Why Philosophy? Why Now? Engineering Responds to the Crisis of a Creative Age David E. Goldberg Industrial & Enterprise Sy...
Why Whoopee (WPE-2007)? <ul><li>Last October, philosophers & engineers met at MIT & agreed to hold Workshop on Philosophy ...
Roadmap <ul><li>Engineering and philosophy are strange bedfellows. </li></ul><ul><li>Friedman, Florida & Pink and all that...
Aren’t We Strange Bedfellows? <ul><li>Philosophers </li></ul><ul><li>Humanists </li></ul><ul><li>Contemplative </li></ul><...
Friedman, Florida, Pink & All That <ul><li>Technoreconomic forces are encouraging globalization.& shaking things up.. </li...
A Technoeconomic Framework <ul><li>The missed revolutions have been enabled by a number of technoeconomic effects: </li></...
Ronald Coase & X-Costs <ul><li>Why has change been so relentless over past 50 years? </li></ul><ul><li>In institutional ec...
Arthur & Network Returns <ul><li>Reduced X-costs -> small is good:  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Outsourcing </li></ul></ul><ul><...
Engineers are Trained Enhancers <ul><li>In creative era, premium on  category creators —creators of new categories of prod...
Why Engineering Needs Phil Now? <ul><li>Training enhancers by education & practice sharpened in crucible of WW2. </li></ul...
Response to Crisis of Creative Age <ul><li>Kuhn’s  The Structure of Scientific Revolutions: Response to crisis: </li></ul>...
Philosophy: Crisis Response Tool <ul><li>Scientists: New physics was disorienting and scientists turned to philosophy for ...
The Missing O <ul><li>Info (radically networked world) is having profound cultural effects. </li></ul><ul><li>Leads to the...
The Qual-Quant Divide <ul><li>Obstacle to effective SociO-engineering. </li></ul><ul><li>Much knowledge about our species ...
Humans as Error in the Loop <ul><li>During the Cold War, humans were an obstacle to the proper functioning of a system. </...
Postmodern: Humans are the Loop <ul><li>Internet, human beings integral part of the system. </li></ul><ul><li>Google as hu...
3 Lessons: Philosophy for Engin <ul><li>The needs of human-centered design: The construction of engineering reality. </li>...
Construction of Engineering Reality <ul><li>Mill Prof of Philosophy of Berkeley. </li></ul><ul><li>Philosopher of language...
Objectivity versus Subjectivity <ul><li>Have existence versus knowing, as well as objective versus subjective. </li></ul><...
Structure of Social Universe <ul><li>Mind creates an objective social reality. </li></ul><ul><li>Example, money: </li></ul...
Building Blocks of Social Reality <ul><li>Need 3 new elements:  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Collective intentionality: we intend...
Constitutive Rules <ul><li>How to distinguish between brute facts and institutional facts. </li></ul><ul><li>Types of rule...
Web Life: Institutional Complexity <ul><li>Go on Google, search for online book seller, sign in to Amazon.com using accoun...
Institutional/Physical Landscape
Challenge of the Tabula Rasa <ul><li>So you want to be a category creator not a category enhancer. </li></ul><ul><li>How d...
Socrates and Dialectic <ul><li>Socrates was a pain in the neck. </li></ul><ul><li>Walked around Athens asking everyone imp...
What’s This Got to Do with Products? <ul><li>Questions & conversation is at roots of all new products. </li></ul><ul><li>R...
Aristotelian Data Mining <ul><li>Aristotle as creative categorizer. </li></ul><ul><li>Aristotelian product spaces: Conside...
Yahoo
Facebook
Flickr
What Common? What Different? <ul><li>Can we make a list of attributes that separate the space? </li></ul><ul><li>Can use J...
Some Techniques with Attributes <ul><li>Dimensionalization of spaces very helpful to high-level thought. </li></ul><ul><li...
Hypertrophy    YouTube
Not What Philosophy is For? <ul><li>Interesting discussion at October meeting. </li></ul><ul><li>Engineers want to use phi...
Bottom Line <ul><li>Why philosophy for engineering now? </li></ul><ul><li>Flat world forces driving creativity imperative....
More Information <ul><li>MTV,  the course.  http://online.engr.uiuc.edu/webcourses/ge498tv/index.html </li></ul><ul><li>TE...
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Deg Why Philosophy Why Now Wpe 2007

  1. 1. Why Philosophy? Why Now? Engineering Responds to the Crisis of a Creative Age David E. Goldberg Industrial & Enterprise Systems Engineering University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Urbana, Illinois 61801 [email_address]
  2. 2. Why Whoopee (WPE-2007)? <ul><li>Last October, philosophers & engineers met at MIT & agreed to hold Workshop on Philosophy & Engineering (WPE-2007). </li></ul><ul><li>Why would such strange bedfellows seek each other out? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there something about times that brings us here today? </li></ul><ul><li>Perhaps our creative era demands deep reflection on nature of engineering. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Roadmap <ul><li>Engineering and philosophy are strange bedfellows. </li></ul><ul><li>Friedman, Florida & Pink and all that. </li></ul><ul><li>Technoeconomic forces of the zeitgeist. </li></ul><ul><li>A creative age? </li></ul><ul><li>Engineers enhancers, not creators. </li></ul><ul><li>Philosophy as response to crisis of creative age. </li></ul><ul><li>3 lessons of ancient & modern philosophy. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Aren’t We Strange Bedfellows? <ul><li>Philosophers </li></ul><ul><li>Humanists </li></ul><ul><li>Contemplative </li></ul><ul><li>Articulate </li></ul><ul><li>Abstract </li></ul><ul><li>Like to argue </li></ul><ul><li>Reflection in itself </li></ul><ul><li>Logical </li></ul><ul><li>Engineers </li></ul><ul><li>Technologists </li></ul><ul><li>Action-oriented </li></ul><ul><li>Linguistically naïve </li></ul><ul><li>Concrete </li></ul><ul><li>Like to agree </li></ul><ul><li>Reflection as instrumental </li></ul><ul><li>Logical </li></ul>Why are such strange bedfellows gathering now?
  5. 5. Friedman, Florida, Pink & All That <ul><li>Technoreconomic forces are encouraging globalization.& shaking things up.. </li></ul><ul><li>Cheap, technical talent hired Shanghai & Bangalore </li></ul><ul><li>The World is Flat, The Rise of the Creative Class, A Whole New Mind. </li></ul><ul><li>Returns to creativity particularly important. </li></ul><ul><li>Ordinary technical skill commoditized. </li></ul>
  6. 6. A Technoeconomic Framework <ul><li>The missed revolutions have been enabled by a number of technoeconomic effects: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Transport and communication improvements. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Transaction costs. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Network effects. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Understand these: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Puts past in perspective. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Helps project future trends. </li></ul></ul>Karl Mark (1818-1883)
  7. 7. Ronald Coase & X-Costs <ul><li>Why has change been so relentless over past 50 years? </li></ul><ul><li>In institutional economics, a major determinant of organization size & structure are transaction costs. </li></ul><ul><li>Get up in morning and sell services to highest bidder? No, join organizations. </li></ul><ul><li>Using the free market is not free. </li></ul><ul><li>Relentless reduction in communication and transportation costs has reduced transaction costs over all of this century. </li></ul>Ronald H. Coase (b. 1910)
  8. 8. Arthur & Network Returns <ul><li>Reduced X-costs -> small is good: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Outsourcing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sticking to core competence as mantra. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Countervailing force: network returns: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Telecommunications. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Operating systems. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interoperable search/advertising networks. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Big is better. </li></ul></ul>W. Brian Arthur
  9. 9. Engineers are Trained Enhancers <ul><li>In creative era, premium on category creators —creators of new categories of products and service. </li></ul><ul><li>Engineers generally enhancers, not creative (Davis, 1996, 2006). </li></ul><ul><li>This requires different skill set. </li></ul><ul><li>Right-brained thinking: integrative, creative, intuitive. </li></ul><ul><li>MFA + Engineer vs. MBA + Engineer. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Why Engineering Needs Phil Now? <ul><li>Training enhancers by education & practice sharpened in crucible of WW2. </li></ul><ul><li>Bush paradigm: Science: The Endless Frontier. </li></ul><ul><li>Centralized institutions, conformity & specialization dominant. </li></ul><ul><li>World has turned or is turning. </li></ul><ul><li>Current situation disorienting. </li></ul><ul><li>Not unlike crisis of physics at dawn of 20 th century. </li></ul>Vannevar Bush (1890-1974)
  11. 11. Response to Crisis of Creative Age <ul><li>Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions: Response to crisis: </li></ul><ul><li>“ I think, particularly in periods of acknowledged crisis that scientists have turned to philosophical analysis as a device for unlocking the riddles of their fields. Some have not generally needed or wanted to be philosophers. Indeed, normal science usually holds creative philosophy at arm’s length, and probably for good reason…But that is not to say that the search for assumptions cannot be an effective way to weaken the grip of a tradition upon the mind and to suggest the basis for a new one.” </li></ul>Thomas S. Kuhn (1922-1996)
  12. 12. Philosophy: Crisis Response Tool <ul><li>Scientists: New physics was disorienting and scientists turned to philosophy for “foundations.” </li></ul><ul><li>Engineers: Today’s technological world as disorienting as Einstein’s world was to scientists. </li></ul><ul><li>Centripetal forces of the Os: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bio & nano: Push toward more science: hypertrophy cold war paradigm. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Info: Shift toward new human-centered design. </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. The Missing O <ul><li>Info (radically networked world) is having profound cultural effects. </li></ul><ul><li>Leads to the missing O. </li></ul><ul><li>Postmodern systems engineering (2004) demands better understanding of HomO sapiens (let’s call it SociO). </li></ul><ul><li>Homo sapiens as engineering concern: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Quality engineering: Design for homo sapiens. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Postmodern systems: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Design around HS: IT systems </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Design a HS: robotics, prosthetics, a-life </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Design like HS: Computational intelligence </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Homo sapiens as actor, object, and collective. </li></ul>
  14. 14. The Qual-Quant Divide <ul><li>Obstacle to effective SociO-engineering. </li></ul><ul><li>Much knowledge about our species is not theoretically quantitative: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Philosophical. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Historical. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Spiritual. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mythical. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Statistical. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The schism of 1920: B-schools went one way, engineering another (Wharton, 1881, Harvard MBA, 1921). </li></ul>
  15. 15. Humans as Error in the Loop <ul><li>During the Cold War, humans were an obstacle to the proper functioning of a system. </li></ul><ul><li>Tom Wolfe’s, The Right Stuff, plot: tension between pilots and engineers who would eliminate them. </li></ul><ul><li>Cold War view: Humans are error in the loop, and error is to be eliminated. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Postmodern: Humans are the Loop <ul><li>Internet, human beings integral part of the system. </li></ul><ul><li>Google as human preference engine. No humans, no Google. </li></ul><ul><li>Brute facts of physics not dominant in postmodern systems. </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the “physics” for Ebay? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What equations of motion govern Google? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What constitutive relations for MSOffice. </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. 3 Lessons: Philosophy for Engin <ul><li>The needs of human-centered design: The construction of engineering reality. </li></ul><ul><li>The imperatives of category creation: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dialectic in creative modeling. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aristotelian data mining in creative modeling. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Part of a new class, Creative Modeling for Tech Visionaries. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Construction of Engineering Reality <ul><li>Mill Prof of Philosophy of Berkeley. </li></ul><ul><li>Philosopher of language and mind. </li></ul><ul><li>Early work took off from Austin’s work on speech acts. </li></ul><ul><li>What does language have to do with it? </li></ul><ul><li>His book, The Construction of Social Reality (Free Press, 1995) , critical to our study. </li></ul><ul><li>Helps us understand social and institutional facts, separate physics from the social. </li></ul>John R. Searle (b. 1932)
  19. 19. Objectivity versus Subjectivity <ul><li>Have existence versus knowing, as well as objective versus subjective. </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mountain: existence  objective </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pain in toe: existence  subjective </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pain in toe: knowledge  objective </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ontological subjectivity does not prevent epistemological objectivity. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Structure of Social Universe <ul><li>Mind creates an objective social reality. </li></ul><ul><li>Example, money: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Trivial physics: money not money because of material existence. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Money, money because of our intentions. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Other examples: language, government, universities. </li></ul><ul><li>Object fits description because we think it does. </li></ul><ul><li>What is ontology of the social and the institutional? </li></ul>
  21. 21. Building Blocks of Social Reality <ul><li>Need 3 new elements: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Collective intentionality: we intend. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assignment of function: function is never intrinsic, always observer relative. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Constitutive rules. </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Constitutive Rules <ul><li>How to distinguish between brute facts and institutional facts. </li></ul><ul><li>Types of rules: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Some rules regulate: “Drive on left side of road.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some rules regulate and constitute: Rules of chess both regulate conduct of game and create it. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Constitutive rules form: X counts as Y in C. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Move two and over one” counts as a knight’s move in chess.” </li></ul>
  23. 23. Web Life: Institutional Complexity <ul><li>Go on Google, search for online book seller, sign in to Amazon.com using account ID, order a book, using a credit card, get recommendations from recommender system & order some of those books, too. </li></ul><ul><li>Get confirmation message via e-mail account, and books delivered by FedEx. </li></ul><ul><li>Refers to string of institutional facts. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Institutional/Physical Landscape
  25. 25. Challenge of the Tabula Rasa <ul><li>So you want to be a category creator not a category enhancer. </li></ul><ul><li>How do we design when we don’t know how to talk about what we are designing? </li></ul><ul><li>Let’s start at the human beginnings of conceptual clarity. </li></ul><ul><li>Clearest examples are from philosophy. </li></ul><ul><li>Presocratic  Socrates  Plato  Aristotle. </li></ul><ul><li>Mechanisms of the new thought: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Socratic dialectic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aristotelian data mining </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. Socrates and Dialectic <ul><li>Socrates was a pain in the neck. </li></ul><ul><li>Walked around Athens asking everyone impossible questions. </li></ul><ul><li>Then proved their answers were wrong, but rarely gave an answer himself. </li></ul><ul><li>Nonetheless, Socrates’s method was useful. </li></ul><ul><li>Conversation trying to probe what things really are (or might be). </li></ul>Socrates (470-399 BCE)
  27. 27. What’s This Got to Do with Products? <ul><li>Questions & conversation is at roots of all new products. </li></ul><ul><li>Research on tech visionaries shows that problem finding is the main activity of successful tech visionaries. </li></ul><ul><li>Spark of insight may come as flash, but dialectic necessary in new product creation. </li></ul><ul><li>Three roles of questions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Probe customers. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Probe organizational hurdles. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Probe product developers. </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. Aristotelian Data Mining <ul><li>Aristotle as creative categorizer. </li></ul><ul><li>Aristotelian product spaces: Consider space of existing products that are related or similar. </li></ul><ul><li>Look for different exemplars that represent different types of products. </li></ul><ul><li>Taking viewpoint of the customer here. </li></ul><ul><li>May need separate decomposition for design. </li></ul><ul><li>Consider, for example, social networking space. </li></ul>Aristotle (384-322 BCE)
  29. 29. Yahoo
  30. 30. Facebook
  31. 31. Flickr
  32. 32. What Common? What Different? <ul><li>Can we make a list of attributes that separate the space? </li></ul><ul><li>Can use J. S. Mills methods or methods of modern data mining. </li></ul><ul><li>Attributes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mode of communication (email-IM-mobile-wall) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sense of community (ind-group-friends) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gate to community (edu filter-anybody) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What shared (text-docs-photos) </li></ul></ul>
  33. 33. Some Techniques with Attributes <ul><li>Dimensionalization of spaces very helpful to high-level thought. </li></ul><ul><li>Listen to discussions and try to dimensionalize quickly. </li></ul><ul><li>3 techniques that come to mind: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cartesian products </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expert systems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hypertrophy of the dimensions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Example, text-photos-docs: What about videos? </li></ul>
  34. 34. Hypertrophy  YouTube
  35. 35. Not What Philosophy is For? <ul><li>Interesting discussion at October meeting. </li></ul><ul><li>Engineers want to use philosophy as tool. </li></ul><ul><li>Philosophers: “Not what philosophy is for!!” </li></ul><ul><li>Hint: Everything is a tool to an engineer. </li></ul><ul><li>Engineers generally not this reflective. </li></ul><ul><li>Need to be now. </li></ul>
  36. 36. Bottom Line <ul><li>Why philosophy for engineering now? </li></ul><ul><li>Flat world forces driving creativity imperative. </li></ul><ul><li>Driving engineering thirst for philosophy (and other humanities & social sciences) now. </li></ul><ul><li>Examples from ancient and modern philosophy for engineering education and better engineering </li></ul><ul><li>Help resolve the “creative crisis” of our times. </li></ul><ul><li>Create new discipline of human-centered or postmodern systems engineering. </li></ul>
  37. 37. More Information <ul><li>MTV, the course. http://online.engr.uiuc.edu/webcourses/ge498tv/index.html </li></ul><ul><li>TEE, the book. http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0470007230.html </li></ul><ul><li>TEE, the blog. www.entrepreneurialengineer.blogspot.com </li></ul><ul><li>TEE, the course. http://online.engr.uiuc.edu/webcourses/ge498tee/index.html </li></ul><ul><li>Engineering and Technology Studies at Illinois (ETSI) http://www-illigal.ge.uiuc.edu/ETSI ). </li></ul><ul><li>Illinois Genetic Algorithms Lab http://www-illigal.ge.uiuc.edu/ </li></ul>

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