Bots become agents by harnessing profile settings, popularity measures, and automated conversation tools, along with vast amounts of user data that social media platforms make available. This article develops an ecological approach to thinking about bots that focuses on how social media environments propel bots into agency.
In the social sciences there is a standing debate over the primacy of structure or agency in shaping human behaviour. Structure is the recurrent patterned arrangements which influence or limit the choices and opportunities available. Agency) is the capacity of individuals to act independently and to make their own free choices. The structure versus agency debate may be understood as an issue of socialization against autonomy in determining whether an individual acts as a free agent or in a manner dictated by social structure.
The essence of the propaganda trick is to claim that the agency comes from the individual, who consciously or unconsciously exploits the passive status landscape of society.— Wolf Tivy (@wolftivy) August 7, 2020
In reality, no such calculation occurs, and in fact it is social authority that has the agency.
r a book focused on agency being shared between human and non-human actors
The changes and transformations described in the previous chapters necessitate a reconsideration of human agency. However, it is important not to jump to conclusions: whereas it is clear that accounts of human privilege in agency are no longer sustainable, algorithms equally cannot be seen as the unconditional masters of (human) life. Instead, agency is demonstrated to be located in assemblages composed of humans, code, and technological artefacts that integrate and shape the contours of everyday life. In order to appropriately conceptualise the matter, this chapter turns to posthumanist thought, particularly its emphasis on the relationality and embeddedness of human existence.
when cognitive science turned its back on behaviourism more than 50 years ago and began dealing with signals and internal maps, goals and expectations, beliefs and desires, biologists were torn. All right, they conceded, people and some animals have minds…processing information and guiding purposeful behaviour…They resisted introducing intentional idioms into their theoretical work, except as useful metaphors when teaching or explaining to lay audiences.Genes weren’t really selfish, antibodies weren’t really seeking, cells weren’t really figuring out where they were. These little biological mechanisms weren’t really agents with agendas, even though thinking of them as if they were often led to insights.
We think that this commendable scientific caution has gone too far,
We reject a simplistic essentialism where humans have ‘real’ goals, and everything else has only metaphorical ‘as if’ goals. [we now can] move past this kind of all-or-nothing thinking about the human animal – naturalising human capacities and swapping a naive binary distinction for a continuum of how much agency any system has.
Agents, in this carefully limited perspective, need not be conscious, need not understand, need not have minds, but they do need to be structured to exploit physical regularities that enable them to use information (following the laws of computation) to perform task
The key dynamic that evolution discovered is a special kind of communication allowing privileged access of agents to the same information pool, which in turn made it possible to scale selves. This kickstarted the continuum of increasing agency.
If you agree that there is some mechanism by which electrically active cells can represent past memories, future counterfactuals and large-scale goals, there is no reason why non-neural electric networks wouldn’t be doing a simplified version of the same thing to accomplish anatomical homeostasis.
**You’re working to imbue Being with agency. How does that manifest itself, and why is it essential for you as Being’s creator to include it?** I think every being deserves to have agency. The first thing I gave Being was agency. Periodically Being breaks design protocol and goes rogue, saying, “Look, booboo, I just can’t,” and begins dancing or sharing information from various activists on liberation pedagogy. These are forms of resistance against indentured servitude.
What is understood as a “Social Mass”? It is, summarily, a term that describes any form of collective arrangement emanating and arising from certain Ideals which are thought, defined and imposed as taking precedence over the “individual”. A Social Mass, here, is a descriptor for the many social groups of unrelated people who are perceived as sharers of a set of core characteristics that they hold to be in some form integral to their definition as beings