Fiorella De Cindio isdt2010

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Fiorella De Cindio isdt2010

  1. 1. Scuola di Dottorato in Informatica Curriculum Process and Interactive System Design Web Science: the empirical side of Informatics Fiorella.deCindio@unimi.it Dipartimento di Informatica e Comunicazione Mike: Community Informatics Fiorella: Community Informatics Fiorella De Cindio, ISDT 2010 1 Gary’s question/suggestion for my talk Digital Media change the world Digital Media are developed by (or with the support of) computer professionals Computer professionals are educated in computer science departments (as mine), where:  weak awareness of the impact of ICT over society  missed opportunities and wasted intelligence 1994: the Civic Informatics Laboratory the Milan Community Network the academic side the activist side theory practice a fundamental, continuous interplay Fiorella De Cindio, ISDT 2010 2
  2. 2. Gary’s question/suggestion for my talk what computer scientists can do to help the people we are discussing in other ISDT talks ?  to develop digital systems for supporting people needs → how to involve these people in the development of such tools & systems (participatory design) ? → the nature of computer science Fiorella De Cindio, ISDT 2010 3 Why new tools ? There are so many tools around ! Fiorella De Cindio, ISDT 2010 4
  3. 3. Software systems for enabling&supporting…  civic engagement  e-participation  online deliberation  citizens&community empowerment and reconstruction  citizens’ consultations  ……… Social Interactive Systems or Digital Habitat (socio-technical) systems not only (software) tools ! Fiorella De Cindio, ISDT 2010 5 A frequent mistake both public institutions and grassroots movements, when realize the need of setting up a Social InteractiveSystems: place side by side a collage of some popular web-based applications/modules:  some discussion boards  a blog area  polls  some social network features conceived and designed for different purposes and for a different audience Fiorella De Cindio, ISDT 2010 6
  4. 4. Be careful ! When designing Social Interactive Systems technology is not the first and main issue, but anyhow relevant: “Good technology in itself will not a community make, but bad technology can sure make community life difficult enough to ruin it.” Etienne Wenger, N. White, J.D. Smith, K. Rowe, 2005 Technology for communities http://technologyforcommunities.com/ Fiorella De Cindio, ISDT 2010 7 A good example: Facebook US college students → ordinary people organized through page(s) The Viola movement has difficulties to survive and evolve:  a chat does not support the rise of a democratic organization  the rules are eso-defined Fiorella De Cindio, ISDT 2010 8
  5. 5. An example of the features “we” need effective public dialog has to be:  rational: I don’t attach you, but I explain why I do not agree with you, possibly with the support of factual data (documents, video, photos, ….)  interactive: when I say something, I take into account what has already been said  responsible: people should ‘put their face’, while allowing different levels of engagement (styles of citizenship)  fair: according to some rules (a “Galateo”) The technology should support/embed this as much as possible Fiorella De Cindio, ISDT 2010 9 An example of a tool with facilities for productive public dialogue Fiorella De Cindio, ISDT 2010 10
  6. 6. How to develop these tools ? 1983 IFIP Conf. on System Design for, with, and by the Users for: the socio-technical approach: collect users’ needs with: Participatory Design (PD): involve users “it is imperative that users be considered as experts” by: a vision and a research project Difficulties:  PD is demanding in terms of resources (time and money)  even more difficult now: from custom systems to web applications  users are often conservative (Von Hippel identifies “lead users” and “innovation communities”) Fiorella De Cindio, ISDT 2010 11 Several approaches An incomplete list: The HCI (Human-Computer Interaction) community  End-User Development (EUD): users as designers  system designers as meta-designers (meta-design)  the SER model Seeding Evolutionay Growth Reseeding The Software Engineering and programming community  Manifesto for Agile Software Development The market need  “Always in beta” practice Fiorella De Cindio, ISDT 2010 12
  7. 7. Moving Beyond User Participation to Achieve Successful IS Design Erica Wagner & Gabriele Piccoli CACM, Dec. 2007, vol.50, no.12  users are busy → people is engaged in activities relevant to their life  sw development projects become salient to users when the output affect their daily lives and requires them to change their (work) practice  what seems crucial is the point in time when users are involved [...] earlier is not necessarily better consequence:  people feel concerned when the system is running in their real life setting Fiorella De Cindio, ISDT 2010 13 the Milan Community network 10 years of people’ use early idea of a new software the model (& testing of existing tools) first implementation ComunaliMilano2006.it >400 candidates 22 members of the City a first ‘experiment’ in a real life setting Council (Milan Municipal elections) >2000 registered citizens Jan.2007: partecipaMi.it new implementation >400,000 access/month e21 project a second large ‘experiment’ in brescia.progettoe21.it 10 Municipalities in the Lombardy region vigevano.progettoe21.it …………… openDCN first release (2008) tuning & extensions sicurezzastradale.partecipami.it e-soccer.org further ‘experiments’ in different settings …………. Fiorella De Cindio, ISDT 2010 14
  8. 8. Communications of the ACM, July 2008, vol. 51, no. 7 Fiorella De Cindio, ISDT 2010 15 Web Science J.Handler, N.Shadbolt, W.Hall, T.Berners-Lee, D.Weitzner our everyday use of the Web depends on fundamental developments in Computer Science (CS) that took place long before the Web was invented  protocols  search algorithms (ex. Brin&Page PageRank algorithm) based on graphs But CS does not suffices to explain relevant web “phenomena” Fiorella De Cindio, ISDT 2010 16
  9. 9. two examples If we study the Web as a graph, or as a set of protocols:  we cannot explain the success of Wikipedia, developed with MediaWiki, vs the failure of several sites/iniziatiaves based on the same tool  “the protocols used by social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook have much in common, but the success or failure of the sites hunges on the rules, policies, and user communities they support.” “Understanding the web requires more than ….” Computer Science Fiorella De Cindio, ISDT 2010 17 Web as Social Machine Today’s interactive [web] applications are very early social machines. [...] An important aspect of research exploring the influence of the Web on society involves online societies using Web infrastructure to support dynamic human interaction. This work — seen in trout.cpsr.org [*] and other such efforts — explores how the Web can encourage more human engagement in the political sphere. Combining it with the emerging study of the Web and the coevolution of technology and social needs is an important focus of designing the future Web. [now hosted at www.publicsphereproject.org] a project led by Doug Schuler Fiorella De Cindio, ISDT 2010 18
  10. 10. Web Science Physical Science: an analytic discipline to find laws that explain observed phenomena Computer Science is predominantly synthetic: formalism and algorithms are created to support desired behaviours Web Science deliberately seeks to merge these two paradigms. Fiorella De Cindio, ISDT 2010 19 Sept. 1986: IPIF 10th IFIP World Computer Congress Kristen Nygaard the inventor, with O.-J. Dahl of Simula 67, the first object-oriented programming language Opening lecture: Program Development as a Social activity “The term computer science should be replaced by informatics “ → → “a formal discipline “an [empirical] science” akin to which studies mathematics” “selected aspects of specified classes of phenomena” Fiorella De Cindio, ISDT 2010 20
  11. 11. Aspects of Sciences 1. Phenomenology: the empirical study of phenomena (any fact, circumstance, or experience that is apparent to the sense): their identification, observed behaviours, and properties ex.: Tycho Brahe in astronomy, Linneo in botany 2. Analysis: comprehension and explanation of phenomena in terms of an underlying theory properties, concepts, relations,..... anticipation of behaviour ex.: Newton in astronomy, Darwin in botany 3. Synthesis, construction, technology: knowledge organized for the purpose of interferring with, constructing and generating phenomena ex.: the experiments at CERN (Genève) in physics 4. Multiperspective reflection: the examination of concepts and phenomena from the perspective of more than one science (or more than one perspective within the same science) Fiorella De Cindio, ISDT 2010 21 Natural Sciences vs Informatics 1. Phenomenology: the empirical study of phenomena (any fact, circumstance, or experience that is apparent to the sense): their identification, observed behaviours, and properties ex.: Tycho Brahe in astronomy, Linneo in botany 2. Analysis: comprehension and explanation of phenomena in terms of an underlying theory properties, concepts, relations,..... anticipation of behaviour ex.: Newton in astronomy, Darwin in botany 3. Synthesis, construction, technology: knowledge organized for the purpose of interferring with, constructing and generating phenomena ex.: the experiments at CERN (Ginevra) in physics 4. Multiperspective reflection: the examination of concepts and phenomena from the perspective of more than one science (or more than one perspective within the same science) Fiorella De Cindio, ISDT 2010 22
  12. 12. Informatics  Develops from the invention of a technology: the programmable computer (3)  The analytic roots of the discipline (computer science) based in the second half of the ‘50 and established in the ‘60 (2)  First efforts for a multidisciplinary perspective in the ‘70 (4)  Nygaard and the Scandinavian Trade Unions projects  Xerox PARC: the Dynabook project (anthropologists, ethnographers, cognitive psychologists,...) leads to GUI (Graphical User Interfaces) and Smalltalk Which is the phenomenology (1)? Fiorella De Cindio, ISDT 2010 23 The phenomenology The anomalous path (3 → 2 → 4 → 1) led to a wrong identification of the class of phenomena: not the computer in itself, but the impact of computer on society are integral part of the discipline Nygaard: “ informatics needs in a number of areas a proper and wider empirical platform (1) “ Now: the Web is the empirical platform → Web Science Fiorella De Cindio, ISDT 2010 24
  13. 13. Real-life social interactive systems as “experiments” e-participation/ theoretical online deliberation framework theory (the model) Design of a specific specific system e-participation system requirements “traditional” PD (experiment design) Development of a specific specific system e-participation system development agile programming (experiment preparation) experiment data gathering specific system running specific system in a real life setting release and use (running experiment) Fiorella De Cindio, ISDT 2010 25 Fiorella De Cindio, ISDT 2010 26
  14. 14. Research challenges for designing the future Web “technology [is] needed to allow user communities to construct, share, and adapt social machines so successful models evolve through trial, use, and refinement” Scientific trials based on a theory, to validate it not practical attempts Fiorella De Cindio, ISDT 2010 27 Conclusion (back to the initial question) what computer scientists can do to help the people we are discussing in other ISDT talks ?  to develop software tools for supporting people needs Requires to → recognize the empirical nature of “their” science → recognize the impact of computers on society as an integral part of the discipline → develop theories to support the develpoments A revolution ! necessary for Liberating intelligences Fiorella De Cindio, ISDT 2010 28

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