A Taxonomic Framework for Social Machines

Smart, Paul R, Simperl, Elena and Shadbolt, Nigel (2014) A Taxonomic Framework for Social Machines In, Miorandi, Daniele, Maltese, Vincenzo, Rovatsos, Michael, Nijholt, Anton and Stewart, James (eds.) Social Collective Intelligence: Combining the Powers of Humans and Machines to Build a Smarter Society. Berlin, Germany, Springer pp. 51-85. (doi:10.1007/978-3-319-08681-1_3).


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As the Web has developed into a global social platform there has been increasing interest in a particular class of systems known as 'social machines'. Social machines are typically presented as systems that combine some form of social participation with conventional forms of machine-based 'computation'. Beyond this rather general characterization, however, there is little consensus as to what the term 'social machine' actually means. Furthermore, little has been done to explore the core features of social machines and examine differences between them. This limits our understanding of the kinds of social machines that currently exist, and it also limits our ability to imagine the kinds of social machine that could emerge in the future. In this chapter, we introduce a taxonomy for the description and classification of social machines that could be used to frame future scholarly discourse and identify aspects of the social machine research effort that deserve further consideration. As part of this effort, we propose a definition of social machines that puts them in relation to the broader class of socio-technical systems, while distinguishing them from other kinds of technology-mediated social participation system; for example, human computation systems and collective intelligence systems. The taxonomic framework we present serves to extend our understanding of social machines. It includes a total of 33 dimensions and 106 associated characteristics. Together, these specify the space of all (theoretically possible) social machine types.

Item Type: Book Section
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1007/978-3-319-08681-1_3
Keywords: social machines, social computing, Web science, collective intelligence, social Web, taxonomy, socio-technical systems, human computation, crowdsourcing
Organisations: Web & Internet Science
ePrint ID: 362359
Date :
Date Event
1 October 2014Published
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2014 16:47
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2017 14:16
Further Information:Google Scholar
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/362359

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