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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Wilhelmus de Wilde: on 6/13/14 at 15:24pm UTC, wrote dear Ray Congratulations with your high community rating and admission to...

Ray Luechtefeld: on 6/7/14 at 3:39am UTC, wrote Thanks Laurence.

Ray Luechtefeld: on 6/7/14 at 3:37am UTC, wrote Thanks Eckard, I'll check that out. We have benefited from many great...

Ray Luechtefeld: on 6/7/14 at 3:30am UTC, wrote Thanks Peter.

Ray Luechtefeld: on 6/7/14 at 3:28am UTC, wrote Hi James, (sorry, for some reason this was posted as "anonymous" below") ...

Anonymous: on 6/7/14 at 3:24am UTC, wrote Hi James, It is possible, but would require a considerable effort. The...

Laurence Hitterdale: on 6/7/14 at 3:00am UTC, wrote Hello Ray, Thanks for your comments of May 29. Unfortunately, work...

James Blodgett: on 6/7/14 at 0:55am UTC, wrote Hello Ray I wonder if it would be possible as an experiment to implement a...


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FQXi FORUM
April 20, 2019

CATEGORY: How Should Humanity Steer the Future? Essay Contest (2014) [back]
TOPIC: Steering Humanity's Future with the Dialogic Web by Ray Luechtefeld [refresh]
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Author Ray Luechtefeld wrote on Apr. 24, 2014 @ 13:20 GMT
Essay Abstract

Visions of utopia abound. Yet the work of philosophers and organizational theorists suggest that a transformation toward a better world must begin from within. Some renowned thinkers believe difficulties with such a transformation are tied to the way we perceive and interact with one another; the intersubjective world. This essay briefly describes the essentials of how Bakhtin, Habermas, and Argyris describe ideal interactions. It proposes a "dialogic web", which is an extension of existing web technologies, to develop humanity's potential to interact with one another in a way that will create the best possible future for humanity.

Author Bio

RAY LUECHTEFELD received his Ph.D. from Boston College in Organization Studies with a focus on organizational change and transformation. He holds an MBA from the University of Minnesota and a B.S.E.E. from the University of Missouri - Rolla. His career includes nine years with IBM developing communications hardware. His research interests focus on approaches to increasing organizational learning and effectiveness, particularly in turbulent organizational environments. He has been granted several patents for his work, and received a National Science Foundation CAREER award for the development and evaluation of portable, computationally intelligent team training.

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Conrad Dale Johnson wrote on Apr. 27, 2014 @ 15:34 GMT
Hi Ray,

I'm intrigued by your notion that we could develop something like a personalized software "conscience" to help us improve our interaction skills, as well as our ability to participate in an ongoing on-line dialogue on matters of common concern. In my essay on communications media I didn't get to the point of envisioning specific proposals, but I very much agree that changes in how we interact with each other are basic to the evolution of humanity. And my essay suggests that the modern shift in perspective toward intersubjectivity and interpersonal connection is at least partly a result of emerging electronic media.

One theme that comes up in your essay is the danger of "dialogic" technology becoming a means of centralized social control. I noticed too that your section on "Development of the Dialogic Web" envisions a largely top-down process for building and evaluating the software. I have doubts whether being "controlled by an unaffiliated nonprofit" is an effective bar to abuse. But I wonder if this kind of software might not be more likely to evolve in a bottom-up fashion, through contributions by a large group of users, rather than through the focused effort of "experts in organizational behavior, computer science, psychology and philosophy." After all, these personal dialogic agents would need to adapt to each person's unique perspective and mediate their unique relationships with other individuals.

Just as a minor note -- I found myself skimming through the first pages of your essay, which were very general, until you got to your main issues on page 3 and 4. From that point I found it very interesting reading.

Thanks -- Conrad

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Author Ray Luechtefeld replied on Apr. 27, 2014 @ 20:33 GMT
Hi Conrad,

As part of a grant I received from the National Science Foundation I've already developed a system that can be used as a software "conscience" as well as virtual facilitator (alpha level, which I used as part of a small number of studies on efficacy). The "dialogic web" is a step forward from that, because it will be supported by an architecture (like the semantic web) that...

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Michael Allan wrote on Apr. 29, 2014 @ 13:33 GMT
Hello Ray, May I offer a short, but sincere critique of your essay? I would ask you to return the favour. Here's my policy on that. - Mike

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Author Ray Luechtefeld replied on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 23:01 GMT
Yes, that would be great. I appreciate your taking the time to put together a policy.

Regards,

Ray

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Michael Allan replied on May. 4, 2014 @ 17:44 GMT
Thanks Ray, First I have a few questions. "At the final stage [of moral development] there is no need for laws" you claim, resting on Habermas, "With sufficient members of society at the final stage, one might achieve a state that has no need for laws". Where does Habermas make this claim? Do you have a citation? - Mike

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Author Ray Luechtefeld replied on May. 6, 2014 @ 22:04 GMT
Hi Mike,

Thanks for the question. In Habermas’ 1983 article on moral consciousness, he reinterprets Kohlberg’s stages of development as increasing levels of discourse ethics. He describes Stage 6, the postconventional stage, as follows:

Stage 6, the stage of universal ethical principles.

Content: This stage assumes guidance by universal ethical principles, that all...

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John Brodix Merryman wrote on Apr. 29, 2014 @ 17:51 GMT
Ray,

That is an interesting hypothesis.

A question though; What if such an open, democratic, inclusive social network proved to be naturally sustainably dynamic? Wouldn't it eventually outgrow its resources? Essentially what you suggest amounts to a positive feedback loop and they do exist throughout nature, but they then tend to be naturally balanced by negative feedback loops in order to maintain that natural equilibrium in which life must exist.

I suspect that on that grand scale, some form of convective cycle of expansion and consolidation must prevail and if we want a society truly in equilibrium with nature, there has to be some moral accommodation with negative processes. The price we must pay to feel is that some of it is pain.

Otherwise that perfect equilibrium ultimately will be a big flatline on the cosmic heart monitor.

Currently we have a financial system which has sold society on the premise of ultimately growing returns and currently much valuable social and environmental resources are being drained in order to sustain that illusion. In my entry, I propose that if we were to start thinking of money as the contract between a community and its members, which it in fact is, rather than a form of personal possession, the accumulation of which has become an end goal for many, then we would be more motivated to treat society and the environment as natural stores of wealth, rather than just sources to be mined. This, I would think, would further what must be our main goal, passing on a viable world to succeeding generations.

Regards,

John

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Author Ray Luechtefeld replied on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 23:30 GMT
Hi John,

I'm not sure if I am understanding clearly what you are asking, but I'll attempt a response and then if it doesn't respond well to you please let me know.

In one sense, the "resources" that are being addressed are forms of "knowledge". Knowledge is essentially free to reproduce in our current era, so I don't see that as a concern.

But there is the possibility of some...

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Anonymous replied on May. 7, 2014 @ 16:33 GMT
Ray,

Sorry to have left this for so long.

I do think we can function at a much higher level of interpersonal relations than we do now. The issue then becomes as to what inhibits us from reaching out and making those connections. Not to get too new agey about it, but having spent my life working with animals, specifically race horses, I think we have a far greater ability to connect...

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Joe Fisher wrote on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 16:01 GMT
Dear Mr. Luechtefeld,

I found your essay quite an interesting read and I do hope that it does well in the competition.

Regards,

Joe Fisher

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Author Ray Luechtefeld replied on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 23:03 GMT
Thanks Joe. I'm glad you found it interesting.

Ray

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Vladimir Rogozhin wrote on May. 14, 2014 @ 09:34 GMT
Dear Ray,

Thank you, very deep analytical essays and concept to a specific program of action. I have only one "but": "dialogical agent" and its necessity. I believe that the new concept of social networks should consider the real state of society , they must be self-organizing , on the new economic, social and technological principles. Otherwise, the danger of which you write, can destroy the idea of a "Dialogic Web».

It is very important that you give your deep philosophical foundation concept. The world situation is very alarming (politics, ecology, all existential risks) and therefore our responsibility to future Generations requires action. We need to hear the voice of the Earth, voice of the People to give up Hope to New Generation of Earthlings. We need a new "Big Common Cause" to save Peace, Nature and Humanity. Time has come and we start the path ... The New Era and a New Generation demanded action. We can not be utopian, we must be realistic and deeply aware of the dangers that threaten to Humanity.

Thank FQXi that brings together people for "brainstorming" on very important topics of modern Humanity and modern Science! I invite you to comment on and appreciate my ideas.

High regard,

Vladimir

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Author Ray Luechtefeld replied on May. 29, 2014 @ 16:19 GMT
Hi Vladimir,

I thought I had responded earlier, but didn't see it here. My apologies.

Yes, I agree on the need for self-organizing systems that reflect the real state of the society. I would add that there is a need to incorporate reflective feedback, as a system that can help society learn and change.

I also agree on the dangers that face humanity. To me, dialogic means taking into account the many perspectives that are relevant, which includes those related to global warming, the disenfranchised, and the powerless.

Thanks,

Ray

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Member Marc Séguin wrote on May. 28, 2014 @ 20:45 GMT
Ray,

Thank you for a very interesting essay. I thought I had pretty much looked at all the essays, but I somehow never got to yours. I find your idea of personal web-based "dialogic" agents helping us to better steer our lives and humanity as a whole, to be very promising. I hope your essay makes it to the finals, and I have rated it accordingly.

Good luck!

Marc

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Author Ray Luechtefeld replied on May. 29, 2014 @ 16:02 GMT
Thanks Marc,

My National Science Foundation CAREER award allowed me to make some great strides in understanding the requirements and parameters of this kind of system, and in developing and testing a prototype. I'm hoping that this will provide some contacts and collaborators to move it forward.

Ray Luechtefeld, PhD

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Don Limuti wrote on May. 29, 2014 @ 20:16 GMT
Hi Ray,

You have a most interesting and thought provoking essay. I liked it a lot and voted accordingly. I will also try to give it some PR on my blog, because I am concerned that you may not have enough total votes to be considered a finalist. Like Marc above, I am bewildered about how I missed your essay. Even Georgina did not comment on it (I usually look for Georgina's posts as a personal guide). Have you developed an over the ether cloaking device?

Your concept of using wiki concepts to promote meaningful dialog and understanding would be very useful. I think of it as an alternate to what we know as spam.

Wishing you much success,

Don Limuti

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Author Ray Luechtefeld replied on May. 29, 2014 @ 20:28 GMT
Thanks Don,

I'm an electrical engineer by training, but I'm not that good. :)

Besides, I thought that Michelson-Morley disproved the existence of the aether. :)

I appreciate the mention in a blog. I'm also looking for potential collaborators to take the prototype system I've developed (as part of a NSF CAREER award investigating approaches to team skill development) and move it to a more structured "dialogic web" platform - like has been done with the semantic web. So if you know of any potential collaborators who might add value, please send them my way.

With much appreciation,

Ray Luechtefeld, PhD

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Robert de Neufville wrote on May. 30, 2014 @ 00:20 GMT
I think you're right that we need to improve the way we communicate with one another, Ray. Better communication won't eliminate conflict over our different interests, but it would certainly help us navigate those conflicts. Much of my graduate work was on looking at political and social behavior through the lens of complexity theory, so I was excited to see that you use the theory in your essay. I admit I wasn't sure from your essay how specifically—after listening to their users—dialogic agents would facilitate communications. But your essay was very thought-provoking. I'll definitely rate it before the deadline. Good luck!

Best,

Robert

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Author Ray Luechtefeld replied on May. 30, 2014 @ 02:54 GMT
Hi Robert,

Thanks for your comments. To respond to your implicit question, the personal dialogic agents actually "talk" using text to speech, and "listen" using speech to text, to their users. The prototype I developed used only very basic computational intelligence to interact with users, but was still able to produce some significant changes in behavior, including, for example, in one study nudging teams using the system to ask more questions of their team members than teams in a control group. The expertise lies in developing the intervention approach, which is why psychologists, organization development experts, facilitators, etc., are needed to contribute.

Ray

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Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on May. 30, 2014 @ 01:09 GMT
Hi Ray,

I found your essay fascinating. In many instances it seemed that you are calling for an enhanced 'political correctness' (which would be horrible in my estimation) but then other statements seem to indicate just the opposite.

For example "little acts of disrespect" impede success, and "their ephemeral nature makes them hard to prove (or even to detect) without skilled observers...". I'm not sure I think it's worthwhile to try to uncover "little acts of disrespect" if it requires skilled observers to do so. There seem to be enough "big acts of disrespect" to go around.

You clearly are aware of the problems with utopias, as you quote Karl Popper: "the attempt to make heaven on earth invariably produces hell." And you mentioned the tensions between freedom and the controls needed to "maximize long-term public good."

I did enjoy your discussion of Kohlberg, Bakhtin, Habermas, and Argyris very much, particularly Habermas' three points. While I am all for the concept, the critics do have a point about effort and time.

The above reflects my confusion on what exactly is being called for. On a technical point, I use 'Dragon' voice recognition software to dictate (such as this comment) and, while it is almost miraculous in its ability to understand the words I speak, I have very strong doubts about the possibility of understanding the *meaning*of my words. Is the technology you propose supposed to understand conversations, or simply look for patterns based on data mining, and the fact that so much of our speech is redundant and habitual?

Thanks for reading my essay and commenting and thanks for your participation in this contest. I will make sure you have the necessary 10 votes needed to qualify for finals.

Best regards,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Anonymous replied on May. 30, 2014 @ 03:28 GMT
Hi Eugene,

Thanks for your comment. "Little acts of disrespect" refers to the micro-inequities that are a result of hidden bias. However if they are recorded and viewed together, the bias is apparent. A personal dialogic agent can be set up to capture a record of these micro-inequities, and then guide users through a conversation about how they occur, and even develop indicators of how...

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Author Ray Luechtefeld wrote on May. 30, 2014 @ 03:34 GMT
Hi again Eugene,

Sorry, my last post appeared as "anonymous". I'm re-posting here...

Hi Eugene,

Thanks for your comment. "Little acts of disrespect" refers to the micro-inequities that are a result of hidden bias. However if they are recorded and viewed together, the bias is apparent. A personal dialogic agent can be set up to capture a record of these micro-inequities, and...

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Cristinel Stoica wrote on May. 30, 2014 @ 14:52 GMT
Dear Ray,

Very inspiring, well documented, profound and well written essay! I find interesting the idea of a dialogic web, and I think someday it will become reality in one form or another. Good luck with the contest!

Best regards,

Cristi

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Author Ray Luechtefeld wrote on May. 30, 2014 @ 16:45 GMT
Dear Cristi,

Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I am going to make the dialogic web a reality, I just need to find the right support to help design and build it. Way back in 1973 Mark Granovetter wrote a paper on the "strength of weak ties", illustrating how connections between minimally connected groups can lead to novel information flows. I'm hoping that this forum will lead to some connections to help with architecting and building the dialogic web. If not, I'll continue working to find some connections that can do that. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Best regards,

Ray

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Peter Jackson wrote on May. 30, 2014 @ 20:32 GMT
Ray,

Nice essay. I note your comment about M&M and ether above. Interestingly the later Michelson Gore Pearson experiment, larger scale with better equipment (1926 I think) firmly concluded an ether frame. That result has been as well censored and subjugated as Einstein's 1954 paper which is actually consistent with it.

We'll never really advance understanding while science remains led by myth and belief. History shows what really steers the future id scientific advancement.

I've found Millers experiments far more interesting, supporting a hypothesis I postulated applying J D Jackson extinction distances through the atmosphere; he found decreasing birefringence at lower altitudes, and the (still non-zero) M&M result at sea level.

I hope you get a chance to read mine (the previous ones prepare SR's interpretation consistently for the unification).

Best wishes. I feel your views are more forward looking than cataloguing our errors, though shouldn't we really better study and learn from the feedback?

Peter

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Author Ray Luechtefeld replied on Jun. 7, 2014 @ 03:30 GMT
Thanks Peter.

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James Lee Hoover wrote on May. 31, 2014 @ 03:55 GMT
Ray,

This must be a rather general vector from your doctoral thesis, steering the future with your obvious organizational skills and learning. Quite an impressive and extended development of an apparatus for collaborative steering. Most essays are heavy on what. Yours is heavy on the how, the most difficult part of this exercise. We know what needs to be done, but entrenched forces and their benificiaries -- though becoming less plentiful -- who now control, make it rather difficult to accomplish. You fill in the details quite neatly: education, internet medium, dialogic web, and a comparative endeavor that works -- Wikipedia.

My essay is heavy on what needs to be done and the forces that need to be neutralized. My how is not so detailed -- looking beyond (the orthodox) and within the mind -- the neural universe.

I would like to see your coment on my essay: http://www.fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2008

Jim

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Eckard Blumschein wrote on May. 31, 2014 @ 07:58 GMT
Dear Ray Luechtefeld,

Since you were developing communication hardware, you might hopefully appreciate my intention to advocate causality. May I ask you to check at topic/2021 my recent reply to Toth where I am defending my claim that ethics needs an inclusion.

I didn't derive this from Juergen Habermaas. Instead I refer to other as I consider rational thinkers like Alfred Nobel, Claude Shannon, Karl Popper, and Galileo Galilei.

Curious,

Eckard

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Author Ray Luechtefeld replied on Jun. 7, 2014 @ 03:37 GMT
Thanks Eckard, I'll check that out. We have benefited from many great thinkers, and they share many connections. For example, Popper's demarcation criterion of falsifiability is also connected to Argyris practice of "Action Science", which emphasizes the search for disconfirmation over confirmation.

Ray

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Thomas Howard Ray wrote on Jun. 1, 2014 @ 13:16 GMT
Ray,

What a breath of fresh air to see moral science philosophy take a front seat. Our essays are based on the same theme that you nicely summed up, "In an ideal society the self - management of individual interactions would be achieved by the citizenry through free will, rather than through the imposition of law ..."

I agree that high level networked communication is integral to any system approaching that ideal; in addition, though, I think that the web of physical resources plays an equal part.

I am grateful for the extended deadline that allows me to rate you with a deservedly high mark.

Best,

Tom

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James Blodgett wrote on Jun. 7, 2014 @ 00:55 GMT
Hello Ray

I wonder if it would be possible as an experiment to implement a human version of your dialog web in some discussion space. By human I mean that volunteer moderators simulate some of the role of your dialog agents. Or is the software ready?

We have some dialog space used for Lifeboat Foundation discussions that might work.

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Author Ray Luechtefeld replied on Jun. 7, 2014 @ 03:28 GMT
Hi James, (sorry, for some reason this was posted as "anonymous" below")

It is possible, but would require a considerable effort. The question of whether the effort is worth it depends on the purpose of the experiment.

If it is meant to be a "valid" experiment (by which I mean, one that meets acceptable standards of scientific rigor, I have already done something like what you are...

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Laurence Hitterdale wrote on Jun. 7, 2014 @ 03:00 GMT
Hello Ray,

Thanks for your comments of May 29. Unfortunately, work requirements have not allowed me to reply before now. Your proposals for personal dialogic agents and dialogic web have merit. Best wishes for the finals judging and for future implementation of your proposals.

Laurence Hitterdale

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Author Ray Luechtefeld replied on Jun. 7, 2014 @ 03:39 GMT
Thanks Laurence.

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Anonymous wrote on Jun. 7, 2014 @ 03:24 GMT
Hi James,

It is possible, but would require a considerable effort. The question of whether the effort is worth it depends on the purpose of the experiment.

If it is meant to be a "valid" experiment (by which I mean, one that meets acceptable standards of scientific rigor, I have already done something like what you are proposing in my dissertation (see...

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Wilhelmus de Wilde de Wilde wrote on Jun. 13, 2014 @ 15:24 GMT
dear Ray

Congratulations with your high community rating and admission to the finalists pool.

I hope that the discussions continue so herewith I have the pleasure to sent you the link to my contribution : "STEERING THE FUTURE OF CONSCIOUSNESS" and hope for your comment(s).

Good luck with the "final judgement" and

best regards

Wilhelmus

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