Engineering

Overview:

Intelligent Logic will design engineering solutions exploiting new science and technology using an understanding based on formal mathematical models.

Designing and building the future is an engineering activity, fed by requirements analysis based on our shared fundamental values. Factasia depends upon and seeks to contribute to engineering methods.

What is Engineering?
Factasia takes a broad view of engineering, viewing from an engineering perspective a wide range of purposeful constructive activities.
A Generic Method
First you determine the requirements, then you design the system, then you verify the design, build the system and test it.
Engineering Design
The engineering of methods and tools to support the automation of engineering design is a particular interest of factasia.
Language Engineering
An important aspect of moving towards the automation of engineering design is the continual evolution of the languages used for describing requirements and designs and for modelling the behaviour of systems. An important feature of such languages is that they have a well defined semantics. The construction of such language definitions is an engineering activity.
Engineering Exotica
A collection of ideas tenously connected with engineering.
The Global SuperBrain
The Global SuperBrain both in its holistic and its analytic aspect is an engineering project. In the former case it is a tool for social engineering and the result of social engineering. In the latter a challenging problem in engineering artificial intelligence.
Social Engineering
Systematic methods of attempting to influence the future of our social institutions can also be considered a part of engineering.

What is Engineering?

Factasia takes a broad view of engineering, viewing from an engineering perspective a wide range of purposeful constructive activities.
building
Engineering is about building, or constructing things which satisfy some purpose or requirement. This used to mean physical things but the invention of the computer lead to large scale constructive activities which delivered abstract entities and so we began to talk of software engineering. The approaching information age will broaden this to other kinds of information engineering.
purpose
The purpose bit is important, and distinguishes engineering from art. Artists can spend hugh amounts of time and effort creating works of art. However their ends are aesthetic rather than practical, and this distinguishes art from engineering.
meta
Engineers need tools, and building tools is engineering. So Engineering is a reflexive discipline. However, some of the tools engineers need are intellectual tools, and this leads to connections between engineering and science, mathematics, logic and philosophy. This allows us to consider analytic philosophy in the light of its contribution to engineering methods.
social
If we take a pro-active attitude towards the future of society then we may consider our attempts to influence that future as a kind of engineering. Social Engineering, Utopian Engineering, Memetic Engineering all belong in this most tenuous engineering subdomain.
methods
Another important element of engineering is that it is methodical. Some might say scientific. Methods may also be thought of as intellectual tools, and insofar as we are able to approach the development of methods in a systematic way we may consider this too as an engineering enterprise. Process engineering comes to mind.

Generic Method:

First you determine the requirements, then you design the system, then you verify the design, build the system and test it.
brain-work
The reason for putting up this idealisation of engineering methods is to suggest that ideally there is a nice chunk of it which is logical or mathematical. If its a physical system then the physical bits are build and test. If its an information system then even the build is brain-work.
analytic engineering
Logic and Maths involve what philosopher's call analytic truths, and the point about these is that you don't need real world knowledge to do them, so they are particularly suitable for getting nailed by computer. If we could crack the automation of reasoning then it would substantially increase our advantage from getting closer to this idealised engineering process.
design
In particular I'd like to emphasise the potentially logical character of the design process. The necessary knowledge of the behaviour of the physical systems involved is generally already in place before design begins, in the form of mathematical models. If we also has formal requirements specifications then the problem of producing a design which complies with the requirements assuming that the models are good is purely logical. If we can automate logic and formalise the models then we can provide machine support or complete automation of the design process.

Engineering Design:

The engineering of methods and tools to support the automation of engineering design is a particular interest of factasia.

Language Engineering:

An important aspect of moving towards the automation of engineering design is the continual evolution of the languages used for describing requirements and designs and for modelling the behaviour of systems. An important feature of such languages is that they have a well defined semantics. The construction of such language definitions is an engineering activity.
The single most important need for the application of logic based techniques to the automation of engineering problem solving is the need for better languages. First this means languages whose meaning is well defined. Next it means well structured languages which avoid obscure imperative algorithmic specifications in favour of clear declarative specifications. If the semantics is itself defined in a well defined formal notation that would be even better. So the language engineering part of Factasia will be concerned with finding nice ways of designing languages which not only give well designed and well defined languages but also aid the building of tools to do things with the languages, including reasoning and problem solving.

Social Engineering:

Systematic methods of attempting to influence the future of our social institutions can also be considered a part of engineering.
Historicism
Historicism is the term given by Karl Popper to the belief that the future can be predicted but not averted. The denial of historicism opens the way for social engineering, in which our ability to influence the future of society is recognised.
Piecemeal Engineering
Piecemeal Engineering was Karl Popper's preferred method of social engineering. This involves identifying weaknesses and attempting to remedy them, but not any attempt at systematic radical reform of social institutions.
Utopian Engineering
Utopian enginering is a variety of social engineering which is optimistic and comprehensive. It involves coming up with a blueprint for a preferred future, and taking measures to realise that future. Popper criticised utopian engineering on the grounds that it invitably lead to totalitarianism.
The Holistic SuperBrain
A consensual approach to utopian engineering on a global scale. Substantially market-based, pluralistic, mass participation based on visions of the future developed in cyberspace and implemented by concensus driven individual action, both economic and political.

The Global Superbrain

The Global SuperBrain both in its holistic and its analytic aspect is an engineering project. In the former case it is a tool for social engineering and the result of social engineering. In the latter a challenging problem in engineering artificial intelligence for engineering applications.
The Holistic Superbrain
The idea of a "control system" is taken from cybernetics and applied on the global scale to the problem of realising a better world.
The Analytic Superbrain
The Global SuperBrain as Hyper-Rational Artificial Intelligence. An intelligent automation of the entire field of a priori knowledge, including the whole of mathematics.
Dimensions
There are many different views on what "The Global (Super)Brain" might be. We analyse them on two independent dimensions.

Engineering Exotica:

A collection of ideas tenously connected with engineering.
Factastic Future Engineering
a method for "future engineering".
Market Engineering
Techniques for implementing large engineering projects using market mechanisms. Including techniques for engineering new kinds of markets.
Evolutionary Engineering
Very complex systems engineering will involve the use of evolutionary methods.
Memetic Future Engineering
thoughs on how the science of memetics might contribute to future engineering.
Open Engineering
Generalising "OpenSource" methods for software development to a broader range of engineering projects.


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