Modeling and Forecasting Information Technology

The PDF format is used to allow ease of reuse of figures and text, quoted with citation.

Publication citations are given where a version of the report has been published. Often material has been edited in publication and the cited version differs to some extent.

Perspectives on fifth generation computing, Brian R Gaines, Oxford Surveys in Information Technology, 1, 1-53, 1984. PDF.

In 1981 the Japanese announced a program of research on a fifth generation of computing systems (FGCS) that will integrate advances in very large scale integration, data base systems, artificial intelligence, and the human computer interface into a new range of computers that are closer to people in their communication and knowledge processing capabilities. The proposal was a shock at first but Western research quickly reoriented to match the Japanese program. This paper considers fifth generation computing from a wide range of perspectives in order to understand the logic behind the program, its chances of success, and its technical and social impact. The need for a consumer market for mass-produced powerful integrated circuits is shown to underlie the Japanese objectives. The project is placed in a historical perspective of work in computer science and related to the preceding generations of computers. The main projects in the Japanese program are summarized and discussed in relation to similar research elsewhere. The social implications of fifth generation developments are discussed and it is suggested that they grow out of society's needs. The role of fifth generation computers in providing a new medium for communication is analyzed. Finally, the basis for a Western response to the Japanese program is summarized.

Sixth generation computing: a conspectus of the Japanese proposals, Brian R Gaines, ACM SIGART Newsletter(95), 39-44, 1986. PDF.

This paper gives a precis of the sixth-generation computing systems research proposal, Promotion of Research and Development on Electronics and Information Systems That May Complement or Substitute for Human Intelligence. The proposal was requested by the Japanese Ministry of Science and Technology in January 1983, prepared by the Subcommittee on Artificial Intelligence of The Council for Aerospace, Electronics and Other Advanced Technologies, and submitted in March 1985. It proposes an interdisciplinary research program on the nature of human intelligence involving physiology, psychology, linguistics, logic and computer science.

A learning model for forecasting the future of information technology, Brian R Gaines and Mildred L G Shaw, Future Computing Systems 1(1), 31-69, 1986. PDF.

System-theoretic accounts of the epistemological processes underlying knowledge acquisition have been shown to apply to both individual human behavior and social development processes, and to enable algorithms to be developed for computer-based systems modeling. Such accounts are applicable to the upper levels of the hierarchy of autonomous systems to provide models of socio-economic behavior. In this paper they are applied to the development of information technology, and used to account for past events and predict future trends in relevant industries such as computing and genetic engineering. Underlying all developments in information technology is a tiered succession of learning curves which make up the infrastructure of the relevant industries. The paper provides a framework for the industries based on this logical progression of developments. It links this empirically to key events in the development of computing and genetic engineering. It links it theoretically to a model of economic, social, scientific and individual development as related learning processes with a simple phenomenological model. It uses this model to account for past developments in information technology and extrapolates it to predict future trends.

Engineering knowledge: artificial intelligence, robotics and future society., Brian R Gaines, Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineering Proceedings of Canadian Engineering Centennial Convention. pp.19.1-19.23.
Also published as: From information to knowledge technology, Future Computing Systems 2(4), 377-407, 1990. PDF.

Information technology is in a process of transition from information processing to knowledge processing. Knowledge-based systems are already significant economically, and leading to major social change. We have to grasp new concepts of engineering knowledge, understanding its economics and dynamics, and processing it from raw materials to knowledge-based products. Information technology can best be understood as a phenomenon of the life world, generated by, and supporting its processes. Its manifestations in computing and genetic engineering are part of the search for complexity-reduction and improved anticipation of the future that motivates all human activity. Identifying the social needs underlying the generation of knowledge-based systems enables the requirements to be projected, and guesses made as to the forms of technology that will satisfy them, the types of society that will result, and the moral and ethical dilemmas that will have to be faced. This address reviews advances in artificial intelligence and robotics, and their impact on the engineering profession and social issues.

Adapting to a highly automated world, Brian R Gaines, Canadian Engineering Centennial Convention: Proceedings of Electrical Engineering Sessions. IEEE 87TH0186-7, 42-49, 1987. PDF.

This paper considers the role of technology in society and the concept of trust applied to technological systems. It analyzes the social and technical mechanisms existing for the containment of problems in terms of their capabilities to adapt to a highly automated world. Our adaption to the automated world that we have created requires engineering disciplines to formalize the social dimension of their activities as much as they have formalized the technological dimension. We can "trust" technology only to the extent that we can trust the engineering professions to accept the responsibility for this formalization. The complexity of modern technological systems and the social structures they serve is in danger of going beyond our conceptual capabilities to understand, anticipate and manage. A significant activity of all engineering professions must be to harness the power of modern information technology, of expert and knowledge-based systems, to enhance their abilities to model and manage the impacts of decisions falling within their professions.

Modeling and forecasting the information sciences, Brian R Gaines, Information Sciences, 57-58, 3-22, 1991. PDF.

A model of the development of the information sciences is described and used to account for past events and predict future trends, particularly fifth and sixth generation priorities. The information sciences came into prominence as electronic device technology enabled the social need to cope with an increasingly complex world to be satisfied. Underlying all developments in computing is a tiered succession of learning curves which make up the infrastructure of the computing industry. The paper provides a framework for the information sciences based on this logical progression of developments. It links this empirically to key events in the development of computing. It links it theoretically to a model of economic, social, scientific and individual development as related learning processes with a simple phenomenological model. The fifth generation development program with its emphasis on human-computer interaction and artificial intelligence, and the sixth generation research program with its emphasis on knowledge science are natural developments in the foci of attention indicated by the model.

Modeling the human factors of scholarly communities supported through the Internet and World Wide Web, Brian R Gaines, Li L-J Chen and Mildred L G Shaw, Journal American Society Information Science, 48(11), 987-1003, 1997. PDF.

The Internet (the net) and World Wide Web (the web) have grown rapidly in the past decade and have come to play a major role in supporting discourse and publication in scholarly communities. The development and application of new services has been very rapid with little central planning, and, despite the widespread use, there is little information as yet on the human factors of the use of the net and web. In particular, models of the human factors of individuals interacting with workstations have to be extended to take into account the essential social aspects of computer-mediated discourse and publication. This article provides a framework for analyzing the utility, usability and likeability of net and web services, and illustrates its application to significant aspects of supporting scholarly communities. The utility of the net and web are measured in terms of the growth of usage, and the different services involved are distinguished in terms of their specific utilities. A layered protocol model is used to model discourse through the net, and is extended to encompass interaction in communities. An operational criterion for distinguishing different communities is defined in terms of the types of awareness that resource providers and users have of one another. A temporal model of discourse processes is developed that enables the spectrum of services ranging from real-time discourse to long-term publication to be analyzed in a unified framework. The dimensions of awareness and time are used to characterize and compare the full range of net services, and model their unification through the next generation of web browsers.

The learning curves underlying convergence, Brian R Gaines, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 57(1), 7-34, 1998. PDF.

The convergence of telecommunications and computing technologies and services into a new medium offering integrated services through digital networks was predicted in the 1970s and is beginning to have major social and commercial impacts in the 1990s. This article analyzes the technological infrastructure of convergence to an information highway, tracing the origins of the concept, the false starts, the growth and origins of the Internet and World Wide Web, convergence as a substitution process, and the learning curves of the technologies involved. A number of substitution processes underlying convergence are identified: electronic for mechanical devices; digital for analog devices; and general-purpose programmable devices for special-purpose devices. A model of convergence in terms of a tiered infrastructure of learning curves in information technology is proposed and used to explain the past and forecast the future.

HCI in the next millennium: supporting the world mind, Brian R Gaines, in Sasse, M.A. & Johnson, C.. (Eds). Human-Computer Interaction: INTERACT'99. Amsterdam: IOS Press. 18-30, 1999. PDF.

This presentation uses three worlds, collective stance and learning curves perspectives to analyze developments in human-computer interaction. It argues from historic data that the human interests have remained unchanged over at least five millennia, and may be expected to have the same basis during the next millennium. It concludes that we are still at a very early stage in the development of HCI, and that the major impact of the technology on our societies is yet to come. To understand the issues involved we will need greater understanding of the operation of our societies, their economies, politics and cultures, and how these evolve under the influence of environmental factors including advances in information technologies.

Knowledge capture through the millennia: from cuneiform to the semantic web, Brian R Gaines, Proceedings K-CAP'11 Proceedings Sixth International Conference Knowledge Capture. New York: ACM, 2011. PDF.

As we celebrate twenty-five years of knowledge capture research we can view it from a short-term perspective as a substantial component of the sixty-year development of digital computing technologies, or from a long-term perspective as part of the most recent segment of the hundred millennia evolution of recorded knowledge processes that have shaped our civilization. We can trace the development of knowledge capture processes similar to those we now study: from the Neolithic origins of our civilization; through the Babylonian development of mathematics and writing; Greek innovations in logic, ontology and science, and their medieval elaboration; the development of formal logics, metaphysical systems and sciences stemming from the scientific revolution; to the computational implementation of knowledge representation, capture, inference and their ubiquitous application in our current information age. This presentation outlines major events in the trajectory of knowledge capture processes over the millennia, focusing on those relevant to where we are now and where we may be going. It encompasses: the evolution of civilization from archeological, economic, socio-cultural and systemic perspectives; highlights in the formalization of knowledge capture processes through the ages; trajectories of the development of knowledge technologies supporting its representation, capture and use; to projections of expected major issues and advances in the next quarter century.

Knowledge acquisition: past, present and future, Brian R Gaines, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 71(2), 135-156, 2013. PDF.

As we celebrate the fiftieth knowledge acquisition conference this year it is appropriate to review progress in knowledge acquisition techniques not only over the quarter century since the conference series began but backwards through the millennia to the beginnings of knowledge capture and forwards through the foreseeable future to speculate on reasonable expectations, appropriate targets and potential surprises in the next quarter century.

Hyperconnected civilizations: Some historic perspectives, Brian R Gaines PDF.

It is natural to focus on the impact of modern information systems on our civilization as a recent phenomenon resulting from the unprecedented growth in the capabilities of information technology over the past seventy years. It is also natural for those developing the technology to focus on its intended benefits rather than potential adverse side effects. However, the impact of information technology on our everyday lives, societies and civilizations reflects basic human needs and motivations that have changed little throughout recorded history, and have both positive and negative aspects. This chapter provides a historic perspective on the development of hyperconnectivity in terms of the human needs that it addresses and the growth of the infrastructure of information technology. The overall objective is to provide greater understanding of its engagement with all aspects of society, and to provide conceptual frameworks for projecting its future development and social impact.


CPCS 10-Jun-2014