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

Mercedes Menendez Gonzalez UO68235 at uniovi.es
Tue Sep 28 01:36:48 EEST 2021


Dear Martin, Rob, all,

I chose this case because it seemed to me a potentially problematic example, when it comes to think about possible equivalences between human and non-human agency. I assume that the (ontological) difference between living and non-living beings must be established, in some way.

In any case, I would not like to monopolize too many lines, as I am aware that my experience in this field is very limited. For the moment, I can acquire very much knowledge, rather than contribute it (so thank you all).

Best,
Mercedes


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De: Robert Sanderson<mailto:azaroth42 at gmail.com>
Enviado: Monday, September 27, 2021 10:31 PM
Para: Martin Doerr<mailto:martin at ics.forth.gr>
CC: Mercedes Menendez Gonzalez<mailto:UO68235 at uniovi.es>; crm-sig at ics.forth.gr<mailto:Crm-sig at ics.forth.gr>
Asunto: Re: [Crm-sig] New Issue: Non-human Actors


Could it be kept open until there's a clear cost / benefit established, rather than philosophy around free will?

For example, if the ontology allows things that should be perdurants to become endurants through agency, then we've messed up a fundamental design decision. For example, a fire might "carry out" the destruction of an object, but it's not an actor. But a self-driving car seems to have more "agency" than the cyanobacteria "responsible" for creating stromatolites (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stromatolite). A tiger escapes its enclosure at a zoo and eats a child ... the tiger carried out the eating, but can't be held legally accountable. The zoo on the other hand maybe could be ... but the zoo did not eat the child.

There's lots to unpack ... it would be good to determine how far we can unpack it as part of the process, while respecting core design values.

R


On Mon, Sep 27, 2021 at 3:59 PM Martin Doerr via Crm-sig <crm-sig at ics.forth.gr<mailto:crm-sig at ics.forth.gr>> wrote:
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. Opinions?

All the best,

Martin

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><mailto:martin at ics.forth.gr>
Enviado: miércoles, 22 de septiembre de 2021 22:14
Para: Mercedes Menendez Gonzalez <UO68235 at uniovi.es><mailto:UO68235 at uniovi.es>; crm-sig at ics.forth.gr<mailto:crm-sig at ics.forth.gr> <Crm-sig at ics.forth.gr><mailto: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.





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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

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



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 Information Systems Laboratory

 Institute of Computer Science

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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




--

------------------------------------

 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
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Rob Sanderson
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Yale University

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