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

Martin Doerr martin at ics.forth.gr
Tue Sep 28 21:24:41 EEST 2021


Dear All,

Robert, all, I think it would be good to have progress in reviewing the 
PARTHENOS model. It contains a quite elaborate model of e-services, and 
makes subtle distinctions beteen maintainers, machines, and software 
installed. A lot of aspects may already be resolved there. The model has 
been implemented and used in a large EU Project.

Best,

Martin

On 9/28/2021 4:07 PM, Robert Sanderson wrote:
>
> 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 
> <mailto: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
>>     <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.
>>>>
>>>>         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
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>             _______________________________________________
>>>>
>>>>             Crm-sig mailing list
>>>>
>>>>             Crm-sig at ics.forth.gr  <mailto:Crm-sig at ics.forth.gr>
>>>>
>>>>             http://lists.ics.forth.gr/mailman/listinfo/crm-sig  <http://lists.ics.forth.gr/mailman/listinfo/crm-sig>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>         -- 
>>>>         ------------------------------------
>>>>           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
>>           
>>           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>
>>
>>         _______________________________________________
>>         Crm-sig mailing list
>>         Crm-sig at ics.forth.gr <mailto:Crm-sig at ics.forth.gr>
>>         http://lists.ics.forth.gr/mailman/listinfo/crm-sig
>>         <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  <mailto:martin at ics.forth.gr>   
>       Web-site:http://www.ics.forth.gr/isl  <http://www.ics.forth.gr/isl>
>
>
>
> -- 
> 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

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