[Crm-sig] Culture bias

Martin Doerr martin at ics.forth.gr
Wed May 29 23:43:45 EEST 2019

Dear All,

For all of you that are interested in the relation between modelling and 
reality, and the questions of adequacy and efficiency of such models, I 
recommend reading this interesting book:

Nisbett, Richard E.. The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners 
Think Differently - and Why . Hodder & Stoughton. Kindle Edition.

Not that I would support the idea that different cultures see different 
worlds, I defend the position that it is the things they pay attention 
to and what they abstract from reality that differs, obviously 
substantially. I think it is equally obvious that such different forms 
of thinking can be learned by anybody interested and open-minded enough 
(as Nisbett shows besides others). I think in attempting to make an 
international standard it is our ethical obligation and scientific 
opportunity to make sure we do not fall into cultural bias, at least not 
to the extreme.

I am well aware that the very method of using a KR model of type RDF/OWL 
imposes severe limits on the description of reality, which in itself 
constitutes a Western bias. But beyond that, we can discuss both the 
limitations imposed by that, and ways to describe other points of view 
about what has happened in the past and is still ongoing.

I have the impression that the CRM, in its focus on events and things 
with fuzzy boundaries, particularly on relationships rather than 
classification, and a concept of weak causality, is already going away 
from a typical Western style AI view.

Reading Nisbett and similar work carefully, I think we have a chance to 
combine superior thoughts and intellectual methods equally from all 
cultures for a better understanding of the world we live in, and in 
particular to improve our IT models and develop a clear understanding of 
their intellectual limitations and position in our reasoning processes.

The improvement may be on the level of models, discussing extensions and 
modifications of definitions, but also on the forms of logic or more 
general processing used to evaluate data in a CRM like form.

All the best,


  Dr. Martin Doerr
  Honorary Head of the
  Center for Cultural Informatics
  Information Systems Laboratory
  Institute of Computer Science
  Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (FORTH)
  N.Plastira 100, Vassilika Vouton,
  GR70013 Heraklion,Crete,Greece
  Email: martin at ics.forth.gr
  Web-site: http://www.ics.forth.gr/isl

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