Computational Artifacts (ComART)
Computational artifacts (or ‘software machines’) increasingly penetrate all spheres of life, not only in the shape of computational versions of traditional tools (pens and brushes; typewriters and calculators; music players and cameras; lathes and drills), but also in the form of mechanical regulation of human interaction. This is exemplified by production planning and control systems, workflow management systems, document and project management systems, and other forms of coordination technologies as well as services supporting interaction among members of the public at large such as recommender systems (e.g., Amazon) and the selective dissemination of plain gossip (e.g., Facebook, Twitter). Computational (or mechanical) regulation of human interaction is a radically new phenomenon in human history, but in spite of the enormous economic and social importance of this phenomenon we have no systematic conceptual foundation for dealing with it: designing such artifacts, understanding their advantages and disadvantages, and organizing their use.
Meeting this foundational challenge requires concerted contributions from theoretical computer science, sociology, and communication theory. The proposed research is designed to afford just that. The objective of the proposed research is to develop a systematic conceptualization of computational regulation of human interaction by means of computational artifacts, with the specific aim of contributing to the conceptual foundation of research in coordination technologies in professional cooperative work settings. The research is foundational.
Velux Fondens humanvidenskabelige satsning