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Engineering Artifacts


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Lecture 3 of the course Understanding Engineers by David E. Goldberg reviews the history and ontology of engineered artifacts. The course is taught in Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois to masters students in human resources.

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Engineering Artifacts

  1. 1. Engineering ArtifactsLER 590 - UE Week 3: Their History & Ontology<br />David E. GoldbergIESE, IFoundry, and School of Labor and Employment RelationsUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbana, Illinois 61801<br />
  2. 2. Roadmap<br />Part I: Some snippets of tech history:<br />From flakes to microprocessors.<br />The Wright Brothers & aviation history.<br />ENIAC and computer history.<br />An aside on the slide rule.<br />Implications for HR?<br />Part II: A slice of tech ontology:<br />What is nature of existence of engineered artifact?<br />Searles’sConstruction of Social Reality.<br />Implications for engineered objects.<br />Implications for HR?<br />
  3. 3. Tech Histories Begin 6000-1000 Years ago<br />Let’s start 2.5mya.<br />Homo habilis: First tool maker, 4’-3” tall, 88 pounds, bipedal hominid.<br />Lived on open savanna (Lake Turkana)<br />Social.<br />Made and used stone flakes.<br />
  4. 4. Oldowan Tools<br />First discovered by Louis Leakey.<br />Used 2.5mya to 0.5 mya.<br />Know they were used by scavengers.<br />Scrape carcass clean of meat following kill by another animal.<br />
  5. 5. Homo Ergaster<br />Better tools around 1.6-1.7 mya.<br />Hand axes and cleaving tools with sharp edges.<br />Butchering of large animals. <br />Tamed fire.<br />
  6. 6. Neanderthals<br />100kya ago.<br />Stone cores made, then shaped.<br />First composite tools with several parts.<br />Spear points on wooden shafts.<br />Controversy surrounding toolkits.<br />
  7. 7. Cro-Magnon Comes to Town<br />Homo sapiens leaves Africa 100kya.<br />Cro-Magnon 45kya.<br />Blade technology SW Asia.<br />Art in Europe.<br />Antler & bone eyed needles 25kya.<br />
  8. 8. The First IT<br />31 to 24kya.<br />Grotte de Chauvet in Southeastern France.<br />Believed to be work of Shamans.<br />Intermediaries between living and spiritual world.<br />
  9. 9. Agriculture Begins 10,000 BC<br />About 10k BC agriculture began in the Levantine corridor (Damascus to lower Jordan Value to Euphrates River Valley).<br />Domesticated grasses and animals.<br />Effect on technology:<br />Had been light and portable.<br />Now storage (vessels) important.<br />Trade starts 8kya.<br />Spread of agriculture: Turkey 8.5k BC, Greece & SE Europe (7k BC), Rice S China (7k BC), across Europe (5.5k-3.5k BC).<br />
  10. 10. Chronology of Early Technology<br />6000 BC: Copper artifacts are common in the Middle East. <br />4000 BC: Light wooden plows are used in Mesopotamia. <br />3500 BC: Kiln-fired bricks and pots are made in Mesopotamia. <br />3500 BC: Irrigation is developed in Mesopotamia. <br />3200 BC: Wheeled vehicles are used in Uruk. <br />3000 BC: Square-sailed ships used in Egypt. <br />2800 BC: Pyramids are built in Egypt. <br />2500 BC: Bronze is developed in Mesopotamia. <br />1400 BC: Iron working is developed in the Middle East. <br />Great Pyramid of Giza, 2560 BC<br /><br />
  11. 11. More Recent Technology<br />600: Windmills used in Iran. <br />850: Triangular sails used in the Mediterranean. <br />1000: Waterwheels are widespread in Europe. <br />1040: Gunpowder in China. <br />1327: Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal is completed. <br />Water wheel at Hama (900 years in use)<br />
  12. 12. Modern Technology<br />1769: James Watt develops an improved condenser for the steam engine. <br />1837: W. Cooke and C. Wheatstone develop the first electric telegraph. <br />1860: J.J.E. Lenoir develops the first internal combustion engine. <br />1876: Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone. <br />1879: Thomas Edison develops the carbon filament lightbulb. <br />1883: H.S. Maxim invents the machine gun. <br />1888: Nikola Tesla invents the induction electrical motor. <br />1899: Guglielmo Marconi sends the first radio signal across the English Channel. <br />1903: Orville and Wilbur Wright make the first powered flight. <br />1923: Vladimir Zworykin invents the electronic camera tube. <br />1947: Bardeen, Brattan and Shockley invent the transistor. <br />1957: Sputnik is launched. <br />1969: Edward Hoff and Intel Corp. develop the microprocessor. <br />Guglielmo Marconi (1837-1937)<br />
  13. 13. Early Names in Engineering History<br />Imhotep, 2650-2600BC, Egyptian engineer, architect, physician. First use of columns? Papyrus?<br />Archimedes, 287-212BC, Greek inventor-engineer, scientist-mathematician. Explained hydrostatics, lever. Invented screw pump, military machines. <br />
  14. 14. Vitruvius: First Known Engineer?<br />Lived between about 80-70 BC to 15 BC. <br />De architectura is about more than architecture.<br />Books VIII, IX & X on Roman technology.<br />Describes military machines, aqueducts, materials, dewatering machines, surveying instruments, and central heating.<br />
  15. 15. Roman Technology<br />Aquaduct at Pont du Gard<br />
  16. 16. Airplanes: The Wright Brothers<br />Wright brothers: Wilbur & Orville.<br />1899-1903: 4 years to invent.<br />Systematic method leading to most famous moment in aviation history.<br />First Flight: December 17, 1903<br />
  17. 17. How Does an Airplane Fly?<br />Three things have to happen.<br />What are they?<br />Take out a piece of paper.<br />
  18. 18. Brief Timeline of Aviation History<br />500 BC Kites in China<br />200 BC Kongming lantern (hot air balloon).<br />852 ArmenKirmin uses oversized cloark as parachute in Spain.<br />1783 Ballooning takes off (Montgolfier & others). <br />1794 Airship company established in French army<br />1799 Sir George Cayley’s glider sketch with rudder & elevator.<br />1849 10-year old flies in Cayley glider.<br />1889 Lilenthal measurement on wings.<br />1903 Wright brothers<br />
  19. 19. Timeline of Modern Aviation<br />1910 Coanda-1910 jet<br />1919 Goddard published theories of rocket flight.<br />1942 V2 rocket<br />1947 Chuck Yeager in X-1 breaks sound barrier<br />1952 de Havilland Comet is first commercial jet liner.<br />1957 First artificial satellite Sputnik. <br />1958 Boeing 707 introduced.<br />1969 Apollo 11 lunar landing.<br />
  20. 20. ENIAC: Electronic Numerical Integrator & Computer<br />July 1946<br />First programmable electronic digital computer.<br />Directed by Mauckley & Eckert at U. Pennsylvania.<br />Programmed by cables.<br />Turing complete.<br />Add-subtract 5000/s<br />Memory ~80 bytes.<br />30 tons & 18,000 vacuum tubes.<br />ENIAC with Arthur Burks at table<br />
  21. 21. Timeline of Computer History<br />22kya Ishango bone.<br />1613 word “computer” means person who computes.<br />2700-2300 BC - Mesopotamian abacus as table of sexagesimal numbers.<br />300 BC - Greek abacus as counting table<br />3nd century BC – Chinese abacus.<br />1206 – programmable astronomical clock by Al-Jazari<br />1614 - John Napier publishes work on logarithms to do multiplication by addition.<br />1622 - Invention of the sliderule by William Oughtred.<br />
  22. 22. Aside on the Sliderule<br />Principle: log XY = log X + log Y.<br />Once was key symbol of being an engineer.<br />Virtual sliderule gallery.<br />Multiple 2 by 4, put 2 on C scale and 4 on D scale & read off product.<br />
  23. 23. More History<br />1623 - Wilhelm Schickhard calculating clock.<br />1820 – Arithmometer by Charles Xavier Thomas.<br />1801 Jacquard loom controlled by punch cards.<br />1876 - Analog computer differential analyzer<br />1880s - Herman Hollerith punch cards for computation.<br />1936 Turing publishes paper on universal computing machine. <br />1938 Zuse Z-1 electromechanincal computer.<br />1939 – Atanasoff-Berry computer first electronic digiital computer<br />1951 – Univac I<br />1952 – IBM 701 <br />1957 – Fortran <br />1958, 1959 – Integrated circuit invented Noyce & Kilby.<br />1971 – Microprocessor, Intel 4004.<br />KonradZuse with 1941 Z-3<br />
  24. 24. Human Resources and History<br />Should an HR person care about tech history?<br />Are there ways in which knowing some tech history can help be better at HR?<br />Get into groups: Make a list of possible ways being historically literate can help you be better at your jobs.<br />
  25. 25. History as Helpful<br />H as credibility w/ buffs.<br />H as affinity.<br />H as cultural understanding.<br />H as database for reasoning & analogy.<br />H as institutional understanding. <br />H as training possibility.<br />H as understanding of how technology evolves.<br />
  26. 26. A Philosophical Approach to Artifacts<br />Brute versus institutional facts.<br />What’s Searle got to do with it?<br />Some preliminaries: truth, existence & knowledge.<br />The role of intentionality & language.<br />The building blocks of social reality.<br />Institutional complexity in the real world.<br />Lessons for tech vision.<br />Institutional/physical ratio.<br />
  27. 27. Brute vs. Institutional Facts<br />There are objects in the world that don’t depend on observers, brute facts, e.g. mountains, trees, atoms.<br />There are other objects that depend entirely on people and their interactions, institutional facts, money, chess, football. <br />Engineers study a lot about physical world and world of brute facts.<br />Much design about getting brute facts right, e.g. a screwdriver.<br />Are engineered objects mere brute facts?<br />Screwdriver<br />
  28. 28. What’s Searle Got to Do With It?<br />Mill Prof of Philosophy of Berkeley.<br />Philosopher of language and mind.<br />Early work took off from Austin’s work on speech acts. <br />What does language have to do with it?<br />His book, The Construction of Social Reality (Free Press, 1995), critical to our study.<br />Helps us understand social and institutional facts, separate physics from the social. <br />John R. Searle (b. 1932)<br />
  29. 29. Engineers & the Enlightenment<br />Enlightenment vision:<br />Universe completely intelligible.<br />Humans capable of systematic understanding.<br />Loss of faith in vision:<br />First world war<br />Relativity theory<br />Set theoretic paradoxes<br />Freudian psychology<br />Godel’s incompleteness theorem<br />Quantum uncertainty<br />Kuhn & Feyerabend<br />Wittgenstein: discourse a series of language games<br />Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727)<br />
  30. 30. Defense of the Enlightenment Vision<br />Relativity: Not a refutation of traditional physics; merely an extension.<br />Set & semantic theoretic paradoxes: Just a series of errors we can make if not careful.<br />Freud: No longer accepted.<br />Gödel: Actually supports separation of ontology (what exists) from epistemology (how we know).<br />Quantum: Some interpretations a real challenge. Conventional view just accept indeterminacy of macro-micro relations.<br />Cultural relativity: Proves that cultures can be interpreted in common human framework.<br />
  31. 31. Default Positions<br />There is a real world that exists independently of our experiences, thoughts & language.<br />We have direct perceptual access to that world through our senses<br />Words have reasonably clear meanings & can be used to talk about real objects in the world.<br />Statements true and false depending upon their correspondence to facts in the world.<br />Causation is a real relation.<br />
  32. 32. Epistemology versus Ontology<br />Epistemology: The study of knowledge.<br />Ontology: The study of what exists.<br />Our ontology:<br />Live in world of physical particles in fields of force.<br />Some of these living systems with consciousness evolved.<br />These systems are intentional: Think and act toward other objects.<br />
  33. 33. A Word about Intentionality<br />“Intentionality” is used by philosophers to indicate directedness toward objects in the world.<br />Word “intend” is intentional, but not all intentionality is intending.<br />Intentionality and consciousness are linked.<br />There is someone home.<br />
  34. 34. Objectivity versus Subjectivity<br />Have existence versus knowing, as well as objective versus subjective.<br />Examples:<br />Mountain: existence  objective<br />Pain in toe: existence  subjective<br />Pain in toe: knowledge  objective<br />Ontological subjectivity does not prevent epistemological objectivity.<br />
  35. 35. Intrinsic versus Observer-Relative<br />Intrinsic feature: Something that exists independent of observer (observer independent).<br />Example: A mountain.<br />Observer-relative feature: Something exists only relative to an observer.<br />Example: A screwdriver. <br />Physical existence is intrinsic.<br />Screwdriverness is observer-relative.<br />Engineered objects are at least partially observer-relative.<br />Fujiyama<br />
  36. 36. The Background<br />Need to know a lot to function in everyday world.<br />Part of background common to all cultures: deep background.<br />Part varies: local structure.<br />Rationality as part of the background.<br />
  37. 37. How Language Works<br />Speech acts: Many different types.<br />Can describe, promise, command, etc.<br />Austin defined “illocutionary act:”<br />Speaker says something.<br />Means something by it.<br />Tries to communicate what he means to hearer.<br />Distinction between propositional content and force or type of the speech act.<br />Examples:<br />Please leave the room.<br />Will you leave the room?<br />You will leave the room.<br />J. L. Austin (1911-1960)<br />
  38. 38. The Illocutionary 5<br />Speech acts have 5 illocutionary points or types:<br />Assertive: commit to the truth.<br />Directive: direct hearer to do something.<br />Commissive: speaker promises to do something.<br />Expressive: speaker expresses opinion about state of the world.<br />Declarations: speaker creates something with utterance.<br />
  39. 39. Structure of Social Universe<br />Mind creates an objective social reality.<br />Example, money:<br />Trivial physics: money not money because of material existence.<br />Money, money because of our intentions.<br />Other examples: language, government, universities.<br />Object fits description because we think it does.<br />What is ontology of the social and the institutional?<br />
  40. 40. Building Blocks of Social Reality<br />Need 3 new elements: <br />Collective intentionality.<br />Assignment of function.<br />Constitutive rules.<br />
  41. 41. Collective Intentionality<br />Need the notion of “we intend together.”<br />Attempts to reduce to individual intention are complex.<br />Existence of biological organisms with collective intentionality suggests CI is a primitive.<br />Social insects as an example: ants or termites for example.<br />
  42. 42. Social vs. Institutional Facts<br />Social fact is any fact involving 2 or more agents w/ collective intentionality.<br />In Searle’s terms, ants create social facts.<br />Institutional facts go far beyond social facts as we shall soon see.<br />Australian ant hill<br />
  43. 43. Assignment of Function<br />Use of objects as tools:<br />Monkey uses stick to get banana.<br />Man sits on rock.<br />Physical existence facilitates function, but function is observer relative.<br />All function assignment is observer relative.<br />Aside: What does this say about engineering design?<br />
  44. 44. Constitutive Rules<br />How to distinguish between brute facts and institutional facts.<br />Types of rules:<br />Some rules regulate: “Drive on right side of road.”<br />Some rules regulate and constitute: Rules of chess both regulate conduct of game and create it.<br />Constitutive rules form: X counts as Y in C.<br />“Move two and over one” counts as a knight’s move in chess.”<br />
  45. 45. Complexity & Institutional Facts<br />Searle’s strong thesis: All institutional reality explained by 3 things:<br />Collective intentionality.<br />Assigned function  wall keeps people out physically, but low fence or boundary marker keeps people out by convention.<br />Constitutive rules.<br />Institutional facts can be iterated, interlocked, and codified.<br />Iterated: Marriage requires a presiding official (judge or cleric).<br />Interlocked: Property, courts, markets.<br />Codification: Can be codified In rules & laws.<br />Searle’s café scene: Order a beer in Paris café by sitting in a chair at a table, asking in French for particular brand, from a waiter (none of the terms important physically).<br />
  46. 46. Web Example: Institutional Complexity<br />Go on Google, search for online book seller, sign in to using account ID, order a book, using a credit card, get recommendations from recommender system & order some of those books, too.<br />Get confirmation message via e-mail account, and books delivered by FedEx.<br />
  47. 47. 4 Types of Status Function<br />Symbolic: “Es regnet” counts as sentence in German.<br />Deontic: Imposes rights and obligation (Tom is a professional engineer.).<br />Honor: Status for its own sake. (Bardeen won the Nobel Prize twice).<br />Procedural steps: Assignment of status can be broken down (petitions, primaries, convention, campaigning, voting, electoral college, to become President of US).<br />
  48. 48. Institutional Facts Don’t Wear Out<br />They get better with use.<br />Use reinforces collective intentionality.<br />Types of Institutional fact creation:<br />Emergence: early examples, money, marriage, property, emerged.<br />Designed: TCP/IP, Google, Ebay, other web companies are designed and go viral with widespread adoption..<br />
  49. 49. Lessons for Tech Vision<br />All engineering artifacts are social facts.<br />Some engineering artifacts are institutional facts. <br />Traditional engineering disciplines have low institutional/physical ratio.<br />Computer science and web IT artifacts have a high institutional/physical ratio.<br />Mapping the institutional-physical landscape.<br />Design principles for institutional artifacts.<br />
  50. 50. All Engineering Artifacts Social<br />Minimal circumstances:<br />Designer<br />User<br />Object<br />We have collective intentionality for object to be used (more or less) as designer intended.<br />Thus, all engineering artifacts are social.<br />
  51. 51. Are We Too Object-Centered?<br />Current movement toward human-centered design.<br />Human factors & user-interface design.<br />Don Norman’s books center on ease of use.<br />Human factors, HCI, usability studies. <br />
  52. 52. Some Engineering Artifacts Institutional<br />Which objects have the big 3: collective intentionality, assigned function, X counts as Y in Z. <br />Example TCP/IP, 4-byte number counts as an address in TCP/IP network.<br />Generally, standards and protocols are designed institutional facts.<br />
  53. 53. Disciplines Low I/P Ratio<br />Many traditional disciplines have high complexity of physical design.<br />Low complexity of institutional design.<br />Low institutional/physical ration (I/P ratio).<br />Metallurgy, material science artifacts are complex physically, social content is low.<br />Metallurgy and material science are instrumental to product design, not end user design.<br />Some mechanical, civil artifacts have low I/P ratio.<br />Bioengineering, newer discipline with low I/P ratio.<br />
  54. 54. Disciplines with High I/P Ratio<br />Many artifacts require high attention to institutional artifacts.<br />Computer science is the poster child.<br />Many websites have high I/P ratio.<br />Some websites have high demands for physical design as well: Google. Scalability of servers.<br />
  55. 55. Buildings as Mixed Artifacts<br />Requires attention to institutional concerns.<br />Requires attention to physical adequacy.<br />Architect is often professional charged with former.<br />Engineering is professional charged with latter.<br />Mies van der Rohe Pavilion, Barcelona<br />
  56. 56. Mapping the I/P Landscape<br />
  57. 57. Why Does This Matter Now?<br />The web has changed a lot.<br />Interconnected, software reconfigurable systems enable brave new world of institutional facts:<br />Easily constructed.<br />Easily propagated (viral marketing).<br />Easily iterated (systems upon systems).<br />Has led to need for discipline of “postmodern systems engineering.”<br />
  58. 58. Design Principles<br />Systems thinking is key.<br />Remember the big 3:<br />Collective intentionality: viralness.<br />Assignment of function: designed.<br />Constitutive rules: X as Y in C, creating games.<br />Consider 4 types of status:<br />Symbolic: take care in use of words.<br />Deontic: e.g. rights and obligations of a user.<br />Honor: can be meaningful.<br />Procedural steps: systems view often requires interlocking steps.<br />Inventiveness all the way up.<br />
  59. 59. Does Philosophy of Artifacts Matter to HR?<br />This is quite abstract.<br />Does any of it matter to HR?<br />Can understanding how artifacts work help HR professional do job?<br />Take out piece of paper and list 3 things.<br />
  60. 60. Ways This Matters<br />Understand mode of existence of companies products.<br />Understand differences in design practice.<br />Help engineers move from physics to intention in institutional artifacts.<br />Training possibilities.<br />Makes both physics and social real. HR as something institutionally real itself.<br />HR artifacts largely institutional.<br />Big 3 help HR professionals create new artifacts.<br />
  61. 61. Bottom Line<br />History and ontology help understand engineering context.<br />History as data, affinity, cultural understanding, and understanding of evolution. <br />Ontology as abstract “how it works.”<br />Understanding firm’s I-to-P ratio critical.<br />HR artifacts as institutional.<br />Training and career development possibilities. <br />