The Institute of Philosophy of the Research Center for the Humanities of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences kindly invites you to the upcoming talk of its seminar series:
András Benedek & Gyuri Lajos
"Augmenting Personal Knowledge I"
Towards a Post Critical Conceptualization Framework
Date and Venue of the lecture: 10th June 2014, 4.00 pm, Institute of Philosophy, Research Centre for the Humanities, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 30. Országház Street, 2. floor, "Pepita" room.
Towards a Post-Critical Conceptualization Framework
In the very years of the 1960s in which computational semantics and machine representations of scientific conceptualization appeared to converge into a happy symbiosis, alternative approaches sought to address problem solving with a view not to simulate but to augment the human intellect. These approaches did not attempt to demarcate personal and objective knowledge, rather they viewed cognitive structures and their externalizations as co-evolving systems. They generalized the so called “Sapir-Whorf hypothesis” (both in a cultural and technological sense) to unfold a new approach which we may call Neo-Whorfianism, developing the central claim that cognitive conceptual structures co-evolve with the means of their externalization. Augmentation research proceeds from this point with the insight that the externalization of human symbol manipulation influences both our language and our way of thinking and it can be given computer support to “reveal the subtle relationships among its interacting elements”.
Unwrapping D.C. Engelbart’s Augementation Research Program this talk, the first of a two part presentation which seeks to supply a “post critical” framework for augmented conceptualization, focuses on computer supported meaning construction and emergent semantics. Linking our approach to the beginnings of General Semantics (Korzybski, 1933), processual semiotics (Pierce, 1909), and conceptions that paved the way from association theories to knowledge organization and Augmentation Research (Engelbart 1962), we “show rather than tell” how the first augmented oNLine System (NLS) proposed to provide computer support for the collaborative solution of complex problems. We point out in light of current problems of the semantic web, that the basic insights behind its conceptual framework are just as relevant today as they were before the commercialization of the Internet changed the course of events. Anticipating some of the historical points of the second presentation we support these claims by our implementation of a knowledge organization environment, WikiNizer™Research, which delivers a semantic visualisation framework for human conceptualization.
WikiNizer™Research is a personal knowledge organization tool that augments the conceptualization of personal knowledge without losing sight of its social and collaborative aspects. It uses Wiki-like visual semantic knowledge management in the conviction that a visualised meta reflective analysis of Knowledge Architectures (in the form of concept nets, and higher Conceptual Architectures) helps us discover effective concepts. WikiNizer™Research, creates dynamic graph based visual structures which articulate the relationships that exist within knowledge domains, and facilitate the emergence of new concepts in the form of associated complexes of contents organized in page based graph structures. After outlining the advantages of graph structures we claim that the uniform treatment of intent dependent sorts, attributes, aspects, and typed relations within some given material supplies us with a technological key to conceptual reorganization at the meta levels of the knowledge graph. At the same time it makes possible the simultaneous mapping of the corresponding changes into the organization of the domain knowledge. We argue that computer supported bootstrapping of these architectures, by rendering the evolving externalization of our conceptualization more explicit, enables us to generate more effective concepts. Our first experiences going on the “WikiNizer Way” of conceptualization confirm that concept maps and tools of conceptualization which aim to enhance our visual knowledge organization and symbol-structuring, should not only aim to supply static computational representations, (e.g., ontologies) of inter-personal knowledge but they should also support the situated dynamics of concept formation. Unlike ‘God’s eye’ conceptions of ontology building we note that the externalization of semantic information is intent dependent, and point out that defining new relations and discovering semantically rich structures is a precondition of emergent semantics and meaning construction.
The explication of our main reasons for implementing a dynamic visual conceptualization environment makes clear that some features of this environment existed prior to the Turing Galaxy, as scientists sought to manipulate, cluster, and catalogue objects in the world, and created tools for recording spatio-temporal processes. A computational integration of intent dependent problem solving with dynamic concept organization is far from being achieved however, fifty years after Engelbart’s first implementation of a conceptual framework for Augmenting the Human Intellect.
The second part of the talk is to be given in autumn, the abstract of which can be accessed here.