Technologies as artificial agents

We use technologies to interact with our physical environment, essentially to obtain energy and raw material, and to transform them into "whatever it is that we need". Until recently, technologies were firmly "under our thumb". That historic certainty is fading fast. In that emerging story, robots, algorithms, and Artificial Intelligence feature as prominent examples.

Organizations as artificial agents

Unlike the natural agents, which are born, artificial agents are human-made; artificial agents spring from human agency. I will introduce them as three groups that are not perfectly delineated: organizations, technologies, and socio-technical systems. Let's start with organizations, which we use to structure our interactions with others, be that for social, political, or economic purposes.

Natural agents

Within the natural agents, we find ourselves –humans– and any other biological organism, including animals, plants, fungi, and even unicellular life forms. However, fluids or fire do not qualify as natural agents. Here's the story.

On agency

Second only to creativity, agency is the key ingredient that fuels our innovation engine. Hence innovators should develop a solid grasp of their own agency, and that of others. Today, I start a series of posts that will explore the concept of agency, what it is, what it is not. To achieve that goal, the series will look at the vast diversity of agents, what they have in common, and what makes an agent an agent.