Digital cultural assets are often thought to exist in separate spheres based on their two principal points of origin: digitized and born digital. Increasingly, advances in digital curation are blurring this dichotomy, by introducing so-called “collections as data,” which regardless of their origination make cultural assets more amenable to the application of new computational tools and methodologies. This paper brings together archivists, scholars, and technologists to demonstrate computational treatments of digital cultural assets using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) techniques that can help unlock hard-to-reach archival content. It describes an extended, iterative study applied to digitized and datafied WWII-era records housed at the FDR Presidential Library, rich content that is regrettably under-utilized by scholars examining American responses to the Holocaust. Authors detail the benefits of interdisciplinary collaboration for evaluating user needs, identifying and applying tools and methodologies (including ML through object detection and AI through Named Entity Recognition or NER), and reaching the real-world outcome of public access to augmented data. They also discuss issues of digital representation, relational context, and interface design to enable new modes of public and scholarly access. While based on a case study, we believe that this work is a substantial contribution to revealing the strengths and weaknesses of using AI/ML systems in cultural organizations. We give particular care to lessons learned, and generalize the approach taken across broad classes of collections with a focus on responsive iterations, reproducibility, and the relevance of data and its structures to users.
The concept of “Bio-Digital Architecture” is not new and it is within an area of great speculation and few well-demarcated definitions. A key factor in the definition and practice of technology is the difference between its production and use. If we assume that forms of use are also technical, this distinction is intrinsic to countries based on economies without added value and their histories focused on reverting this situation. This article proposes the revision of a paradigm shift in South America that combined the sustainable “Bio Architecture” (Garciatello: 1948) background from the developmental state with a different economic model era. Through a historical review of the sociology of symbolic production, and the development of devices and interfaces, mechanisms are proposed to recognize paradigm shifts, in a context where technological utopias are associated with the materialization of new social utopias of developing. Focused on specific cases, this research explains the culmination of the principles of “Second-order cybernetics”, in the epistemological formulation of “Autopiesis”, and the early visualization of these principles through digital media in the experience of “Protobio” (Varela, Maturana, Uribe: 1974). Finally, this work concludes with the description of the concrete application of these principles, not in an illustrative way, but in the design of the electronic information architecture of the operating system, continuing with the challenge of translating the logic of the immune system into an economic, political and social context completely different from its predecessors, with “Virus Detection”—VirDet—and “Oyster 2.0” (Giacaman: 1988, 1994).
This paper aims to make a proposal to govern the Peruvian State under the umbrella of management cybernetics, following the paths of the viable system model (VSM), proposed by Prof. Stafford Beer, enriched with other soft and hard systemic methodologies and technologies, to cover the soft and hard issues that are part of the complex Peruvian reality at different levels of recursion. For doing this, four defined perspectives were adopted to understand the complexity of Peru: the sectoral view, the regions view, the river basins view and the macroregions view. Peru is seen as a system in focus, defining, for each of these four perspectives, the five systems that VSM has. The application of the VSM in each perspective serves to apply it in two modes: diagnosis and design, according to the respective perspective. Then an integrative analysis and reflection is done considering the four perspectives, to analyze the viability of the VSM approach in the governance of the Peruvian State to establish some conclusions and recommendations in relation to the proposal, appearing at the end of the paper.
Garretón’s “Una teoría cibernética de la ciudad y su sistema” (A cybernetic theory of the city and its system) was published in 1975 by Nueva Visión publishing house in Buenos Aires, a moment when the seminal criticisms against the modernist urban theory of the sixties led by Team 10 were becoming concrete proposals for updating and eventually overcoming its shortcomings. Yet, despite remaining unpublished in English and hence relatively unknown worldwide, few publications in the field compare in scope to Garreton’s cybernetic theory. The reason is straightforward: like Shannon’s mathematical theory, this work amounts to a general theory of the city. Thoroughly informed by system thinking, whose trademark rule of thumb was described by Luhmann as “drawing distinctions” to guarantee the autopoiesis of a determined system, Garretón’s chief objective was to draw distinctions that would guarantee the autopoiesis of the urban system. In doing so, he discovered three fundamental urban laws, namely: the law of urban communication, the law of urban attraction, and the law of urban circulation. This, in turn, allowed him to clearly distinguish a universe that had thus far remained undetected by urbanists and that he called the non-city Universe: the human-made universe that nevertheless does not belong in the urban universe. This paper argues that this allowed him to rediscover and update the ancient and lost art of city-making: not an art of making buildings, roads, and infrastructure in general but rather, the art of building, knitting, fostering, and sustaining communities and whole societies by means of or with the aid of buildings.
This article delineates the notion of conjectural artworks—that is, ways of thinking and explaining formal and relational phenomena by visual means—and presents an appraisal and review of the use of such visual ways in the work of Chilean biologists and philosophers Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela. Particularly, the article focuses on their recurrent uses of Cellular Automaton, that is, discrete, locally interacting, rule-based mathematical models, as conjectural artworks for understanding the concepts of autopoiesis, structural coupling, cognition and enaction: (i.e. Protobio and Bittorio). Additionally, the article proposes a new model of conjectural artwork based on an extension of cellular automaton: random Boolean networks namely, binary systems with variable local connections. Such model, as it is argued, is useful to connect the theoretical frameworks by Maturana and Varela, especially structural coupling and enaction, with other relevant fields such as biosemiotics’ Umwelt-research and cognitive landscapes in neurodynamics, and to advance and explore the concepts of structurally coupled categorization and generalization.
In this article, I explore a short history of exchange between cybernetics and aesthetics in Brazil, beginning with the reception of Max Bense’s “new aesthetic” by concrete and neo-concrete poets and artists. I focus on his intellectual exchange with the poet and literary critic Haroldo de Campos, who promoted Bense’s information aesthetics in Brazil throughout the 1960s to tell a little-known history of cybernetic theory wedded to aesthetic practice, demonstrating the role that Brazilian critics, writers and artists played in mediating and deviating from some of the major tenants of first-order cybernetics. Rather than embracing the total “entropy” of meaning that characterized Bense’s “generative aesthetics”, Brazilian poets and artists drew upon cybernetics and information theory to produce artistic works that engaged figuration, bodies, politics, spectatorship and participation.
In the passage of time from the 1960s to the 1970s, the Brazilian artist Waldemar Cordeiro (1925–1973) developed his first works in computer art by applying the mathematical concept of “derivative function.” Around the same time, he organized and took part in exhibitions, and composed a series of essays envisaging that the use of digital resources would become an inevitable process for the future of information reception and artistic communication. A closer look at Waldemar Cordeiro's production, both artistic and theoretical, after almost 50 years of his first forays into the field of art and technology, is an excellent opportunity not only to revisit his trajectory, but to rewrite the history of digital art and our conception of it, locating Brazil and Latin America as situated centrally, not peripherally, in relation to the European and North American narratives. Drawing from theorists in the field of informational esthetics as well as scholars in the field of media such as Arlindo Machado and Vilém Flusser, this article seeks to demonstrate, through the analysis of Waldemar Cordeiro's theoretical–artistic productions, the relationship between his work, the field of cybernetics, and his utopian and social vision of artistic production.
Digital scholarship is ubiquitous, where even the most Luddite of scholars use some form of digital technology in their research. Differences in the level of technology use have become a question of degree not kind. Currently in the second wave of Digital Humanities, Presner (2010) argues that Digital Humanities 2.0 introduces entirely new-born digital paradigms, methodologies, and publication models not derived from print culture. This new wave is “deeply generative, creating the environments and tools for producing, curating, and interacting with knowledge that is ‘born digital’ and lives in various digital contexts” (Presner 2010, para. 13). Using the case study of a Digital Humanities project called “The Waterford Memories Project”, this paper will consider both the role of born digital survivor testimony in confronting a difficult and disputed past in Ireland and, more broadly, how we create and access knowledge in this contested space. The Waterford Memories Project is an oral history driven study in digital humanities, publicly documenting survivor narratives of the Magdalene Laundries and Industrial Schools in the South-East of Ireland. The last Magdalene Laundry in Ireland closed in 1996. These institutions formed part of a system of coercive confinement, which incorporated a wide range of historical institutions used to confine both children and adults whose “crimes” were to act against the strict and punitive moral codes of the period, poverty, or mental illness. This paper will examine the role of born digital data in public humanities (in the form of the audio-recorded survivor oral histories), and frames the Waterford Memories digital humanities project in the technoculture and minimal computing literature, emphasising the overall need for a human-centred approach to technology at all stages of the research. Cultural stories can become fossilised and continue to perpetuate the silencing of survivors; it is therefore essential to consider how the openly available digital testimony contributes to the framing of cultural discourse around our history of coercive confinement in Ireland.
This article provides practitioners’ perspectives on preservation of the Irish web space by the National Library of Ireland (the NLI). The context of this work is outlined including the history of Ireland’s national library, its role, resources and place in library, archive, cultural and digital preservation networks. The development of the NLI Web Archive is discussed within the wider context of the Library’s mission and digital collecting and preservation policies, as well as international approaches to preserving the web. The article looks at how the NLI has developed its selective web archive over the past decade, and has grown the content and access to it as a way to mitigate against the absence of at-scale solutions. The unusual legal context in Ireland regarding legislative barriers to archiving the Irish web space at scale and the NLI’s work for over a decade to change this situation are discussed as are the significant implications of the current legal situation for data loss and long-term access to Ireland’s contemporary record. Distinctive Irish aspects of digital cultural heritage preserved in the NLI Web Archive collections are highlighted. The opportunities and challenges in developing outreach and access for the Web Archive are considered together with its relationship with the collecting activities of the Library’s Born Digital Pilot Projects. This article will also discuss types of usage and user groups in relation to archived Irish web data. Potential for creative and imaginative uses of Irish web archive collections and data are also considered in relation to the Library’s broader public learning and outreach programmes.
This paper offers some insights and clarifications of the paramount role that Mexico has had in the forging of first-order cybernetics. Our account starts with Arturo Rosenblueth as a key intellectual figure in the foundation and formation of the field. After revisiting a historical context of people and places, we proceed to a cultural and media archeological investigation that helps us obtain new insights into the ongoing effort to intertwine the complex intellectual networks across different countries in Latin America, North America, and Europe. We then present cases and first-hand interviews to discuss the legacy of cybernetics in Mexico around institutions where Rosenblueth was affiliated, mainly the Institute of Cardiology and, later on, the CINVESTAV at the Instituto Politécnico Nacional. We claim that subjective affinities are as important as common scientific goals to establish and keep connections alive, necessary to the development of a research field. As the active compound in spicy peppers, capsaicin represents a local component to the definition of cybernetics. Ultimately, the paper aims to contribute to the research on the importance of cybernetics in Latin America.
The AI and Society discourse has previously drawn attention to the ways that digital systems embody the values of the technology development community from which they emerge through the development and deployment process. Research shows how this effect leads to a particular treatment of gender in computer systems development, a treatment which lags far behind the rich understanding of gender that social studies scholarship reveals and people across society experience. Many people do not relate to the narrow binary gender options of male or female, and many people express their gender identity in much richer ways than the sex/gender binary female/woman and male/man Boolean terms will allow. We ask: are “born-digital” gendered datasets in digital systems experienced as marginalising by those who express their identity beyond the male/female binary? Case Study: Ireland. To answer this universal question, this paper presents the findings of an empirical case study of people in Ireland with diverse gender identities and expressions, and their experiences with public data systems and new technologies. In spite of great social changes in Ireland which have led to constitutional change in favour of LGBTQI + people, born-digital systems were experienced by respondents as embodying socio-cultural values which were no longer accepted in society at large. For many of the respondents, digital technologies routinely marginalise them in all kinds of ways. These systems keep alive violence and oppression long after civil rights have been enshrined in constitutional law. This study is just one example of the way assumptions about digital are disengaged from society-at-large. It is a call to arms to all who are passionate about socially-responsible technology.
This contribution offers the author’s personal experience with a project that took place 25 years ago in Latin America. This was about Second Order Auditing in Colombia during the second part of the 1990s. This project was carried out at the Country’s National Auditing Office (CGR), and was an application of the Viable System Model (VSM) and the Viplan Methodology to a National Context. It was an innovative project at the CGR, focused on Second Order Auditing, to improve communications within the fabric of the Colombian government. Its emphasis was building responsible trust between public enterprises, ministries and political agencies. Its emphasis was building communications between ministries and public entities, with the aim of increasing their effectiveness. At its core were methodological and epistemological developments. Key questions it attempted to answer were how to model the complexity of the enterprises and how to transform the auditors’ views of their relations with people in public entities, from one focused on requesting information, to one focused on communications. Structural changes were proposed for the National Audit Office and state enterprises, and hundreds of auditors were trained, through epistemological methodological workshops, in second order auditing and the reports of their auditing were debated extensively in government and beyond. This paper finishes with a short discussion of these transformations in the light of organisational cybernetics and in particular of the Viable System Model.
During the sixties, a most curious symbiosis took hold between Heinz von Foerster (1911–2002) then the Director of a top-notch and lavishly funded US laboratory [Biological Computer Laboratory (BCL), 1958–1975] and the Chilean neuroscientist Humberto R. Maturana (1928–2021) professor at the Universidad de Chile. The chance encounter between them triggered a long-lasting friendship and a fundamental change in our understanding of Systems Science. In particular the contributions of Biology of Cognition and Autopoiesis are important to understand this change and the years 1968–1973 are particularly relevant. In this period, Maturana published, as a Technical Report of BCL, the foundational document The Neurophysiology of Cognition. Later, in 1973, the book De Maquinas y Seres Vivos put forward the notion of Autopoietic Systems. Also, between 1971 and 1973, the Allende government tried to cybernitize the Chilean economy with the SYNCO project. In that project, Maturana and von Foerster played a role by teaching Cybernetics to the engineers and administrators of this technological dream. During this same time, Cybernetics was important in Chile and Professors Maturana and von Foerster although not directly involved in the day-to-day running of SYNCO were important in that unique effort. When a military coup deposed Allende and sent Chile into a tailspin of right-wing retribution (9-11-1973), von Foerster, a foreigner who loved Chile and its people, did his outmost to assure the safety of many people involved in this unique Latin American Cybernetics dream.
An exceptional chain of events in science, technology, art and planning took place in Latin America in the 1970s. Does this wonder shed light upon our view of the basic roots of cultural, social and political blooming? This paper intends to adduce evidence on second-order cybernetics processes underlying five outstanding cases in real societies and to disclose the links between democracy and unfettering momentum for freedom and creativity. Namely, Oscar Varsavsky, national projects, styles of development, scientific and technological autonomy; Stefano Varese, cultural and political autonomy of indigenous people; Mario Pedrosa, creation of the Museum of Solidarity in Chile; Stafford Beer, Cybersyn project for cybernetics and self-management in Chile; and Humberto Maturana, concepts of autopoiesis, cognition, language and multiverse. The reasoning counts with the author's direct participation in all cases. The paper sets a similarity worthy of being noticed between Allende’s Unidad Popular in Chile and Pericles’ Golden Age in Greece and outlines why these historic realms albeit far apart have lasting importance and similar historical impetus. Highlights the essential and seminal features of each stream and comes to the conclusion that effective democracy is the necessary condition for participation and creativity. Upsurges in social participation and creativity are neither frequent nor cyclical. Still, such sudden and usually large increase in ingenuity, flair and aim to improve living conditions, although limited in time, remain in our mind as a joy forever. Nowadays, the world witnesses a contrary motion towards sterile art patterns and restrained behaviour. Hence, it becomes even more important to better understand the basic roots of cultural, social and political blooming.
Linked data (LD) have the capability to open up and share materials, held in libraries, archives and museums (LAMs), in ways that are restricted by many existing metadata standards. Specifically, LD interlinking can be used to enrich data and to improve data discoverability on the Web through interlinking related resources across datasets and institutions. However, there is currently a notable lack of interlinking across leading LD projects in LAMs, impacting upon the discoverability of their materials. This research describes the Novel Authoritative Interlinking for Semantic Web Cataloguing in Libraries (NAISC-L) interlinking framework. Unlike existing interlinking frameworks, NAISC-L was designed specifically with the requirements of the LAM domain in mind. The framework was evaluated by Information Professionals (IPs), including librarians, archivists and metadata cataloguers, via three user-experiments including a think-aloud test, an online interlink creation test and a field test in a music archive. Across all experiments, participants achieved a high level of interlink accuracy, and usability measures indicated that IPs found NAISC-L to be useful and user-friendly. Overall, NAISC-L was shown to be an effective framework for engaging IPs in the process of LD interlinking, and for facilitating the creation of richer and more authoritative interlinks between LAM resources. NAISC-L supports the linking of related resource across datasets and institutions, thereby enabling richer and more varied search queries, and can thus be used to improve the discoverability of materials held in LAMs.
Irish traditional music (ITM) is a complex system of interconnections and relationships. For example, the same tune title can refer to many different tunes, and the same tune can have many different titles. Developing a system whereby a tune can be presented with all its variants and relations, along with its source recordings, has been the work of many scholars in the field. It is only with the advent of Linked Data technologies that a solution to this issue can be truly envisaged. One element of this solution is the creation of authority files presented as SKOS thesauri, such as the ITMA (Irish Traditional Music Archive) Subject Thesaurus (IST). Best-practice in thesauri creation was followed to create the IST. Existing literature on the subject was surveyed for terms and phrases that could be included. The terms were organised within 21 facets, each facet being a discrete unit describing some element of the tradition. This research builds on ITMA’s existing Linked Data offerings. It provides a road-map for the creation of other thesauri and is a foundation stone for ITMA on which future developments in Linked Data can be built.
There had been interesting interactions between philosophical reflections, technical developments and the work of artists, poets and designers, starting especially in the 1950s and 1960s with a stimulating cell in Stuttgart and Ulm in Germany spreading mutual international interactions. The paper aims to describe the philosophical background of Max Bense with his research on the intellectual history of mathematics and the upcoming studies on technology and cybernetics. Together with communication theories and semiotics, new aesthetics such as cybernetic aesthetics had been worked out, based on the notions of information and sign. This background stimulated international students, artists and researchers from different creative disciplines for methodical approaches leading to first computer art experiments. The interrelations in these fields with Latin America are in the focus of these studies. Students, artists, and poets from Latin America, especially Brazil, came to Germany for studies and exhibitions in the creative scientifc cell around Max Bense. Some of them stayed in Europe, but the exchange developed also in the opposite direction, traveling to and working in Latin America. Some of those fruitful international interrelations will be described and reflected.
The purpose of this paper is to show an application of variety engineering in the social realm (Beer in The heart of enterprise. Wiley, Chichester, 1979, in Brain of the firm. Wiley, Chichester 1981, in diagnosing the system for organizations. Wiley, Chichester, 1985). It focuses on reducing environmental complexity by catalysing self-organizing processes (Espejo and Reyes in Organizational systems: managing complexity with the VSM. Springer, London, 2011). This catalysis is based on the use of Sen and Nussbaum’s capabilities approach (Sen in Development as freedom. Oxford University Press, New York, 1999; Nusbaum in Women and human development: the capabilities approach. Cambridge University Press, New York, 2000). By doing this an organization may improve the quality of the relations with their clients by transforming environmental agents into new suppliers. This approach opens a new dimension of social responsibility for organizations. A particular case is presented in which a regional university in Colombia faces the challenge of attending low-income students coming from small municipalities. They designed a strategy to offer low-cost housing and a daily balanced meal without using the university's own resources. Instead, they managed to involve some agents of the community by developing their capabilities. This kind of variety engineering shows the possibility of new forms of social responsibility in universities by incorporating the capabilities approach into their managerial practices. This is something that is currently under study in other universities (Boni et al. in Science and engineering ethics. Springer, London, 2015).
From its origins, cybernetics has based its desire on the concept of transverse nature, today transdisciplinary. Within its history, the breaking point is unquestionably Stafford Beer and the VMS applied in Salvador Allende's government. Chile's historical conditions and context undoubtedly allowed a series of conceptual emergencies that were not necessarily developed after the 1973 coup d'état. Beer's design, as he claims, could serve both a socialist vision and a fascist command. This tells us that the tool depends on the hand of the administrator. On the other hand, good but insufficient attempts have been made in the field of biologies, such as the theory of autopoiesis and epistemological positions concerning the observer, which have not been able to add value to the VMS. The errors in the design of the VMS can be summarized as follows: confusion of interactions with relationships, confusing co-autonomy with self-organization, confusion of centrism and centralities necessarily as central and establish isomorphisms in a mathematical system aiming at conceptual homologation. As is the case with Information and Entropy. This work shows that the VMS must obligatorily migrate to a Relational Viable system, whose bases are the relations of cooperation and reciprocity based on heterarchical structures for limited or scarce material energy resources. This is the basis of the socialist design which forces the economy to reduce the production of Non-Required Variety.
The Cybersyn project has lately received increased attention. In this article, we study the local technical antecedents of Stafford Beer's Cybersyn project in Chile, particularly regarding Cybernetics and Systems ideas and local computing and networking developments. We show that the Cybersyn project in Chile was hosted by a rich intellectual environment that understood Cybernetics and Systems ideas; that it found a mature computer community and infrastructure whose high point was the State Computing Enterprise EMCO/ECOM, and an advanced networking experience whose flagship was the automation of the State Bank that involved a pioneering network of teleprocess. In summary, this paper attempts to unveil the deep historical background over which the globally unique cybernetic experiment called Cybersyn flourished.
Towards the end of the 1960s—a period of intense creative, technological and political changes—the Argentinian art critic and entrepreneur Jorge Glusberg founded the CAyC (Center for Art and Communication) in Buenos Aires. CAyC was an interdisciplinary experimental project that explored the relationship between art, technology and society. It sought to articulate a network of discussions and productions by a new style of Latin American artist, deeply influenced by science, technology and society. Glusberg defined such practice as Systems Art, which appeared in three ways, namely as a system of collective representation; a system of meaning that defied formal categories; and a system of relationships and processes for social inquiry. In doing so, the artist became a researcher who reflected on their social context and the latter’s processes of production. This paper will discuss CAyC’s pioneering work and its global influence through three main initiatives: its exhibitions Art and Cybernetics, Systems Art in Latin America and the International Open Encounters on Video. These events were driven by the revolutionary artistic and experimental promotion of the distinctive ways in which Latin American artists were using technology to respond to local issues at a time when computer systems and cybernetic models for management and organizational practices were being introduced across the region.
This article considers that reasoning over archives is a joint enterprise between archivists and researchers and that both groups are increasingly using machine agents to assist them in it. It starts by considering the processing of archivists, researchers and machine agents separately. Using the different perspectives this brings to highlight different aspects of that processing, as a process of sense-making, as scholarly research activity, as practices that realise and achieve data for the drawing of further inference, it reasserts the argument that archives cannot be regarded as raw data to be reasoned over, but must be seen as the result of multiple representative and interpretive acts, of iterative realisation and activation as ‘data’ potentially involving many, many additional actors. It then goes on to consider how the involvement of machine agents fits into and potentially alters this picture by providing more detail about the basis on which they currently perform such acts.
In 1972, in Chile, the German designer Gui Bonsiepe was in charge of the Industrial Design Department of Technological Institute of the National Corporation for the Promotion of Production INTEC Corfo, during the government of socialist President Salvador Allende in Chile. In this article from the INTEC magazine n.2, published this time for the first time in English, Bonsiepe develops a theoretical formulation, applied to the field of design, through which he proposes a concept that will be fundamental in the field of interactive development, both analog and digital: the Interface. Thus, it also includes concepts of cybernetics such as variability and predictive study of behavior in the field of projecting disciplines. Bonsiepe is an exceptional representative during the formation of the iconic Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm (HfG Ulm). And among other elements, one very outstanding was his time as a student of Professor Max Bense and Horst Rittel, who would have introduced the concepts of first-order Cybernetics in the teaching of communication, and the design of information, in a pioneering way (Leopold, 2014). The challenge posed in 1972, in Chile, focused on the possibility of calculating elements of criticism of political economy, in the field of knowledge generated by sensitive experiences, "calculating the use value" of the field of esthetics. As a renowned disciple of Max Bense and Tomas Maldonado, Bonsiepe represents the meeting of two Cybernetic traditions, collaborating with the emblematic Cybersyn Corfo project (Chile: 1970–1973), in which the formulation of interaction mechanisms was strategic in combination with Stafford Beer's approaches to a second-order Cybernetics, according to the Viable System Model (VSM), for a project of decentralized state production, and transmission of information in real time.
Co-authored by a Computer Scientist and a Digital Humanist, this article examines the challenges faced by cultural heritage institutions in the digital age, which have led to the closure of the vast majority of born-digital archival collections. It focuses particularly on cultural organizations such as libraries, museums and archives, used by historians, literary scholars and other Humanities scholars. Most born-digital records held by cultural organizations are inaccessible due to privacy, copyright, commercial and technical issues. Even when born-digital data are publicly available (as in the case of web archives), users often need to physically travel to repositories such as the British Library or the Bibliothèque Nationale de France to consult web pages. Provided with enough sample data from which to learn and train their models, AI, and more specifically machine learning algorithms, offer the opportunity to improve and ease the access to digital archives by learning to perform complex human tasks. These vary from providing intelligent support for searching the archives to automate tedious and time-consuming tasks. In this article, we focus on sensitivity review as a practical solution to unlock digital archives that would allow archival institutions to make non-sensitive information available. This promise to make archives more accessible does not come free of warnings for potential pitfalls and risks: inherent errors, "black box" approaches that make the algorithm inscrutable, and risks related to bias, fake, or partial information. Our central argument is that AI can deliver its promise to make digital archival collections more accessible, but it also creates new challenges - particularly in terms of ethics. In the conclusion, we insist on the importance of fairness, accountability and transparency in the process of making digital archives more accessible.
This article examines the connecting lines between the Chilean Project Cybersyn’s interface design, the German Hochschule für Gestaltung Ulm and its cybernetically inspired approaches towards information design, and later developments in interaction design and the emerging field of Human–Computer Interaction in the USA. In particular, it first examines how early works of designers Tomàs Maldonado and Gui Bonsiepe on operative communication, that is, language-independent (and thus internationalizable) pictogram systems and visual grammars for computational systems, were intertwined with attempts to ground industrial design in a scientific methodology, to address an era of computing machines, and to develop the concept of the interface as a heuristic for a renovated design thinking. It thereby also reconstructs further historical vanishing lines—e.g. the pictorial grammar of Otto Neurath’s ISOTYPE—of the development of the ‘ulm model’ of design. Second, the article explores how an apprehension of first-order cybernetics in West Germany—e.g. represented by hfg ulm staff like Max Bense or Abraham Moles, merged with Cybersyn’s second-order cybernetics ideas, as represented by Stafford Beer’s Viable System Model. And third, it asks about a further conceptual turn regarding an understanding of design which resulted in a focus on communicative interaction, e.g. in the later works of Fernando Flores and Terry Winograd on HCI, or in Beer’s Team Syntegrity approach. As an effect, the text will explore a specific and international network of cybernetic thinking between Latin America, Europe, and North America which emerged around Project Cybersyn, and which was occupied with questions of HCI, a democratization of design, and intelligence amplification.
This paper is a survey of standards being used in the domain of digital cultural heritage with focus on the Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS) created by the Library of Congress in the United States of America. The process of digitization of cultural heritage requires silo breaking in a number of areas—one area is that of academic disciplines to enable the performance of rich interdisciplinary work. This lays the foundation for the emancipation of the second form of silo which are the silos of knowledge, both traditional and born digital, held in individual institutions, such as galleries, libraries, archives and museums. Disciplinary silo breaking is the key to unlocking these institutional knowledge silos. Interdisciplinary teams, such as developers and librarians, work together to make the data accessible as open data on the “semantic web”. Description logic is the area of mathematics which underpins many ontology building applications today. Creating these ontologies requires a human–machine symbiosis. Currently in the cultural heritage domain, the institutions’ role is that of provider of this open data to the national aggregator which in turn can make the data available to the trans-European aggregator known as Europeana. Current ingests to the aggregators are in the form of machine readable cataloguing metadata which is limited in the richness it provides to disparate object descriptions. METS can provide this richness.
The catalogue raisonné compiled by art scholars holds information about an artist’s work such as a painting’s image, medium, provenance, and title. The catalogue raisonné as a tangible asset suffers from the challenges of art authentication and impermanence. As the catalogue raisonné is born digital, the impermanence challenge abates, but the authentication challenge persists. With the popularity of artificial intelligence and its deep learning architectures of computer vision, we propose to address the authentication challenge by creating a new artefact for the digital catalogue raisonné: a digital classification model. This digital classification model will help art scholars with new artwork claims via a tool that authenticates a proposed artwork with an artist. We create this tool by training a machine learning model with 90 artists having at least 150 artworks and achieve an accuracy of 87.31%. We use the ResNet Convolutional Neural Network to improve accuracy and number of artist classes over state-of-the-art artist classification experiments using the WikiArt database. We address inconsistencies in the way scholars approach artist classification by providing a consistent method to recreate our dataset and providing a consistent method to calculate performance metrics based on imbalanced data.
When URUCIB was created, we did not know we were making an Executive Information Systems. In those days, the development of information technology was very nascent, and its impact on developing countries was even more limited. This paper tells how a government imagined using these resources and put them at the service of its management to have real-time information to guide decision-making. It shows how an interdisciplinary team of professionals from informatics, cybernetics, economics, statistics, and politics worked to create a state-of-the-art system in its time, using available information and communication technologies. It shows the challenges that had to be overcome, both technological and cultural, and how this was carried out. It compares the experience of Uruguay with a previous and similar one in Chile fourteen years earlier. It then argues some of the main problems faced and claims the innovative character of the project. Finally, it draws some conclusions from experience. Distinguished British cybernetics expert Prof. Stafford Beer was hired as an advisor, the President of the Republic, Dr. Julio María Sanguinetti, gave his enthusiastic support and project leader Eng. Víctor Ganón and his devoted team were instrumental in making this trailblazing design and successfully implemented the system.
The Korean economist Ha-Joon Chang proposed the theory of "kicking away the ladder", in reference to how the world’s great powers managed to establish themselves as such after a prolonged period of robust measures to protect their development. Once they achieved that, they entered the free global market, demanding that small countries eschew any protectionist measures and immediately enter the ‘free trade’ in a highly unprotected manner. According to this approach, Cybernetics in Latin America can be interpreted in different ways: it can be a confirmation of the disappearance of technological, social, and industrial development defended by the already non-existent Latin American developmental states that had a utopian view of technology as a tool for self-determination, but, on the other, it can also be a provocation for those in the region who still believe in the possibilities of Cybernetics to develop and support its proposals. There is a fundamental difference between using technology and producing it, while the ways of using it are also techniques or technologies in themselves. This paper outlines the meaning of first-order cybernetics and then interprets what second-order cybernetics has represented in Latin America, its Viable System Model, and how its components have evolved.
This contribution offers reflections about Chilean Cybersyn, 50 years ago. In recent years, Cybersyn, has received significant attention. It was the brainchild of Stafford Beer, who conceived it to support the transformation of the Chilean economy from its bureaucratic history to hopefully create a vibrant and modern society, driven by cybernetic tools. These aspects have received much attention in recent times; however, in this contribution, I want to discuss how working in Cybersyn influenced my work after the coup of 1973. Perhaps, for me, its major influence was in the management of complexity, through what I refer here as variety engineering and through the Viable System Model VSM as a paradigm to the management of relationships with implications to enterprises, society and the economy. After the 1973 coup major interest was in technological aspects of Cybersyn such as real-time management and its contribution to decision support and executive information systems. In the late 70s I was personally influenced by information management, but by the early 1980s my work moved towards methodological aspects of how to use the VSM. By 1989 I had created the VIPLAN method (Espejo, 1989). Key questions I attempted to answer were, how to model the complexity of enterprises and their interactions with environmental agents. Later on, in the 1990s and 2000s, the main direction of my work was epistemological, ontological and methodological towards second-order cybernetics and relationships. Only in recent decades the political transformations proposed by Cybersyn have captured the imagination of many commentators. The confluence of social and cultural changes with information technology, data models, artificial intelligence, algorithms and several additional technological developments have challenged the excesses of capitalism, particularly after the banking crisis of 2008–2009. The purpose in this paper is discussing this evolution in the light of those early days in Chile.
Email archives are important historical resources, but access to such data poses a unique archival challenge and many born-digital collections remain dark, while questions of how they should be effectively made available remain. This paper contributes to the growing interest in preserving access to email by addressing the needs of users, in readiness for when such collections become more widely available. We argue that for the content of email to be meaningfully accessed, the context of email must form part of this access. In exploring this idea, we focus on discovery within large, multi-custodian archives of organisational email, where emails’ network features are particularly apparent. We introduce our prototype search tool, which uses AI-based methods to support user-driven exploration of email. Specifically, we integrate two distinct AI models that generate systematically different types of results, one based upon simple, phrase-matching and the other upon more complex, BERT embeddings. Together, these provide a new pathway to contextual discovery that accounts for the diversity of future archival users, their interests and level of experience.
Galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAMs) are striving to retain audience attention to issues related to cultural heritage, by implementing various novel opportunities for audience engagement through technological means online. Although born-digital assets for cultural heritage may have inundated the Internet in some areas, most of the time they are stored in “digital warehouses,” and the questions of the digital ecosystem’s sustainability, meaningful public participation and creative reuse of data still remain. Emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), are used to bring born-digital archives to light, aiming to enhance the public’s engagement and participation. At the core of this debate lies both the openness of data and issues of privacy. How open to the public should born-digital archives be? Should everything be open and available online, and what does it take to achieve balance between openness and privacy, especially through AI initiatives? The study is qualitative and builds on the rationale of grounded theory. The role of AI development is critically investigated in relation to opening up born-digital archives online, by considering privacy and ethics issues. Grounded in the context of the author’s PhD research, the paper proposes a human-centred approach to AI development for democratising its development towards fairness and social inclusion, contrary to the stereotypical cliché of blackboxing, allowing space for the plurality of born-digital archives to flourish.
The Chilean Cybersyn project, an attempt to manage a nation's economy by cybernetic methods, has evoked more and more interest in recent years. The project's design lead and several team members were alumni of the Ulm School of Design-an institution that has been labelled "Bauhaus successor" and today is famous for a no-arts and method-led design approach with strong societal aspirations. The school also influenced the emerging design discipline in Latin America during the 1960s and 70s. This article reviews topics in the Ulm curriculum that influenced "Ulmian" thinking, but often remained unnoticed in design centred publications. Cybernetics, Operations Research and Information Theory and their relation to design are discussed and the related scholars are portrayed critically.
This article presents Epistemic Spatialization as a new framework for investigating the interconnected patterns of biases when identifying objects with convolutional neural networks (convnets). It draws upon Foucault's notion of spatialized knowledge to guide its method of enquiry. We argue that decisions involved in the creation of algorithms, alongside the labeling, ordering, presentation, and commercial prioritization of objects, together create a distorted "nomination of the visible": they harden the visibility of some objects, make other objects excessively visible, and consign yet others to permanent or haphazard invisibility. Our approach differs from those who focus on high-stakes misidentifications, such as errors tied to structural racism. Examining the far more dominant series of low-stakes mistakes shows the scope of errors, destabilizing the goal of image content identification with considerable societal impact. We explore these issues by closely examining the demonstration video of a popular convnet. This examination reveals an interlocking series of biases undermining the content identification process. The picture we paint is crucial for a better understanding of the errors that result as these convnets become further embedded in everyday products. The framework is valuable for critical work on computer vision, AI studies, and large-scale visual analysis.
Smart city discourses often invoke the Panopticon, a disciplinary architecture designed by Jeremy Bentham and popularly theorized by Michel Foucault, as a model for understanding the social impact of AI technologies. This framing focuses attention almost exclusively on the negative ramifications of Urban AI, correlating ubiquitous surveillance, centralization, and data consolidation with AI development, and positioning technologies themselves as the driving factor shaping privacy, sociality, equity, access, and autonomy in the city. This paper describes an alternative diagram for Urban AI—the Polyopticon: a distributed, polyvalent, multi-modal network of synthetic intelligences. It posits that fourth industrial revolution technologies change the political, social, and psychodynamic relationships of sentience and witness in the city, shifting the effects of watching and watched beyond the exclusive domain of top-down surveillance and discipline. The Polyopticon poses a more expansive and ambivalent spectrum of possibilities for Urban AI scenarios, one that undermines the totalizing, singular, and cerebral notion of intelligence that so often characterizes Urban AI and smart city critiques.
Complex systems are difficult to manage, operate and maintain. This is why we see teams of highly specialised engineers in industries such as aerospace, nuclear and subsurface. Condition based monitoring is also employed to maximise the efficiency of extensive maintenance programmes instead of using periodic maintenance. A level of automation is often required in such complex engineering platforms in order to effectively and safely manage them. Advances in Artificial Intelligence related technologies have offered greater levels of automation but this potentially pivots the weight of decision making away from the operator to the machine. Implementing AI or complex algorithms into a platform can mean that the Operators' control over the system is diminished or removed altogether. For example, in the Boeing 737 Air Max Disaster, AI had been added to a platform and removed the operators' control of the system. This meant that the operator could not then move outside the extremely reserved, algorithm defined, 'envelope' of operation. This paper analyses the challenges of AI driven condition based monitoring where there is a potential to see similar consequences to those seen in control engineering. As the future of society becomes more about algorithm driven technology, it is prudent to ask, not only whether we should implement AI into complex systems, but how this can be achieved ethically and safely in order to reduce risk to life.
The article seeks to highlight the relation between ontology and communication while considering the role of AI in society and environment. Bioinformationalism is the technical term that foregrounds this relationality. The study reveals instructive consequences for philosophy of technology in general and AI in particular. The first section introduces the bioinformational approach to AI, focusing on three critical features of the current AI debate: ontology of information, property-based vs. relational AI, and ontology vs. constitution of AI. When applied to the themes of relationality and non-anthropocentric communications, bioinformational insights highlight an inclusive and meaningful groundwork for understanding AI by ‘relating’ it with society and the environment through an engagement with the ongoing critique of human supremacy. In the second section, we move from ‘relating’ AI to ‘rewilding’ AI by proposing taxonomical classification for certain technological entities. We situate our proposal in the broader personhood debate with the proposal of taxonomical ranking. In the last section, we show an instance of a relational approach steeped in substantialist ontology by introducing the fourth feature of the AI debate. A broad critique of Floridi’s philosophy of information introduces this fourth feature from the domain of philosophy and sociology to address various theoretical and ecological problems with current relational accounts. In doing so, we argue for ‘communication’ to be the replacement of ‘information’ as the moral unit. A bioinformational understanding of AI advocates taking ontological commitments seriously at all levels of informational and technological processes and products.
Providing meaningful and actionable explanations for end-users is a situated problem requiring the intersection of multiple disciplines to address social, operational, and technical challenges. However, the explainable artificial intelligence community has not commonly adopted or created tangible design tools that allow interdisciplinary work to develop reliable AI-powered solutions. This paper proposes a formative architecture that defines the explanation space from a user-inspired perspective. The architecture comprises five intertwined components to outline explanation requirements for a task: (1) the end-users’ mental models, (2) the end-users’ cognitive process, (3) the user interface, (4) the Human-Explainer Agent, and (5) the agent process. We first define each component of the architecture. Then, we present the Abstracted Explanation Space, a modeling tool that aggregates the architecture’s components to support designers in systematically aligning explanations with end-users’ work practices, needs, and goals. It guides the specifications of what needs to be explained (content: end-users’ mental model), why this explanation is necessary (context: end-users’ cognitive process), to delimit how to explain it (format: Human-Explainer Agent and user interface), and when the explanations should be given. We then exemplify the tool’s use in an ongoing case study in the aircraft maintenance domain. Finally, we discuss possible contributions of the tool, known limitations or areas for improvement, and future work to be done.
There is a deluge of AI-assisted decision-making systems, where our data serve as proxy to our actions, suggested by AI. The closer we investigate our data (raw input, or their learned representations, or the suggested actions), we begin to discover “bugs”. Outside of their test, controlled environments, AI systems may encounter situations investigated primarily by those in other disciplines, but experts in those fields are typically excluded from the design process and are only invited to attest to the ethical features of the resulting system or to comment on demonstrations of intelligence and aspects of craftmanship after the fact. This communicative impasse must be overcome. Our idea is that philosophical and engineering considerations interact and can be fruitfully combined in the AI design process from the very beginning. We embody this idea in the role of a philosopher engineer. We discuss the role of philosopher engineers in the three main design stages of an AI system: deployment management (what is the system’s intended use, in what environment?); objective setting (what should the system be trained to do, and how?); and training (what model should be used, and why?). We then exemplify the need for philosopher engineers with an illustrative example, investigating how the future decisions of an AI-based hiring system can be fairer than those contained in the biased input data on which it is trained; and we briefly sketch the kind of interdisciplinary education that we envision will help to bring about better AI.
This study examined the effect of fake news on electoral outcome. Using post-election surveys, previous studies found associations between exposure to fake news and voting behavior, though these observational studies failed to show that these changes were actually caused by fake news. To examine whether fake news really affects voting behavior, we need to experimentally manipulate voters’ exposure to fake news in real elections and see if voters regret their vote choice knowing that the information was false. For this purpose, our study focused on Mexico’s 2018 presidential election, which provided an ideal setting. During the campaign, false information about a scandal allegedly involving Ricardo Anaya, a candidate from the National Action Party, was widely disseminated. However, his innocence was officially acknowledged after the election. Using this correction of fake news as a treatment, we tested a sample of 1,561 individuals to assess whether the retraction of fake news caused post-election regret: would Mexican voters have voted differently if they had not been exposed to such false information. Our multivariate analyses found that the retraction of fake news did cause post-election regret among voters with lower internal political efficacy, but voters associated with higher political knowledge and internal political efficacy were not affected by the retraction and were less likely to experience regret. About 20% of the respondents (N = 168) experienced post-election regret, and of those, about 35% would have switched their vote to Anaya. The findings corroborate lasting effects of fake news, which may have non-negligible effects on electoral outcomes.
Consequential historical decisions that shaped transportation systems and their influence on society have many valuable lessons. The decisions we learn from and choose to make going forward will play a key role in shaping the mobility landscape of the future. This is especially pertinent as artificial intelligence (AI) becomes more prevalent in the form of autonomous vehicles (AVs). Throughout urban history, there have been cyclical transport oppressions of previous-generation transportation methods to make way for novel transport methods. These cyclical oppressions can be identified in the baroque and modernist periods, and a third oppression may occur in the contemporary period. To explore the idea of a third oppression , we focus on the bicycle and outline the history of cycling to understand how historical mode oppression unfolded. We then present several social and political factors that contributed to the oppression of cycling and share recommendations for how to avoid future oppressions including political, social, and design actions for researchers and policymakers to take. This paper argues that priorities for AI-enabled mobility and cyclist needs be advanced in proportion to the extent that they contribute to societal goals of urban containment, public realm, and proximal cities. Additionally, future mobility evolutions should prioritise mobility justice and mode choice over inducing a singular transportation method.
As the first empirical study of the nonlinear effects of digital business on global value chains (GVC), we provide insight into the nonlinear effects of digital business on the global value chain (GVC) values. We employ four indicators, including the value of online selling, sales through e-commerce, and customer relationship management (CRM) usage, to capture the prevalence of digital business in the economy. By testing a sample of 25 European countries that has have been analyzed using various econometric techniques over the period 2012-2019, our estimation results confirm that GVC values are a U-shaped function of digitalization. That is, an increase in digitalization pervasiveness initially induces more significant risks and uncertainties, hindering European countries from getting involved in or scale-up within the GVC. However, beyond a specific threshold, a rise in digitalization pervasivenessa rise in digitalization pervasiveness goes beyond a specific threshold, which facilitates GVC activities as more opportunities are created. Furthermore, our findings suggest that digital business contributes significantly to reducing the adverse influences of global uncertainty on the GVC values, while the marginal effects of digital business on GVC values become more pronounced in countries with the most advanced institutional structure.
Human organizations’ adoption of the paradigm of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is associated with the growth of techno-empowerment, which is the process of transferring autonomy in decision-making to intelligent machines. Particular persuasive strategies have been identified that may coax people to use intelligent devices but there is a substantial research gap regarding what antecedents actually influence human intention to assign decision-making autonomy to the artificial agents. In this study, ethological and evolutionary concepts are used to explain the drivers for autonomous assistants’ techno-empowerment. The method used in the study was 4 x 2 experiment made with 278 persons. The research tool used to collect the data was an online survey. The results shows that more positive attitudes and higher trust, perceived usefulness, and perceived ease of use are linked to higher intention to allow autonomous assistant to independence in decision-making. Second, the results suggest that the more humanlike a non-human agent is, the higher the intention to empower it – but only if this agent simultaneously provides functional and visual anthropomorphic cues explainable by the mimicry effect.
AI technology is capturing the African imaginations as a gateway to progress and prosperity. There is a growing interest in AI by different actors across the continent including scientists, researchers, humanitarian and aid organizations, academic institutions, tech start-ups, and media organizations. Several African states are looking to adopt AI technology to capture economic growth and development opportunities. On the other hand, African researchers highlight the gap in regulatory frameworks and policies that govern the development of AI in the continent. They argue that this could lead to AI technology exacerbating problems of inequalities and injustice in the continent. However, most of the literature on AI ethics is biased toward Euro-American perspectives and lack the understanding of how AI development is apprehended in the Global South, and particularly Africa. Drawing on the case study of the first African Master’s in Machine Intelligence program, this paper argues for looking beyond the question of ethics in AI and examining AI governance issues through the analytical lens of the raciality of computing and the political economy of technoscience to understand AI development in Africa. By doing so, this paper seeks a different theorization for AI ethics from the South that is based on lived experiences of those in the margins and avoids the framings of technological futures that simplistically pathologize or celebrate Africa.
In this article we present a new approach to practical artificial intelligence (AI) ethics in heavy industry, which was developed in the context of an EU Horizons 2020 multi partner project. We begin with a review of the concept of Industry 4.0, discussing the limitations of the concept, and of iterative categorization of heavy industry generally, for a practical human centered ethical approach. We then proceed to an overview of actual and potential AI ethics approaches to heavy industry, suggesting that current approaches with their emphasis on broad high-level principles are not well suited to AI ethics for industry. From there we outline our own approach in two sections. The first suggests tailoring ethics to the time and space situation of the shop floor level worker from the ground up, including giving specific and evolving ethical recommendations. The second describes the ethicist’s role as an ethical supervisor immersed in the development process and interpreting between industrial and technological (tech) development partners. In presenting our approach we draw heavily on our own experiences in applying the method in the Use Cases of our project, as examples of what can be done.
Artificial intelligence (AI) tools used in employment decision-making cut across the multiple stages of job advertisements, shortlisting, interviews and hiring, and actual and potential bias can arise in each of these stages. One major challenge is to mitigate AI bias and promote fairness in opaque AI systems. This paper argues that the equal opportunity merit principle is an ethical approach for fair AI employment decision-making. Further, explainable AI can mitigate the opacity problem by placing greater emphasis on enhancing the understanding of reasonable users (employing organisations) and affected persons (employees and job candidates) as to the AI output. Both the equal opportunity merit principle and explainable AI should be integrated in the design and implementation of AI employment decision-making systems so as to ensure, as far as possible, that the AI output is arrived at through a fair process.
Our fascination with artificial intelligence (AI), robots and sentient machines has a long history, and references to such humanoids are present even in ancient myths and folklore. The advancements in digital and computational technology have turned this fascination into apprehension, with the machines often being depicted as a binary to the human. However, the recent domains of academic enquiry such as transhumanism and posthumanism have produced many a literature in the genre of science fiction (SF) that endeavours to alter this antagonistic notion of AI. In his novel Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro explores this notion of AI as a caring machine capable of nursing an ailing young girl back to health. Through this portrayal of AI as a sentient being capable of empathy and cognition, Ishiguro is attempting to usher in a new perception of AI: a posthuman perception that challenges the conventional notions of AI as a machine devoid of emotions. The novel further expands on the idea of self, soul and human consciousness and ponders on the question, what makes humans human, and if it is possible to imbibe these qualities onto an AI. Owing to the novelty of this notion, an unexplored avenue that deserves further exploration, this paper examines the plausibility of this new notion of AI through a careful exegesis of the novel. The paper also attempts to chart the impact of SF in society and culture. The study reveals a positive shift in perception towards AI, and there seems to be much scope for interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research.
Computer vision research involving street and road detection methods usually focuses on driving assistance and autonomous vehicle systems. In this context, street segmentation occurs in real-time, based on images centered on the street. This work, on the other hand, uses street segmentation for urban planning research to classify pavement types of a city or region, which is particularly important for developing countries. For this application, it is needed a dataset with images from various locations for each street. These images are not necessarily centered on the street and include challenges that are not common in street segmentation datasets, such as mixed pavement types and the presence of faults and holes on the street. We implemented a multi-class version of a state-of-the-art segmentation algorithm and adapted it to perform street pavement classification, handling navigation along streets and angle variation to increase the accuracy of the classification. A data augmentation approach is also proposed to use preliminary results from the test instances as new ground truth and increase the amount of training data. A dataset with more than 300,000 images from 773 streets from a Brazilian city was built. Our approach achieved a precision of 0.93, showing the feasibility of the proposed application.