3) Anthropology as a Hybrid Couple of Science and Engineering

… to be continued …

 

 

CASE STUDIES

eJournal: uffmm.org
ISSN 2567-6458, 4.May  – 8.January 2021
Email: info@uffmm.org
Author: Gerd Doeben-Henisch
Email: gerd@doeben-henisch.de

CONTEXT

In this section several case studies will  be presented. It will be shown, how the DAAI paradigm can be mapped into a  concept of Generative Cultural Anthropology [GCA] or Sociology. Then it will be shown how it is possible to implement the GCA concept or a Sociology concept in real world processes subsumed under the general concept of daily life. One popular perspective is that which deals with city planning and the participation of citizens in this process. The working title of the software project related to this is komega (later we will go back to an older concept already used in the past called OKSIMO (Open Knowledge Simulation Modeling)). Go back to the overall framework.

COLLECTION OF PAPERS

There exists only a loosely  order  between the  different papers due to the character of this elaboration process: generally this is an experimental philosophical process which will  partially be translated in software which can be used within experimental settings.

  1. From Men to Philosophy, to Empirical Sciences, to Real Systems. A Conceptual Network. (Last Change Nov 8, 2020)
  2. FROM DAAI to GCA. Turning Engineering into Generative Cultural Anthropology. This paper gives an outline how one can map the DAAI paradigm directly into the GCA paradigm (April-19,2020): case1-daai-gca-v1
  3. CASE STUDY 1. FROM DAAI to ACA. Transforming HMI into ACA (Applied Cultural Anthropology) (July 28, 2020)
  4. A first GCA open research project [GCA-OR No.1].  This paper outlines a first open research project using the GCA. This will be the framework for the first implementations (May-5, 2020): GCAOR-v0-1
  5. Engineering and Society. A Case Study for the DAAI Paradigm – Introduction. This paper illustrates important aspects of a cultural process looking to the acting actors  where  certain groups of people (experts of different kinds) can realize the generation, the exploration, and the testing of dynamical models as part of a surrounding society. Engineering is clearly  not  separated from society (April-9, 2020): case1-population-start-part0-v1
  6. Bootstrapping some Citizens. This  paper clarifies the set of general assumptions which can and which should be presupposed for every kind of a real world dynamical model (April-4, 2020): case1-population-start-v1-1
  7. Hybrid Simulation Game Environment [HSGE]. This paper outlines the simulation environment by combing a usual web-conference tool with an interactive web-page by our own  (23.May 2020): HSGE-v2 (May-5, 2020): HSGE-v0-1
  8. The Observer-World Framework. This paper describes the foundations of any kind of observer-based modeling or theory construction.(July 16, 2020)
  9. CASE STUDY – SIMULATION GAMES – PHASE 1 – Iterative Development of a Dynamic World Model (June 19.-30., 2020)
  10. KOMEGA REQUIREMENTS No.1. Basic Application Scenario (last change: August 11, 2020)
  11. KOMEGA REQUIREMENTS No.2. Actor Story Overview (last change: August 12, 2020)
  12. KOMEGA REQUIREMENTS No.3, Version 1. Basic Application Scenario – Editing S (last change: August 12, 2020)
  13. The Simulator as a Learning Artificial Actor [LAA]. Version 1 (last change: August 23, 2020)
  14. KOMEGA REQUIREMENTS No.4, Version 1 (last change: August 26, 2020)
  15. KOMEGA REQUIREMENTS No.4, Version 2. Basic Application Scenario (last change: August 28, 2020)
  16. Extended Concept for Meaning Based Inferences. Version 1 (last change: 30.April 2020)
  17. Extended Concept for Meaning Based Inferences – Part 2. Version 1 (last change: 1.September 2020)
  18. Extended Concept for Meaning Based Inferences – Part 2. Version 2 (last change: 2.September 2020)
  19. Actor Epistemology and Semiotics. Version 1 (last change: 3.September 2020)
  20. KOMEGA REQUIREMENTS No.4, Version 3. Basic Application Scenario (last change: 4.September 2020)
  21. KOMEGA REQUIREMENTS No.4, Version 4. Basic Application Scenario (last change: 10.September 2020)
  22. KOMEGA REQUIREMENTS No.4, Version 5. Basic Application Scenario (last change: 13.September 2020)
  23. KOMEGA REQUIREMENTS: From the minimal to the basic Version. An Overview (last change: Oct 18, 2020)
  24. KOMEGA REQUIREMENTS: Basic Version with optional on-demand Computations (last change: Nov 15,2020)
  25. KOMEGA REQUIREMENTS:Interactive Simulations (last change: Nov 12,2020)
  26. KOMEGA REQUIREMENTS: Multi-Group Management (last change: December 13, 2020)
  27. KOMEGA-REQUIREMENTS: Start with a Political Program. (last change: November 28, 2020)
  28. OKSIMO SW: Minimal Basic Requirements (last change: January 8, 2021)

 

 

DAAI V4 FRONTPAGE

eJournal: uffmm.org,
ISSN 2567-6458, 12.May – 18.Jan 2020
Email: info@uffmm.org
Author: Gerd Doeben-Henisch
Email: gerd@doeben-henisch.de

HISTORY OF THIS PAGE

See end of this page.

CONTEXT

This Theory of Engineering section is part of the uffmm science blog.

HISTORY OF THE (D)AAI-TEXT

See below

ACTUAL VERSION

DISTRIBUTED ACTOR ACTOR INTERACTION [DAAI]. Version 15.06, From  Dec 13, 2019 until Jan 18, 2020

aaicourse-15-06-07(PDF, Chapter 8 new (but not yet completed))

aaicourse-15-06-05(PDF, Chapter 7 new)

aaicourse-15-06-04(PDF, Chapter 6 modified)

aaicourse-15-06-03(PDF, Chapter 5 modified)

aaicourse-15-06-02(PDF, Chapter 4 modified)

aaicourse-15-06-01(PDF, Chapter 1 modified)

aaicourse-15-06 (PDF, chapters 1-6)

aaicourse-15-05-2 (PDF, chapters 1-6; chapter 6 only as a first stub)

DISTRIBUTED ACTOR ACTOR INTERACTION [DAAI]. Version 15.05.1, Dec 2, 2019:

aaicourse-15-05-1(PDF, chapters 1-5; minor corrections)

aaicourse-15-05 (PDF, chapters 1-5 of the new version 15.05)

Changes: Extension of title, extension of preface!, extension of chapter 4, new: chapter 5 MAS, extension of bibliography and indices.

HISTORY OF UPDATES

ACTOR ACTOR INTERACTION [AAI]. Version: June 17, 2019 – V.7: aaicourse-17june2019-incomplete

Change: June 19, 2019 (Update  to version 8; chapter 5 has been rewritten completely).

ACTOR ACTOR INTERACTION [AAI]. Version: June 19, 2019 – V.8: aaicourse-june 19-2019-v8-incomplete

Change: June 19, 2019 (Update to version 8.1; minor corrections in chapter 5)

ACTOR ACTOR INTERACTION [AAI]. Version: June 19, 2019 – V.8.1: aaicourse-june19-2019-v8.1-incomplete

Change: June 23, 2019 (Update to version 9; adding chapter 6 (Dynamic AS) and chapter 7 (Example of dynamic AS with two actors)

ACTOR ACTOR INTERACTION [AAI]. Version: June 23, 2019 – V.9: aaicourse-June-23-2019-V9-incomplete

Change: June 25, 2019 (Update to version 9.1; minor corrections in chapters 1+2)

ACTOR ACTOR INTERACTION [AAI]. Version: June 25, 2019 – V.9.1aaicourse-June25-2019-V9-1-incomplete

Change: June 29, 2019 (Update to version 10; )rewriting of chapter 4 Actor Story on account of changes in the chapters 5-7)

ACTOR ACTOR INTERACTION [AAI]. Version: June 29, 2019 – V.10: aaicourse-June-29-2019-V10-incomplete

Change: June 30, 2019 (Update to version 11; ) completing  chapter  3 Problem Definition)

ACTOR ACTOR INTERACTION [AAI]. Version: June 30, 2019 – V.11: aaicourse-June30-2019-V11-incomplete

Change: June 30, 2019 (Update to version 12; ) new chapter 5 for normative actor stories (NAS) Problem Definition)

ACTOR ACTOR INTERACTION [AAI]. Version: June 30, 2019 – V.12: aaicourse-June30-2019-V12-incomplete

Change: June 30, 2019 (Update to version 13; ) extending chapter 9 with the section about usability testing)

ACTOR ACTOR INTERACTION [AAI]. Version: June 30, 2019 – V.13aaicourse-June30-2019-V13-incomplete

Change: July 8, 2019 (Update to version 13.1 ) some more references to chapter 4; formatting the bibliography alphabetically)

ACTOR ACTOR INTERACTION [AAI]. Version: July 8, 2019 – V.13.1: aaicourse-July8-2019-V13.1-incomplete

Change: July 15, 2019 (Update to version 13.3 ) (In chapter 9 Testing an AS extending the description of Usability Testing with more concrete details to the test procedure)

ACTOR ACTOR INTERACTION [AAI]. Version: July 15, 2019 – V.13.3: aaicourse-13-3

Change: Aug 7, 2019 (Only some minor changes in Chapt. 1 Introduction, pp.15ff, but these changes make clear, that the scope of the AAI analysis can go far beyond the normal analysis. An AAI analysis without explicit actor models (AMs) corresponds to the analysis phase of a systems engineering process (SEP), but an AAI analysis including explicit actor models will cover 50 – 90% of the (logical) design phase too. How much exactly could only be answered if  there would exist an elaborated formal SEP theory with quantifications, but there exists  no such theory. The quantification here is an estimate.)

ACTOR ACTOR INTERACTION [AAI]. Version: Aug 7, 2019 – V.14:aaicourse-14

ACTOR ACTOR INTERACTION [AAI]. Version 15, Nov 9, 2019:

aaicourse-15(PDF, 1st chapter of the new version 15)

ACTOR ACTOR INTERACTION [AAI]. Version 15.01, Nov 11, 2019:

aaicourse-15-01 (PDF, 1st chapter of the new version 15.01)

ACTOR ACTOR INTERACTION [AAI]. Version 15.02, Nov 11, 2019:

aaicourse-15-02 (PDF, 1st chapter of the new version 15.02)

ACTOR ACTOR INTERACTION [AAI]. Version 15.03, Nov 13, 2019:

aaicourse-15-03 (PDF, 1st chapter of the new version 15.03)

ACTOR ACTOR INTERACTION [AAI]. Version 15.04, Nov 19, 2019:

(update of chapter 3, new created chapter 4)

aaicourse-15-04 (PDF, chapters 1-4 of the new version 15.04)

HISTORY OF CHANGES OF THIS PAGE

Change: May 20, 2019 (Stopping Circulating Acronyms :-))

Change: May 21,  2019 (Adding the Slavery-Empowerment topic)

Change: May 26, 2019 (Improving the general introduction of this first page)

HISTORY OF AAI-TEXT

After a previous post of the new AAI approach I started the first  re-formulation of the general framework of  the AAI theory, which later has been replaced by a more advanced AAI version V2. But even this version became a change candidate and mutated to the   Actor-Cognition Interaction (ACI) paradigm, which still was not the endpoint. Then new arguments grew up to talk rather from the Augmented Collective Intelligence (ACI). Because even this view on the subject can  change again I stopped following the different aspects of the general Actor-Actor Interaction paradigm and decided to keep the general AAI paradigm as the main attractor capable of several more specialized readings.