Distributed artificial intelligence, diversity and information literacy

Peter Kåhre


My proposal is based on my doctoral dissertation On the Shoulders of AI-technology : Sociology of Knowledge and Strong Artificial Intelligence which I succesfully defended on May 29th 2009. E-published http://www.lu.se/o.o.i.s?id=12588&postid=1389611

The dissertation is concerned with Sociology’s stance in the debate on Strong Artificial Intelligence,.i.e. AI-systems that is able to shape knowledge on their own. There is a need for sociologists to realize the difference between two approaches to constructing AI systems: Symbolic AI (or Classic AI) and Connectionistic AI in a distributed model – DAI. Sociological literature shows a largely critical attitude towards Symbolic AI, an attitude that is justified. The main theme of the dissertation is that DAI is not only compatible with Sociology’s approach to what is social, but also constitutes an apt model of how a social system functions. This is consolidated with help from german sociologist Niklas Luhmann’s social systems theory.

A lot of sociologists criticize AI because they think that diversity is important and can only be comprehended in informal circumstances that only humans interacting together can handle. They mean that social intelligence is needed to make something out of diversity and informalism. Luhmann´s systems theory gives the opposite perspective. It tells us that it is social systems that communicate and produce new knowledge structures out of contincency. Psychological systems, i.e. humans, can only think within the circumstances the social system offer. In that way human thoughts are bound by formalism. Diversity is constructed when the social systems interact with complexity in their environments. They reduce the complexity and try to present it as meaningful diversity.

Today when most of academic literature is electronically stored and is accessible through the Internet from al over the world, DAI can help social systems to observe and reduce complexity in this global dimension. It is pointed out that human consciousness is limited in handling this global dimension. Therefore is it reasonable to argue that DAI in at least this dimension has a stronger intelligence than humans have.

I will argue that Luhmann´s social theory and DAI give a god model to analyze the conditions for diversity in the Internet society. Further, the discussion about strong AI gives a lot of opportunities to discuss what sort of information literacy is needed and it also gives some perspective to discuss the concept of IL I have observed that the concept has evolved from something that coined some formal capacities, to something that has to do with a capacity to observe informal relations. That discussion can easily be compared to a parallel discussion within the debate about strong AI.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15845/noril.v3i1.133

Copyright (c) 2011 Peter Kåhre

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