Sunday, November 01, 2009

Philosophy and Ethics of Social Reality

I just ran across an interesting conference announcement, SOCREAL 2010: Second International Workshop on Philosophy and Ethics of Social Reality. The conference summary is:

In the past two decades, a number of logics and game theoretical analyses have been proposed and combined to model various aspects of social interaction among agents including individual agents, organizations, and individuals representing organizations. The aim of SOCREAL Workshop is to bring together researchers working on diverse aspects of such interaction in logic, philosophy, ethics, computer science, cognitive science and related fields in order to share issues, ideas, techniques, and results.

Topics will include:

  • Language (or communication) as part of social reality
  • Speech acts (or communicative acts) as what shape social reality
  • Moral commitments (and conflicts) in social interaction
  • Logic and game theory as tools for studying social reality
  • (Organized) collective agency
  • Norms and normative systems
  • Social institutional facts and their dynamics

From my own perspective, presently, software agents operate at a rather primitive level with little more than basic data transfer and simple control, but eventually software agents will evolve into intelligent agents whose activity is more in the line of social behavior, including ethics and the behavior of groups and even organizations and institutions of software agents. And, of course, software agents are acting as agents for other entities, whether computational, or human. There certainly is a lot of ground to be broken. It is at least heartening that people are beginning to scratch the surface of the potential for social reality of computational entities.

Eventually, somebody will realize that these social agents are communicating in a language and that language has semantics and that there is a potential for a great semantic abyss between the various communities of social agents, as well as a vast semantic abyss between these computational agents and their real world "masters".

Great challenges and great opportunities.

-- Jack Krupansky