Dear all,

In preparation for the discussion of non-human actors as related to use cases arising in Linked.Art (inter alia), Rob and I have sketched some ideas back and forth to try to find a monotonic was to add the agency of animals in the first instance into CRM (proceeding in an empirical bottom up fashion) and then see where else we might also get added in (searching for the sibling class that Martin suggests and the generalization that it would need).

The linked sketch provides a proposal for discussion. The background is given already in this issue. 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1RtKBvAH1N0G8yaE_io6hU2Z8MTBmH_8-/view?usp=sharing (draw.io)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1aCEBtXjW8M0W7qCGe9ozSMeYAH7tJ3Wr/view?usp=sharing (png)


Here is some argumentation.

Up to now, CRM takes its scope as related to documenting intentional acts of human beings. Its top level class then has been E39 Actor which gives properties which allow the assigning of responsibility for an intentional activity. It has two subclasses, E21 Person and E74 Group. These two kinds of being have different behaviour, therefore properties, therefore classes.

If we expand the scope (in base or in sci or wherever) to include animal agency in the first instance, then we must have a way to monotonically generate this extension (we don't want to just expand the scope of E39 Actor because then we will end up with rabbits being responsible for financial crises and murders and all sorts of nonsense).

So we want to introduce a sibling class for E39 Actor. Call this biological agent. Instances can be anything biological. This would obviously be some sort of a superclass of E21 Person, since all persons are biological actors as well. It would be a subclass of biological object since all biological agents must be biological. (but not all things biological are biological agents)

Then we would want a general class that subsumes the agency of purely human actors and biological agents. This would be our top class. Here we come up with a more general notion of agency. Whereas E39 Actor was declared in order to account for a 'legal persons notion' of agency common to Western legal systems etc. (and is perfectly adequate for the scope of CRM Base), this would be a broader notion of agency. 

In order to avoid impossible philosophical arguments around self consciousness, we can give a more externalist scope note / intension to this class. Agency has to do with those entities which display self organization and action towards an end from an external perspective. This way we avoid having to know if the other really has a self. If it looks like it is acting intentionally and people document it as such, then so it is.

This now gives us a super class (and eventually super properties) for all agents. 

But wait... we need more.

CRMBase distinguishes between persons and groups. Whereas persons must have both agency and be individuated corporeal beings, groups do not. Persons are atomic and irreducible (can't be made up of more persons, can't be spread over multiple bodies / time zones). Groups are composed of persons and groups. Groups are inherently collective.

If we wish then to have this same distinction reflected into the biological domain we would need a class for individual biological agents parallel / sibling to person and a class for collective biological agents, parallel / sibling to group.

Doing this one would then need the superclasses to subsume these divisions. Hence:

Individual Agent: subclass of Agent, superclass of individual biological agent

Collective Agent: subclass of Agent, superclass of collective biological agent and human group

This finally allows us to have:

Individual Biological Agent: subclass of Biological Agent and Individual Agent: used for individual birds, trees, and other biological actors

Collective Biological Agent: subclass of Biological Agent and Collective Agent: used for flocks, forests and other group biological actors (unlike human groups, such groups are inherently corporeal)

And at that point we might consider renaming our existing classes to 'human' xxx

So

E39 Human Agent: subclass of agent, no real change in intension, the kind of entity that can take action for which legal responsibility can be attributed within human cultures societies

E21 Human Person: no real change in intension but its superclass becomes individual biological agent and human agent (ie an animal that can be held legallly responsible for its actions)

E74 Group no real change in intension, but it gains a super class Collective Agent so it can be queried together with other agent groups.

This analysis does not get into the properties which are, of course, fundamental but sketches a possible path for creating the structure necessary to create this extension of scope in such a way that it would respect the principle of monotonicity in revising the model while allowing the growth of the model to handle the many use cases of documented animal agency that fall within CH institution's documentary scope.

Hope this is a good starting point for a constructive discussion!

Best,

George













On Tue, Sep 28, 2021 at 9:30 PM Martin Doerr via Crm-sig <crm-sig@ics.forth.gr> wrote:
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@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@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@ics.forth.gr>
Enviado: miércoles, 22 de septiembre de 2021 22:14
Para: Mercedes Menendez Gonzalez <UO68235@uniovi.es>; crm-sig@ics.forth.gr <Crm-sig@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 para Windows

 

De: Martin Doerr via Crm-sig
Enviado: Tuesday, September 21, 2021 9:16 PM
Para: crm-sig@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).

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@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@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@ics.forth.gr  
 Web-site: http://www.ics.forth.gr/isl
_______________________________________________
Crm-sig mailing list
Crm-sig@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@ics.forth.gr  
 Web-site: 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@ics.forth.gr  
 Web-site: http://www.ics.forth.gr/isl
_______________________________________________
Crm-sig mailing list
Crm-sig@ics.forth.gr
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