The Future(s) of Social Machines: The Research Agenda

  • Nigel Shadbolt
  • Kieron O’Hara
  • David De Roure
  • Wendy Hall
Part of the Lecture Notes in Social Networks book series (LNSN)


The final chapter looks to the future of social machines under the conditions of digital modernity, when they will have to coexist and even compete with technologies such as artificial intelligence. They will no doubt require or acquire new forms, new functions, new methods of study and new infrastructure. Examples are given of each of these four. The chapter considers cyber-physical social machines, where social machines exploit the new affordances of the Internet of Things, as a new form of social machine. As a new function of social machines, social knowledge machines are described, in which social groups emerge around technologies to create and curate data and knowledge resources. Topological data analysis is considered as a potential new research method into social machines. Finally, new initiatives to decentralise the Web, such as the Solid project, are reviewed as means for allowing social machine participants to retain a measure of control. Finally, the chapter reviews the requirements to enable participants to develop and maintain social machines of their own design.


Actuators Artificial intelligence Cyber-physical social machines (CPSMs) Debugging (social machines) Digital modernity Finance, financial social machines Games, gaming Infrastructure Internet of Things Personal data stores Privacy Security Sensors Shadow institutions Smart cities Social knowledge machines Solid project Topological data analysis Web observatory Webmention 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nigel Shadbolt
    • 1
  • Kieron O’Hara
    • 2
  • David De Roure
    • 3
  • Wendy Hall
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  2. 2.Electronics and Computer ScienceUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK
  3. 3.Oxford eResearch CentreUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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