Precedent-Oriented Approach to Human-Computer Activity

Precedent-Oriented Approach to Human-Computer Activity

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2987-3.ch006


In our research that was aimed at study of reflecting the various essences involved in designing the SISs onto the semantic memory, we have been conscious of the principle role of tasks (and especially new tasks) in the design process. New tasks are a useful source of experience units, models of which can be better prepared for reusing in personal or collective activity. This chapter represents our version of such models (as models of precedents for corresponding tasks). The basic feature of our version is the use of analogies between intellectual processing a solution of a new task and intellectual processing the conditioned reflexes that lead to generating the natural forms of human experience. The kernel of our version is a framework of the precedent model that includes components for expressing verbal, logical, analytical, graphical and programmatic views on reusable models of task that fulfill the role of experience models.
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1. Model Of Precedent As Unit Of Human Experience Used In Solving The Project Tasks

1.1. Behavioral View on Problem-Solving

At this section, we focus our research on a behavioral side of the designer’s activity in solutions of project tasks. Above some features of this side, we told at the end of section 3. For this side of a human-computer activity, in our research, we use the following position.

The life of any person exists and evolves via interactions with the naturally artificial world. The human side of interactions consists of behavioral units the most of which are repeatable. Such repeatable units of the human behavior are often referred to as precedents. Human life is based on precedents.

The precedent form of human activity was (created) by Nature in an evolution of a phenomenon called “conditioned reflex.” This step of the natural evolution as any prior steps can be interpreted as evolutionary experiments conducted by Nature. Therefore, it is possible to consider, that any precedent appears as a result of the corresponding experiment conducted by persons who solved the definite task and prepared its solution for the reuse.

An analysis of the richest set of practices of the experimentation as a type of the human activity suggests following their natural features (discovered by Nature and embodied to the human life):

  • 1.

    Using the natural language for interactions with surrounding (environment of experimenting) on the base of the natural experience

  • 2.

    Using other intellectual abilities (additional to the use of the natural language) inherent to man.

These features can be generalized in the following assertion “The precedent form of the human life is based on the intellectual processing of conditioned reflexes.” This understanding of the human behavior occupies the central place in our research described in this manuscript where we agree with the following definition “précédents are actions or decisions that have already happened in the past and which can be referred to and justified as an example that can be followed when the similar situation arises” (Precedent, 2011).

Thus, when creating SIS, designers solve the tasks of the project and develop models of tasks in forms of precedents for their future reuse. In this activity, they intellectually process the solution of tasks similarly “intellectual processing of conditioned reflexes.” The similarity suggests explicitly or implicitly conducting “experiments” results of which evolve the occupational experience of designers.

There are three ways for the appearance of the precedent and its model providing the reuse. The first way is connected with the intellectual processing of the definite behavior which happened in the past but was estimated by the human as a potential precedent for its reuse in the future. The second way is the creation of the precedent in parallel with its first performance, and the third way is an extraction of the precedent model from another’s experience and its models.

The toolkit WIQA supports all of these ways in the implementation of which designers use the specialized framework for the model of the precedent. We defined the structure and semantic of this framework with the orientation on the following positions:

  • 1.

    As told above in section 2, an important feature of designing the SIS is the work of designers in conditions of a high complexity that can be expressed by the use of the Kolmogorov measure oriented on the length of the program P providing the creation of the system. To reduce the complexity, the program P should divide on the complex of parts each of which is a certain program object (P-object).

  • 2.

    Any P-object as a program of actions defines the way-of-working the use of which helps to the designer or designers to build the corresponding artifact in definite conditions. Let us notice that a very important kind of such artifacts is a prototype version of future program units. In this case, P-objects describe algorithmically the prototypes in actions being executed by designers. The prototypes are being created not only for program units, but such objects are always used in experimental aims. Therefore, investigating algorithmic prototypes, the designers investigate usually the units of the own behavior. Such understanding prompts that P-objects can be used for planned experimenting with behavioral units of designers embedded into ways-of-working.

  • 3.

    Experimenting, the designers focus own attention on “how to do” but not on “what to build” and this correlates with cardinal principles of SEMAT. Experimenting the designers acquire units of an experience which they should register in forms of models providing the future reuses of experiments. It is necessary to notice that typical (reused) units of human behavior are named “precedents.”

  • 4.

    Natural precedents are based on conditioned reflexes which are intellectually processed and included to the human experience as its units. Interpretation of behavior units as precedents prompts the necessity of their intellectual processing aimed at the planned reuse.

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