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 .

THE BETTER WORLD PROJECT IDEA

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

Last changes: 9.Oct.2018 (Engineering part)

Author: Gerd Doeben-Henisch

Enhanced version of the 'Better World Project' Idea by making explicit the engineering part touching all other aspects
Enhanced version of the ‘Better World Project’ Idea by making explicit the engineering part touching all other aspects

 

The online-book project published on the uffmm.org website has to be seen within a bigger idea which can be named ‘The better world project’.

As outlined in the figure above you can see that the AAIwSE theory is the nucleus of a project which intends to enable a global learning space which connects individual persons as well as schools, universities, cities as well as companies, and even more if wanted.

There are other ideas around using the concept ‘better world’, butt these other concepts are targeting other subjects. In this view here the engineering perspective is laying the ground to build new more effective systems to enhance all aspects of life.

As you already can detect in the AAAIwSE theory published so far there exists a new and enlarged vision of the acting persons, the engineers as the great artists of the real world. Taking this view seriously there will be a need for a new kind of spirituality too which is enabling the acting persons to do all this with a vital interest in the future of life in the universe.

Actually the following websites are directly involved in the ‘Better World Project Idea’: this site ‘uffmm.org’ (in English)  and (in German)  ‘cognitiveagent.org‘ and ‘Kommunalpolitik & eGaming‘. The last link points to an official project of the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences (FRA-UAS) which will apply the AAI-Methods to all communities in Germany (about 11.000).

uffmm – RESTART AS SCIENTIFIC WORKPLACE

RESTART OF UFFMM AS SCIENTIFIC WORKPLACE.
For the Integrated Engineering of the Future (SW4IEF)
Campaining the Actor-Actor Systems Engineering (AASE) paradigm

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

Last Update June-22, 2018, 15:32 CET.  See below: Case Studies —  Templates – AASE Micro Edition – and Scheduling 2018 —

RESTART

This is a complete new restart of the old uffmm-site. It is intended as a working place for those people who are interested in an integrated engineering of the future.

SYSTEMS ENGINEERING

A widely known and useful concept for a general approach to the engineering of problems is systems engineering (SE).

Open for nearly every kind of a possible problem does a systems engineering process (SEP) organize the process how to analyze the problem, and turn this analysis into a possible design for a solution. This proposed solution will be examined by important criteria and, if it reaches an optimal version, it will be implemented as a real working system. After final evaluations this solution will start its carrier in the real world.

PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE

In a meta-scientific point of view the systems engineering process can become itself the object of an analysis. This is usually done by a discipline called philosophy of science (PoS). Philosophy of science is asking, e.g., what the ‘ingredients’ of an systems-engineering process are, or how these ingredients do interact? How can such a process ‘fail’? ‘How can such a process be optimized’? Therefore a philosophy of science perspective can help to make a systems engineering process more transparent and thereby supports an optimization of these processes.

AAI (KNOWN AS HMI, HCI …)

A core idea of the philosophy of science perspective followed in this text is the assumption, that a systems engineering process is primarily based on different kinds of actors (AC) whose interactions enable and direct the whole process. These assumptions are also valid in that case, where the actors are not any more only biological systems like human persons and non-biological systems called machines, but also in that case where the traditional machines (M) are increasingly replaced by ‘intelligent machines (IM)‘. Therefore the well know paradigm of human-machine interaction (HMI) — or earlier ‘human-computer interaction (HCI)’  will be replaced in this text by the new paradigm of Actor-Actor Interaction (AAI). In this new version the main perspective is not the difference of man on one side and machines on the other but the kind of interactions between actors of all kind which are necessary and possible.

INTELLIGENT MACHINES

The  concept of intelligent machines (IM) is understood here as a special case of the general Actor (A) concept which includes as other sub-cases biological systems, predominantly humans as instantiations of the species Homo Sapiens. While until today the question of biological intelligence and machine intelligence is usually treated separately and differently it is intended in this text to use one general concept of intelligence for all actors. This allows then more direct comparisons and evaluations. Whether biological actors are in some sense better than the non-biological actors or vice versa can seriously only be discussed when the used concept of intelligence is the same.

ACTOR STORY AND ACTOR MODELS

And, as it will be explained in the following sections, the used paradigm of actor-actor interactions uses the two main concepts of actor story (AS) as well as actor model (AM). Actor models are embedded in the actor stories. Whether an actor model describes biological or non-biological actors does not matter. Independent of the inner structures of an actor model (which can be completely different) the actor story is always  completely described in terms of observable behavior which are the same for all kinds of actors (Comment: The major scientific disciplines for the analysis of behavior are biology, psychology, and sociology).

AASE PARADIGM

In analogy to the so-called ‘Object-Oriented (OO) approach in Software-Engineering (SWE)’ we campaign here the ‘Actor-Actor (AA) Systems Engineering (SE)’ approach. This takes the systems Engineering approach as a base concepts and re-works the whole framework from the point of view of the actor-actor paradigm.  AASE is seen here as a theory as well as an   domain of applications.

Ontologies of the AASE paradigm
Figure: Ontologies of the AASE paradigm

To understand the different perspectives of the used theory it can help to the figure ‘AASE-Paradigm Ontologies’. Within the systems engineering process (SEP) we have AAI-experts as acting actors. To describe these we need a ‘meta-level’ realized by a ‘philosophy of the actor’. The AAI-experts themselves are elaborating within an AAI-analysis an actor story (AS) as framework for different kinds of intended actors. To describe the inner structures of these intended actors one needs different kinds of ‘actor models’. The domain of actor-model structures overlaps with the domain of ‘machine learning (ML)’ and with ‘artificial intelligence (AI)’.

SOFTWARE

What will be described and developed separated from these theoretical considerations is an appropriate software environment which allows the construction of solutions within the AASE approach including e.g. the construction of intelligent machines too. This software environment is called in this text emerging-mind lab (EML) and it will be another public blog as well.

 

THEORY MICRO EDITION & CASE STUDIES

How we proceed

Because the overall framework of the intended integrated theory is too large to write it down in one condensed text with  all the necessary illustrating examples we decided in Dec 2017 to follow a bottom-up approach by writing primarily case studies from different fields. While doing this we can introduce stepwise the general theory by developing a Micro Edition of the Theory in parallel to the case studies. Because the Theory Micro Edition has gained a sufficient minimal completeness already in April 2018 we do not need anymore a separate   template for case studies. We will use the Theory Micro Edition  as  ‘template’ instead.

To keep the case studies readable as far as possible all needed mathematical concepts and formulas will be explained in a separate appendix section which is central for all case studies. This allows an evolutionary increase in the formal apparatus used for the integrated theory.

THEORY IN A BOOK FORMAT

(Still not final)

Here you can find the actual version of the   theory which will continuously be updated and extended by related topics.

At the end of the text you find a list of ToDos where everybody is invited to collaborate. The main editor is Gerd Doeben-Henisch deciding whether the proposal fits into the final text or not.

Last Update 22.June 2018

Philosophy of the Actor

This sections describes basic assumptions about the cognitive structure of the human AAI expert.

From HCI to AAI. Some Bits of History

This sections describes main developments in the history from HCI to AAI.

SCHEDULE 2018

The Milestone for a first outline in a book format has been reached June-22, 2018. The   milestone for a first final version   is  scheduled   for October-4, 2018.