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

Robert Sanderson azaroth42 at gmail.com
Tue Sep 28 16:07:21 EEST 2021


Yes, understood and agreed :) Was just trying to clarify the process. And
in particular, the properties (and class hierarchy) are very important.
Scope notes can be ignored by humans (at their peril), but it's much harder
to ignore the ontology definition.

For documentation practice, I think most systems I've seen would say that
software does things, especially in digital preservation where the
software's actions must be  auditable (if not accountable).  I do worry
about legal responsibility as a factor in deciding agency/non-agency
however, given different jurisdictions and legal systems, but I also
understand the rationale.

R


On Tue, Sep 28, 2021 at 8:34 AM Martin Doerr <martin at ics.forth.gr> wrote:

> Dear Robert,
>
> Please excuse my sloppy shorthand! Of course I meant that a machine
> capable of causing events in reaction to external stimuli in a controlled
> manner is a new class model, AND the reactive events are another new class
> which should be related, it didn't come to my mind it could be one😁
>
> I just expressed my opinion. I have not made any decision. E39 Actor
> clearly excludes machines and animals so far. My argument is neither
> philosophy about free will, nor an interpretation of the word "agency",
> which would be a linguistic argument.
>
> From a methodological point of view, the only thing  that matters are the
> properties we associate with these things in documentation practice.
> Practice, and not philosophy, is, e.g., that a machine cannot be sued, but
> those setting them up in this manner. This is different from suing the
> owner of a tiger.
>
> The first thing to look at, in a bottom-up manner we are committed to, is
> to make ontological distinctions, not extending existing concepts into new
> domains. There are, to my opinion, much more things that differentiate
> Actors and Activities from robots and their reactions which I have not
> listed.
>
> Only after we have carefully investigated that there are enough
> commonalities between originally distinct concepts, we can decide if they
> warrant a common superclass.
>
> Both I have not seen yet.
>
> Would that make sense?
>
> All the best,
>
> Martin
>
> On 9/27/2021 11:31 PM, Robert Sanderson wrote:
>
>
> 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> 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> <martin at ics.forth.gr>
>> *Enviado:* miércoles, 22 de septiembre de 2021 22:14
>> *Para:* Mercedes Menendez Gonzalez <UO68235 at uniovi.es>
>> <UO68235 at uniovi.es>; crm-sig at ics.forth.gr <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 <crm-sig at ics.forth.gr>
>> *Enviado: *Tuesday, September 21, 2021 9:16 PM
>> *Para: *crm-sig at ics.forth.gr <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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>>
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>>
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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
>>
>>  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
>>  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
>>  Web-site: http://www.ics.forth.gr/isl
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> Crm-sig mailing list
>> Crm-sig at ics.forth.gr
>> http://lists.ics.forth.gr/mailman/listinfo/crm-sig
>>
>
>
> --
> Rob Sanderson
> Director for Cultural Heritage Metadata
> Yale University
>
>
>
> --
> ------------------------------------
>  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
>  Web-site: http://www.ics.forth.gr/isl
>
>

-- 
Rob Sanderson
Director for Cultural Heritage Metadata
Yale University
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