Towards a better understanding of Social Machines


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My talk for RPI Cognitive Department, March 31st, 2010

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Towards a better understanding of Social Machines

  1. 1. Towards a better understanding of Social Machines Alvaro Graves
  2. 2. Outline <ul><li>Part 1: Cognitive processes involve (sometimes) the use of the Web </li></ul><ul><li>Part 2: The Web can (sometimes) be enhanced by the human mind </li></ul><ul><li>Part 3: Our current initiatives to study this interaction </li></ul>
  3. 3. <part1> <!-- The Web in Cognition -->
  4. 4. Cognition is not only in the mind <ul><li>The Extended Mind (Clark & Chalmers, 1998) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ ... beliefs can be constituted partly by features of the environment” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Otto's notebook </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Organism-Centered Cognition (Clark, 2007) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cognitive process extended to the environment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>However, centered in the organism </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Cognition and the Web <ul><li>Cognitive Extension and the Web. ( Smart et al., 2009) </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Otto's Web-based notebook? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>“ Wikipedia is down, I'm ignorant again ” </li></ul><ul><li>A. Cadiz, 2010 </li></ul>
  6. 6. Conditions for Cognition <ul><li>If Web is part of Cognition, several conditions must be fulfilled: </li></ul><ul><li>Availability (reliable and invoked frequently) </li></ul><ul><li>Trust (information as trustworthy as bio-memory) </li></ul><ul><li>Accessibility (can obtain information efficiently) </li></ul><ul><li>Conscious endorsement (information endorsed in the past) </li></ul>
  7. 7. Availability criterion <ul><li>More and more people take action after consulting the Web </li></ul><ul><li>Increased ubiquity of the Web </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Laptops </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cellphones </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Game consoles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>TV </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Refrigerators </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Trust criterion <ul><li>Google Maps? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Grocery shops in Troy, NY. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>GMaps shows me how to get there </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Medical information from PubMed? </li></ul>
  9. 9. Accessibility criterion <ul><li>“ Wristwatch example ” (Clark, 2003) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do you know what time is it? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Information doesn't need to be consciously known </li></ul><ul><li>However is important to being able to (efficiently) access it. </li></ul><ul><li>Access Wikipedia? </li></ul>
  10. 10. Conscious endorsement <ul><li>A weak criterion (Clark, 2008) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What about implicit knowledge? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>User-provided content </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Revisiting articles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>My Weblog </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Conclusions part 1 <ul><li>Can be part of cognitive processes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not all the Web </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not all the time </li></ul></ul><ul><li>However it seems this is becoming more and more part of it. </li></ul>
  12. 12. </part1>
  13. 13. <part2> <!-- Cognition in the Web -->
  14. 14. Motivation <ul><li>Lots of human computational power </li></ul><ul><li>9 billion human-hours of solitaire were played in 2003 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Empire state building, 7 million human-hours (6.8 hours of Solitare) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Panama canal, 20 million human-hours (less than a day of Solitare) </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Social Machines <ul><li>Social Machines are mechanisms where: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Humans do the creative work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Machines do the administrative work </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. What are we good at? Humans Computers Discover patterns Good Bad Creative thinking Good Bad Information Management Bad Good Data communication Bad Good
  17. 17. Types of Social Machines <ul><li>There is a range of mechanisms available, but we can classify them in two groups (Haythornthwaite, 2009) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Heavyweight </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lightweight </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Heavyweight <ul><li>Smaller audience, long-term commitment, democratic/meritocratic </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wikipedia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>F/OSS projects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>W3C Working groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fansub groups </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Lightweight <ul><li>Bigger audience, short-term commitment, non-democratic </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li> ( </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ReCaptcha ( </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>GalaxyZoo ( </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Conclusions part 2 <ul><li>Different types of Social Machines </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Heavyweight </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lightweight </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Human cognition is key in these Social Machines </li></ul>
  21. 21. </part2>
  22. 22. <part3> <!-- How to study SM -->
  23. 23. How to study this phenomenon? <ul><li>Limitations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Access to information (logs, database) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Privacy concerns </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Solution </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Create framework for Social Machines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Incentives are important </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Motivation 1: Public Safety <ul><li>Interest for individuals, policy makers, law-enforcers </li></ul><ul><li>Provide “official” information (TroyPD, RPI public safety) </li></ul><ul><li>Also allow users to include relevant information </li></ul><ul><li>Enable establishing trust relations between users and belief on data </li></ul>
  25. 25.
  26. 26. Next steps <ul><li>Annotation on events </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to put ANYTHING with geolocation </li></ul><ul><li>Connect with well-known social networks (Facebook, MySpace, etc...) </li></ul>
  27. 27. Motivation 2: Geoannotation <ul><li>User can mark areas (polygons) in a map (Sage bldg., my office, home, etc...) </li></ul><ul><li>Allow users to operate and search over these polygons </li></ul><ul><li>“ Give me all chinese restaurant that delivers to my place” </li></ul>
  28. 28. Conclusions part 3 <ul><li>Don't compete with Google </li></ul><ul><li>Opening data so others can use it for their own applications </li></ul><ul><li>But most important: A Framework where we can study Social Machines </li></ul>
  29. 29. </part3>
  30. 30. <conclusions>
  31. 31. Conclusions <ul><li>Cognition is (sometimes) related to the Web </li></ul><ul><li>Web2.0 has made available incipient Social Machines </li></ul><ul><li>What can we do with Web3.0 technologies? </li></ul><ul><li>How to improve trust, collaboration, privacy, efficiency in this and new SM's? </li></ul>
  32. 32. </conclusions> <questions/>
  33. 33. <references/> <ul><li>Clark and Chalmers. The extended mind. Analysis (1998) vol. 58 (1) pp. 7-19 </li></ul><ul><li>Clark. Curing cognitive hiccups: A defense of the extended mind . (2007) </li></ul><ul><li>Smart et al. Cognitive Extension and the Web . (2009) </li></ul><ul><li>Clark. Natural-born cyborgs: Minds, technologies, and the future of human intelligence . (2003) </li></ul><ul><li>Clark. Supersizing the mind: embodiment, action, and cognitive extension , 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Hendler and Berners-Lee. From the Semantic Web to social machines: A research challenge for AI on the World Wide Web . Artificial Intelligence (2010) vol. 174 (2) pp. 156-161 </li></ul>