[Crm-sig] New Issue: Non-human Actors

Martin Doerr martin at ics.forth.gr
Mon Sep 27 22:52:47 EEST 2021

Dear Mercedes, all,

My position is that machines are not actors. They are robots, that work 
on behalf of human actors, following human instructions. Their use is 
regulated by laws concerning those activating them, and not for suing 
the machine for its initiatives. There is no fundamental difference to 
setting up traps, no matter how complex the machine and its instructions 
are. Non-human actors should be restricted to living beings. Robots and 
traps and events set in action by them should be each a different 
category, and this is a nice, but different, challenge to model as well. 

All the best,


On 9/25/2021 1:33 AM, Mercedes Menendez Gonzalez wrote:
> Thank you for the kind words, Martin.
> A brief try, could we find a good example in chess artificial 
> intelligence? The human and the computer perform equivalent roles as 
> (participants) players. For instance, the IBM computer named Deep Blue 
> beated Kasparov in a well-documented match on May 11, 1997, at the 
> Equitable Center in New York.
> Also, with my apologies if I am misunderstanding things.
> All the best,
> Mercedes
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *De:* Martin Doerr <martin at ics.forth.gr>
> *Enviado:* miércoles, 22 de septiembre de 2021 22:14
> *Para:* Mercedes Menendez Gonzalez <UO68235 at uniovi.es>; 
> crm-sig at ics.forth.gr <Crm-sig at ics.forth.gr>
> *Asunto:* Re: [Crm-sig] New Issue: Non-human Actors
> Dear Mercedes,
> Thank you for your good comments! What we would need now most are real 
> data examples tracing individuals.
> All the best,
> Martin
> On 9/22/2021 4:31 PM, Mercedes Menendez Gonzalez wrote:
>> Dear all,
>> Although I am quite new to this, I would like to contribute my 
>> opinion on this interesting topic, if I may.
>> I agree that the most suitable option seems to be to create a class 
>> or some new classes for non-human actors. Going back to Rob’s 
>> example, I would say that the bird carries out an intentional action 
>> when it designs and builds the nest with very specific purposes (to 
>> lay eggs that have a specific size, to raise offspring).  We could 
>> even think on nest construction as an individual action as well as a 
>> collective behavior.
>> Best,
>> Mercedes
>> *I take the opportunity to thank you for the invitation to 
>> participate in this forum and to introduce myself. I am Mercedes 
>> Menéndez, PhD candidate in Art History at the University of Oviedo, 
>> Spain.
>> Enviado desde Correo <https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=550986> 
>> para Windows
>> *De: *Martin Doerr via Crm-sig <mailto:crm-sig at ics.forth.gr>
>> *Enviado: *Tuesday, September 21, 2021 9:16 PM
>> *Para: *crm-sig at ics.forth.gr <mailto:Crm-sig at ics.forth.gr>
>> *Asunto: *Re: [Crm-sig] New Issue: Non-human Actors
>> Dear Robert,
>> I support this.
>> I suggest the non-human Actors to go into CRMsci. It is a 
>> straightforward extension of scope, and has been discussed in the 
>> past. Non-human actors cannot be hold liable, and will not report. 
>> They are obviously a sibling to the human actors, and fall under a 
>> common generalization. In the same way, we have generalized over 
>> physical things in CRMsci.
>> I think any opinion that animals in general cannot take intentional 
>> actions has been proven non-sense. Conversely, human actions are 
>> often enough instinct driven.
>> So far, I do not think we have evidence of conceptual objects created 
>> by non-human actors. Whales may turn out having oral traditions in 
>> the future. Bird songs are, however, partially tradition and not 
>> innate, but we miss the creator individual...
>> Best,
>> Martin
>> On 9/21/2021 5:13 PM, Robert Sanderson via Crm-sig wrote:
>>     Dear all,
>>     In working with our natural history museum, we have a need to
>>     assign non-human "actors" to "activities", which is not currently
>>     possible.
>>     I think the easiest case to discuss is the construction of a
>>     (collected) nest by a (known individual) bird.
>>     We have an identity for the bird (and indeed, we have the remains
>>     of the bird!) and we have an identity for the nest that the bird
>>     constructed. We can estimate the time when the nest was made, and
>>     we know exactly where it was made (due to where it was collected
>>     from).
>>     For example:
>>     https://collections.peabody.yale.edu/search/Record/YPM-ORN-131036
>>     <https://collections.peabody.yale.edu/search/Record/YPM-ORN-131036>
>>     Or a dinosaur nest, where the adult and the eggs and the nest are
>>     preserved.
>>     If the bird (or dinosaur) could be an Actor, then it would be
>>     easy - the bird carried out a Production, during the TimeSpan,
>>     which produced the (coughcough)MadeObject, at the Place. However
>>     the only thing that can carry out activities is a human or group
>>     thereof.
>>     Similarly, the nest might have been built by a mated pair of
>>     birds, thereby requiring a Group-like construct for non-human
>>     actors as well.
>>     At the moment it seems like the best we can do is
>>     (beginning-of-existence-of-nest) P12 occurred in the presence of
>>     (bird-as-biological-object), which seems woefully inadequate
>>     semantically as it likely occurred in the presence of a lot of
>>     things, including other birds that didn't actually do anything.
>>     The closer subproperty is P11 had participant, which we can't use
>>     as birds cannot be actors.
>>     This might also relate to other discussions, in particular:
>>     * Instruments -- the instrument is somehow more responsible for
>>     the measurement than the thing being measured. It is at least
>>     "instrumental in" the measurement, be it digitally or mechanically.
>>     * Bias -- that animals cannot take intentional actions is a
>>     pretty biased viewpoint. Canis virum mordet, not only vir canem
>>     mordet. This might be extended to un-observable agents -- a
>>     culture might believe that a ghost, spirit, god, or other
>>     non-physical entity carried out some action.
>>     * Software "agents" -- even if the software is acting totally
>>     deterministically at the behest of another actor, a hard
>>     determinist might argue the same for humans.
>>     We could add a property either something like "instrumental in"
>>     with a broad range (Persistent Item, as super-class of Actor?)
>>     that is less about intent and responsibility, and more concerned
>>     with the required-ness of the entity for the event. Or we could
>>     go further and create some new classes between E77 and E39 that
>>     allow limited performance of activities by non Humans.
>>     Rob
>>     -- 
>>     Rob Sanderson
>>     Director for Cultural Heritage Metadata
>>     Yale University
>>     _______________________________________________
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>> -- 
>> ------------------------------------
>>   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
>>   Vox:+30(2810)391625
>>   Email:martin at ics.forth.gr  <mailto:martin at ics.forth.gr>   
>>   Web-site:http://www.ics.forth.gr/isl  <http://www.ics.forth.gr/isl>
> -- 
> ------------------------------------
>   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
>   Vox:+30(2810)391625
>   Email:martin at ics.forth.gr  <mailto:martin at ics.forth.gr>   
>   Web-site:http://www.ics.forth.gr/isl  <http://www.ics.forth.gr/isl>

  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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