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Cyber-physical systems and social machines

Cyber-physical systems and social machines
Cyber-physical systems and social machines
Social machines have long been a topic of theoretical and empirical interest for the Web and Internet science community. Although there is no widespread agreement as to the precise meaning of the term “social machine,” the term has served as something of a conceptual anchor for research efforts into a number of online systems, such as Facebook, Wikipedia, and Galaxy Zoo. Recently, the term “social machine” has surfaced in a somewhat different disciplinary context. In particular, it has been applied to systems that are commonly referred to as cyber-physical systems. Here, the residual ambiguity surrounding the meaning of the term “social machine” has stymied efforts to understand the nature of the relationship between social machines and cyber-physical systems. This situation is further complicated by the absence of a precise conceptual understanding of cyber-physical systems. The present paper outlines an approach to understanding both social machines and cyber-physical systems that is intended to resolve this impasse. Inspired by recent work in the philosophy of science, we present a mechanistic (or neo-mechanical) account of social machines that draws attention to the features of socio-technical mechanisms. Such an account, we suggest, is able to accommodate the intuitions of Web scientists regarding the nature of social machines, while simultaneously illuminating the nature of the relationship between social machines and cyber-physical systems. As an added bonus, the account speaks to the interdisciplinary concerns of the Web science community by highlighting a link between the science of social machines and mechanism-based approaches in the social sciences.
Social Machines, Internet of Things, Cyber-Physical Systems, Mechanisms, Socio-Technical Systems, Analytical Sociology
Smart, Paul
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O'hara, Kieron
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Cox, Adrian JM
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Hall, Wendy
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Smart, Paul
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O'hara, Kieron
0a64a4b1-efb5-45d1-a4c2-77783f18f0c4
Cox, Adrian JM
12611b03-7a86-4c09-af6c-6cf9855e3caa
Hall, Wendy
11f7f8db-854c-4481-b1ae-721a51d8790c

Smart, Paul, O'hara, Kieron, Cox, Adrian JM and Hall, Wendy (2020) Cyber-physical systems and social machines 10pp. (doi:10.2139/ssrn.3705252).

Record type: Monograph (Working Paper)

Abstract

Social machines have long been a topic of theoretical and empirical interest for the Web and Internet science community. Although there is no widespread agreement as to the precise meaning of the term “social machine,” the term has served as something of a conceptual anchor for research efforts into a number of online systems, such as Facebook, Wikipedia, and Galaxy Zoo. Recently, the term “social machine” has surfaced in a somewhat different disciplinary context. In particular, it has been applied to systems that are commonly referred to as cyber-physical systems. Here, the residual ambiguity surrounding the meaning of the term “social machine” has stymied efforts to understand the nature of the relationship between social machines and cyber-physical systems. This situation is further complicated by the absence of a precise conceptual understanding of cyber-physical systems. The present paper outlines an approach to understanding both social machines and cyber-physical systems that is intended to resolve this impasse. Inspired by recent work in the philosophy of science, we present a mechanistic (or neo-mechanical) account of social machines that draws attention to the features of socio-technical mechanisms. Such an account, we suggest, is able to accommodate the intuitions of Web scientists regarding the nature of social machines, while simultaneously illuminating the nature of the relationship between social machines and cyber-physical systems. As an added bonus, the account speaks to the interdisciplinary concerns of the Web science community by highlighting a link between the science of social machines and mechanism-based approaches in the social sciences.

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cyberphysical social machines - Author's Original
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Published date: 10 October 2020
Keywords: Social Machines, Internet of Things, Cyber-Physical Systems, Mechanisms, Socio-Technical Systems, Analytical Sociology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 444741
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/444741
PURE UUID: 52d4a672-88c2-473f-9fe7-cacf13ba8e47
ORCID for Paul Smart: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9989-5307
ORCID for Kieron O'hara: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-9051-4456
ORCID for Adrian JM Cox: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-7847-0676
ORCID for Wendy Hall: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-4327-7811

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 03 Nov 2020 17:30
Last modified: 18 Feb 2021 17:00

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