ENGINEERING AND SOCIETY: The Role of Preferences

eJournal: uffmm.org,
ISSN 2567-6458, 4.May 2019
Email: info@uffmm.org
Author: Gerd Doeben-Henisch
Email: gerd@doeben-henisch.de

FINAL HYPOTHESIS

This suggests that a symbiosis between creative humans and computing algorithms is an attractive pairing. For this we have to re-invent our official  learning processes in schools and universities to train the next generation of humans in a more inspired and creative usage of algorithms in a game-like learning processes.

CONTEXT

The overall context is given by the description of the Actor-Actor Interaction (AAI) paradigm as a whole.  In this text the special relationship between engineering and the surrounding society is in the focus. And within this very broad and rich relationship the main interest lies in the ethical dimension here understood as those preferences of a society which are more supported than others. It is assumed that such preferences manifesting themselves  in real actions within a space of many other options are pointing to hidden values which guide the decisions of the members of a society. Thus values are hypothetical constructs based on observable actions within a cognitively assumed space of possible alternatives. These cognitively represented possibilities are usually only given in a mixture of explicitly stated symbolic statements and different unconscious factors which are influencing the decisions which are causing the observable actions.

These assumptions represent  until today not a common opinion and are not condensed in some theoretical text. Nevertheless I am using these assumptions here because they help to shed some light on the rather complex process of finding a real solution to a stated problem which is rooted in the cognitive space of the participants of the engineering process. To work with these assumptions in concrete development processes can support a further clarification of all these concepts.

ENGINEERING AND SOCIETY

DUAL: REAL AND COGNITIVE

The relationship between an engineering process and the preferences of a society
The relationship between an engineering process and the preferences of a society

As assumed in the AAI paradigm the engineering process is that process which connects the  event of  stating a problem combined with a first vision of a solution with a final concrete working solution.

The main characteristic of such an engineering process is the dual character of a continuous interaction between the cognitive space of all participants of the process with real world objects, actions, and processes. The real world as such is a lose collection of real things, to some extend connected by regularities inherent in natural things, but the visions of possible states, possible different connections, possible new processes is bound to the cognitive space of biological actors, especially to humans as exemplars of the homo sapiens species.

Thus it is a major factor of training, learning, and education in general to see how the real world can be mapped into some cognitive structures, how the cognitive structures can be transformed by cognitive operations into new structures and how these new cognitive structures can be re-mapped into the real world of bodies.

Within the cognitive dimension exists nearly infinite sets of possible alternatives, which all indicate possible states of a world, whose feasibility is more or less convincing. Limited by time and resources it is usually not possible to explore all these cognitively tapped spaces whether and how they work, what are possible side effects etc.

PREFERENCES

Somehow by nature, somehow by past experience biological system — like the home sapiens — have developed   cultural procedures to induce preferences how one selects possible options, which one should be selected, under which circumstances and with even more constraints. In some situations these preferences can be helpful, in others they can  hide possibilities which afterwards can be  re-detected as being very valuable.

Thus every engineering process which starts  a transformation process from some cognitively given point of view to a new cognitively point of view with a following up translation into some real thing is sharing its cognitive space with possible preferences of  the cognitive space of the surrounding society.

It is an open case whether the engineers as the experts have an experimental, creative attitude to explore without dogmatic constraints the   possible cognitive spaces to find new solutions which can improve life or not. If one assumes that there exist no absolute preferences on account of the substantially limit knowledge of mankind at every point of time and inferring from this fact the necessity to extend an actual knowledge further to enable the mastering of an open unknown future then the engineers will try to explore seriously all possibilities without constraints to extend the power of engineering deeper into the heart of the known as well as unknown universe.

EXPLORING COGNITIVE POSSIBILITIES

At the start one has only a rough description of the problem and a rough vision of a wanted solution which gives some direction for the search of an optimal solution. This direction represents also a kind of a preference what is wanted as the outcome of the process.

On account of the inherent duality of human thinking and communication embracing the cognitive space as well as the realm of real things which both are connected by complex mappings realized by the brain which operates  nearly completely unconscious a long process of concrete real and cognitive actions is necessary to materialize cognitive realities within a  communication process. Main modes of materialization are the usage of symbolic languages, paintings (diagrams), physical models, algorithms for computation and simulations, and especially gaming (in several different modes).

As everybody can know  these communication processes are not simple, can be a source of  confusions, and the coordination of different brains with different cognitive spaces as well as different layouts of unconscious factors  is a difficult and very demanding endeavor.

The communication mode gaming is of a special interest here  because it is one of the oldest and most natural modes to learn but in the official education processes in schools and  universities (and in companies) it was until recently not part of the official curricula. But it is the only mode where one can exercise the dimensions of preferences explicitly in combination with an exploring process and — if one wants — with the explicit social dimension of having more than one brain involved.

In the last about 50 – 100 years the term project has gained more and more acceptance and indeed the organization of projects resembles a game but it is usually handled as a hierarchical, constraints-driven process where creativity and concurrent developing (= gaming) is not a main topic. Even if companies allow concurrent development teams these teams are cognitively separated and the implicit cognitive structures are black boxes which can not be evaluated as such.

In the presupposed AAI paradigm here the open creative space has a high priority to increase the chance for innovation. Innovation is the most valuable property in face of an unknown future!

While the open space for a real creativity has to be executed in all the mentioned modes of communication the final gaming mode is of special importance.  To enable a gaming process one has explicitly to define explicit win-lose states. This  objectifies values/ preferences hidden   in the cognitive space before. Such an  objectification makes things transparent, enables more rationality and allows the explicit testing of these defined win-lose states as feasible or not. Only tested hypothesis represent tested empirical knowledge. And because in a gaming mode whole groups or even all members of a social network can participate in a  learning process of the functioning and possible outcome of a presented solution everybody can be included.  This implies a common sharing of experience and knowledge which simplifies the communication and therefore the coordination of the different brains with their unconsciousness a lot.

TESTING AND EVALUATION

Testing a proposed solution is another expression for measuring the solution. Measuring is understood here as a basic comparison between the target to be measured (here the proposed solution) and the before agreed norm which shall be used as point of reference for the comparison.

But what can be a before agreed norm?

Some aspects can be mentioned here:

  1. First of all there is the proposed solution as such, which is here a proposal for a possible assistive actor in an assumed environment for some intended executive actors which has to fulfill some job (task).
  2. Part of this proposed solution are given constraints and non-functional requirements.
  3. Part of this proposed solution are some preferences as win-lose states which have to be reached.
  4. Another difficult to define factor are the executive actors if they are biological systems. Biological systems with their basic built in ability to act free, to be learning systems, and this associated with a not-definable large unconscious realm.

Given the explicit preferences constrained by many assumptions one can test only, whether the invited test persons understood as possible instances of the  intended executive actors are able to fulfill the defined task(s) in some predefined amount of time within an allowed threshold of making errors with an expected percentage of solved sub-tasks together with a sufficient subjective satisfaction with the whole process.

But because biological executive actors are learning systems they  will behave in different repeated  tests differently, they can furthermore change their motivations and   their interests, they can change their emotional commitment, and because of their   built-in basic freedom to act there can be no 100% probability that they will act at time t as they have acted all the time before.

Thus for all kinds of jobs where the process is more or less fixed, where nothing new  will happen, the participation of biological executive actors in such a process is questionable. It seems (hypothesis), that biological executing actors are better placed  in jobs where there is some minimal rate of curiosity, of innovation, and of creativity combined with learning.

If this hypothesis is empirically sound (as it seems), then all jobs where human persons are involved should have more the character of games then something else.

It is an interesting side note that the actual research in robotics under the label of developmental robotics is struck by the problem how one can make robots continuously learning following interesting preferences. Given a preference an algorithm can work — under certain circumstances — often better than a human person to find an optimal solution, but lacking such a preference the algorithm is lost. And actually there exists not the faintest idea how algorithms should acquire that kind of preferences which are interesting and important for an unknown future.

On the contrary, humans are known to be creative, innovative, detecting new preferences etc. but they have only limited capacities to explore these creative findings until some telling endpoint.

This suggests that a symbiosis between creative humans and computing algorithms is an attractive pairing. For this we have to re-invent our official  learning processes in schools and universities to train the next generation of humans in a more inspired and creative usage of algorithms in a game-like learning processes.

 

 

 

 

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.