Infrastructure of intention

30 Jan 2021 03:59 - 26 May 2021 08:49

    • In 2013 I wrote down some questions that seem related to the theme of agency, although I wasn't using that term. This is a lightly-revised version of that list:
      • How do humans and animals manage their various divergent intentions? (Freud, Tinbergen, Marvin Minsky)
      • How do individual goals relate to social structures and institutions? (all of sociology and political science, at the moment particularly Charles Tilly and Mary Douglas)
      • How does goal-directed behavior work in human activity that is clearly non-functional in any simple way, like religion, art, and play?
    • And some of the questions dealt more specifically with how intentions, goals, and purposes are embodied in software
      • How do computer programs embody purpose? (AI)
      • Can/should/how can software embody and extend human goal structures (the CSCW field, but originating maybe with Doug Engelbart)
      • What would the world look like if computational infrastructure actually supported goals in a powerful way (lots of science fiction, mostly with a dystopian flavor, but for a somewhat more cheery spin, Bruce Sterling's story¬†Maneki Neko)
    • Big fucking questions, aren't they? And quite out of scale compared with my ability to provide answers, but they won't leave me alone.