IIIT Hyderabad Publications
Towards Construction of Social Automaton
Author: Sindhu Kiranmayi
Report no: IIIT/TH/2016/53
Age old classical problems of the theory of society have a contemporary new dimension with the advent of computer-mediated communication. New communications rapidly transformed the internet introducing the idea of the social web. The concept of social machines as socio-technical systems, in whose machinery both humans and technology play participatory roles has given a new definition of what is meant by the term ‘social’. In this contemporary context of social machines, we intend to develop the concept of a social automaton based on a formal approach to a theory of society. The research presented is a result of analytic inquiry into the origin of society and not historical or empirical inquiry. We ask an ontological question - what is the stuff of which society is made of? After all society is objectified as an entity, to which individuals belong and which somehow is constructed/- constituted by individuals. As a result of our inquiry, we present a symbolic automaton of an individual based on Buddhist Abhidhamma formal ontology of the individual. Further, by focusing on individual’s action we develop a social automaton which is capable of handling social objects like persona, roles, relations, manners, rituals etc. Such an automaton would contribute to evolving a wholesome idea of social machine which have human as well as technology components. With a bottom up approach, we first start by understanding the fabric of an individual human being who is the basic component of a society. We establish that for understanding social reality it is imperative to begin with the formal framework of individual which accommodates this reality. To understand the framework of individual, we take inspiration from Buddhist Abhidhamma theory which provides a formal model of man as a stream of consciousness. With this groundwork, we develop a computational model of an individual as a stochastic automaton. Based on our individual automaton model, we establish that psychological processes within an individual create scope for generation of social objects. As a computational use case, we populate the automaton model with social media data of the individual and provide a machine learning module to identify mental states from social media data. We then introduce the idea of dynamic evolving persona to personality mining, by analyzing the user’s personality in terms of evolving mental factors. Once we lay the foundation for an individual as psychological being, we then proceed to give an in-depth analysis of action in an individual. With action as the key synthetic signature of the individual vi vii as a social being, we extend our individual automaton to a social automaton. Based on action theory and the sequential psychological processes given by Abhidhamma, we introduce action into our individual automaton as a three tuple - intention, body action and consequence. Further, we provide causal closure of one’s action within the framework of individual automaton. This step leads to a social automaton which has within its framework processes to identify and generate social objects such as relations, roles and institutions. With this move, social reality is conceived around the framework of social automaton.
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