What can we know of computational inforgs?

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Presented by Federico Gobbo at the 5WPI, 27 March 2013, University of Hertfordshire, UK

Presented by Federico Gobbo at the 5WPI, 27 March 2013, University of Hertfordshire, UK

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  • 1. What can we know of computational inforgs? *F. Gobbo & M. Benini Univ. of L’Aquila & Leeds C CC BY: $ WPI5, Univ. of Hertfordshire, March 27-28, 20131 of 17
  • 2. Introduction
  • 3. What is computational information? ‘Information’ may be understood in many ways, e.g. as signals, natural patterns or nomic regularities, as instructions, as content, as news, as synonymous with data, as power, or as economic resource, and so forth [Floridi (2011), 226, our emphasis].We will consider only a special class: computational information,i.e., where information is part of a modern Von Neumann’s machine(VNM), being by far the most used computing machine model ever. 3 of 17
  • 4. Why computational inforgs matter The digital revolution, which began with the popularization of the personal computer around 1980, inaugurated an era in which people appear in consort on an extended network intermixed with other, non-human information processors, all “inforgs” to use Floridi’s term [Beavers (2011), 264, our emphasis].In our analysis, we address strictly inforgs with computationalinformation only, i.e., computational inforg (c-inforgs). 4 of 17
  • 5. How computational inforgs are madeEvery c-inforg requires to be programmed by an agent (Ag) bydefinition. Ags should be real computer programmers. In other words, conscious-less artificial Ags (robots) or biological Ags (zombies) are not possible. for details, see [Gobbo and Benini (2013b)]. 5 of 17
  • 6. The dual nature of computational informationAs underlined by the philosophers of Computer Science, programsappear to have a dual nature ([Turner (2013)]):1. source code, the textual nature, which is human-readable;2. object code, the binary nature, which is machine-readable;We apply the system-level-model-structure (SLMS) scheme within themethod of levels of abstraction (LoAs) in order to analyse c-inforgs. 6 of 17
  • 7. The SLMS scheme and the ontological commitments By accepting an LoA a theory commits itself to the existence of certain types of objects. . . constituting the LoA. . . while by endorsing the ensuing models the theory commits itself to the corresponding tokens [. . . ] The assumption is that there is no direct knowledge of the intrinsic nature of the entities. . . Once a theory has ontologically committed itself to the structural properties of the system, one is entitled to infer indirectly that, whatever the system and its components (i.e. the objects or relata) may in themselves, they must be such as to allow the theory to model at least some of their structural/relational properties. [Floridi (2011), 349, 351, our emphasis]7 of 17
  • 8. Knowledge within c-inforgs
  • 9. Open vs. closed c-inforgsA crucial distinction emerge from a property of the VNM-counterpart: either source code of the c-inforg is open, i.e., it can be inspected and modified by the Ag; or conversely it is closed – and hence the Ag can be a (power) end-user but not a programmer. Now, we are going to apply the SLMS scheme in both cases. 9 of 17
  • 10. Remind of the SLMS scheme analysed at System LoA attributed to generates Structure Model identifies Figure : The SLMS scheme, adapted from [Floridi (2011), 349]10 of 17
  • 11. Open c-inforg: a possible LoE of a programmer information analysed at abstract technology machine attributed to generates design source code identifies patterns Figure : The SLMS scheme applied to a programmer at work11 of 17
  • 12. Closed c-inforg: an example of LoE for an end-user analysed at desktop black box application attributed to generates WYSIWYG users’ best menus & identifies practices windows Figure : The SLMS scheme applied to a ‘classic’ desktop application use12 of 17
  • 13. Reflections on open vs. closed c-inforgsThe possible analyses of open c-inforgs can be more fine-grained thanthe one on closed c-inforgs. In particular: from Software Engineering, direct metrics (i.e., they do not depend on any other attribute, see IEEE Standard 1016) can be applied to open c-inforgs straightforwardly, being purely quantitative; the analyses on closed c-inforgs cannot be purely quantitative, and therefore they use indirect metrics, which are more qualitative-oriented. See the presentation by Marco Benini (here!) for details.13 of 17
  • 14. Future directions of workWe aim to apply the SLMS scheme of the method of LoAs to comparequantitative and qualitative properties of inforgs. Sketched ideas:1. Let’s take the inforg user-of-Facebook as a closed c-inforg;The description of the Ag Bob, who is keen to access his Facebookaccount with his laptop, is an exercise left to the reader.14 of 17
  • 15. Future directions of workWe aim to apply the SLMS scheme of the method of LoAs to comparequantitative and qualitative properties of inforgs. Sketched ideas:1. Let’s take the inforg user-of-Facebook as a closed c-inforg;2. Alice (Ag) prefers to access her Facebook account with her smartphone; then:The description of the Ag Bob, who is keen to access his Facebookaccount with his laptop, is an exercise left to the reader.14 of 17
  • 16. Future directions of workWe aim to apply the SLMS scheme of the method of LoAs to comparequantitative and qualitative properties of inforgs. Sketched ideas:1. Let’s take the inforg user-of-Facebook as a closed c-inforg;2. Alice (Ag) prefers to access her Facebook account with her smartphone; then: LoE: she loves to share photos more than blogging;The description of the Ag Bob, who is keen to access his Facebookaccount with his laptop, is an exercise left to the reader.14 of 17
  • 17. Future directions of workWe aim to apply the SLMS scheme of the method of LoAs to comparequantitative and qualitative properties of inforgs. Sketched ideas:1. Let’s take the inforg user-of-Facebook as a closed c-inforg;2. Alice (Ag) prefers to access her Facebook account with her smartphone; then: LoE: she loves to share photos more than blogging; LoA: there is a different graphic end-user’s interface;The description of the Ag Bob, who is keen to access his Facebookaccount with his laptop, is an exercise left to the reader.14 of 17
  • 18. Future directions of workWe aim to apply the SLMS scheme of the method of LoAs to comparequantitative and qualitative properties of inforgs. Sketched ideas:1. Let’s take the inforg user-of-Facebook as a closed c-inforg;2. Alice (Ag) prefers to access her Facebook account with her smartphone; then: LoE: she loves to share photos more than blogging; LoA: there is a different graphic end-user’s interface; LoO: the combination mobile operating system + app allows her to perform a definite set of actions and not others;The description of the Ag Bob, who is keen to access his Facebookaccount with his laptop, is an exercise left to the reader.14 of 17
  • 19. An advice for ourselves...The working philosopher of information cannot avoid the continuous interplay betweenquantitative and qualitative points of views of information15 of 17
  • 20. References Beavers, Anthony F. (2011), “Historicizing Floridi: The Question of Method, the State of the Profession, and the Timeliness of Floridi’s Philosophy of Information,” in Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics, XIII, 2, 225–275. Turner, R. (2013), “Programming Languages as Technical Artifacts,” in Philos. Technol., feb, 1–21. Floridi, L. (2011), The Philosophy of Information, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Gobbo, F. and Benini, M. (2013b), “Why zombies can’t write significant source code,” Journal of Experimental & Theoretical Artificial Intelligence, forthcoming. Gobbo, F. and Benini, M. (2013a), “From Ancient to Modern Computing: A History of Information Hiding,” in IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, 4 Feb. IEEE computer Society Digital Library. IEEE Computer Society. DOI: 10.1109/MAHC.2013.116 of 17
  • 21. Thanks for your attention! Questions? For proposals, ideas & comments: federico.gobbo@univaq.it & marco.benini@uninsubria.it Download & share these slides here: http://slidesha.re/14rFzQE C CC BY: $ Federico Gobbo & Marco Benini 2013 17 of 17