ICT, Resilience, Complexity & Sensemaking

Last week I gave a seminar at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), renowned for its ground-breaking computing R&D in many fields, including Human-Computer Interaction, Hypertext and Sensemaking.

I was hosted by my long time colleague Maarten Sierhuis (formerly NASA Ames, now Manager of the Knowledge, Language & Interaction Area) and Gregorio Convertino (Augmented Social Cognition Area) who organised the CSCW 2010 Collective Intelligence workshop we attended last year.

As the abstract indicates, the ideas we’re developing connect to Learning Emergence themes of how ICT intersects with resilience thinking in complex adaptive systems (such as educational institutions or leaning networks), and sensemaking. As discussed in another talk, the learning power concept of resilience (and other ELLI dimensions) are relevant when it comes to discussing the habits and skills of staff when an organisation is confronted by overwhelming complexity.

ABSTRACT: To thrive, organizational entities (learning communities; teams of analysts; formal companies) must make sense of a complex, changing environment. Our interest is in how sociotechnical “collective intelligence” infrastructures may augment this capacity. We are seeking conceptual lenses that illuminate this challenge, and draw ideas from resilience thinking, sensemaking, and complexity science. We propose that these motivate the concept of Contested Collective Intelligence (CCI), and give examples of how the Cohere platform is being designed in response to these requirements. This is a social/semantic web annotation and knowledge mapping environment, with tools for monitoring networks of ideas and generating novel analytics. We also report experimental integration with the Xerox Incremental Parser, in order to evaluate human+machine annotation of knowledge-level claims expressed through rhetorical moves in documents.

BIOS: Simon Buckingham Shum is a Senior Lecturer and Associate Director (Technology) at the UK Open University’s Knowledge Media Institute (KMi), where he leads the Hypermedia Discourse Group. Following a PhD at U. York in HCI/Hypertext/Design Rationale (sponsored by Xerox EuroPARC) he has developed a human-centered computing perspective to the challenge of computer-supported sensemaking, reflected in the books Visualizing Argumentation and Knowledge Cartography. He co-founded the Compendium Institute and LearningEmergence.net. http://people.kmi.open.ac.uk/sbs

Anna De Liddo is a Research Associate in KMi, where she works with Simon on the Open Learning Network project (olnet.org), focusing on the design and development of a Collective Intelligence infrastructure for the Open Education Resources movement. She gained her PhD at Polytechnic of Bari, investigating ICT for Participatory Planning and Deliberation, after which she held a postdoctoral position in KMi evaluating human-centred argument mapping for Climate Change. http://people.kmi.open.ac.uk/anna

These demo movies show Cohere as a complement to the slides. More detailed presentations of some of the ideas summarised in this talk are in the following:

De Liddo, A.; Buckingham Shum, S.; Quinto, I.; Bachler, M. and Cannavacciuolo, L. (2011). Discourse-centric learning analytics. In: LAK 2011: 1st International Conference on Learning Analytics & Knowledge, 27 Feb – 01 Mar 2011, Banff, Alberta. Eprint: http://oro.open.ac.uk/25829

De Liddo, A. and Buckingham Shum, S. (2010). Cohere: A prototype for contested collective intelligence. In: ACM Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW 2010) – Workshop: Collective Intelligence In Organizations – Toward a Research Agenda, February 6-10, 2010, Savannah, Georgia, USA. Eprint: http://oro.open.ac.uk/19554

Buckingham Shum, S. and De Liddo, A. (2010). Collective intelligence for OER sustainability. In: OpenEd2010: Seventh Annual Open Education Conference, 2-4 Nov 2010, Barcelona, Spain. Eprint: http://oro.open.ac.uk/23352

Simon Buckingham Shum, Ágnes Sándor, Anna De Liddo & Michelle Bachler: Integrating Human & Machine Document Annotation for Sensemaking. Seminar, 11th November 2010, Knowledge Media Institute, The Open University, UK. http://olnet.org/node/512