Regaining realism for human-centred ICT development and design

Christian Stary and Klaus Fuchs-Kittowski published an article in Leibniz Online 41 (2020) in which they argue for a new, constructive realism without which human-centred design of IT is not feasible. They write:

It seems to be particularly important in the current development of natural sciences and technology to specify what is to be understood by realism and to overcome naive realism and every form of anti-realism. Without reference to reality, without recognition of a reality that exists independently of us and that we can recognize in a step-by-step approach, no safely functioning software is created, no human-friendly use of Information and Communication Technology that pervades all areas of life today can be achieved. With the discussion of the philosophical problem of realism, we are particularly concerned with the emphasis on the importance and the further development of socio-technical information system design and software development – in general and specifically related to the particularly current problems of development and use of humanoid systems. In computer science / business informatics, research and teaching are still largely concentrated on the creation of certain artifacts  The interaction between machines and people becomes even more intense. Therefore, the development of a people-oriented methodology becomes all the more important. When using humaniod systems, acting together with people, the previous experience from IT support for qualified work becomes important. Contrary to the top-down approach, a bottom-up approach is inevitable, establishing the relation to reality. In this article we show the importance of the so-called “New Realism” in the sense of regaining realism in the direction of constructive realism for the development and in particular the design of increasingly digitized living environments. In addition to reflection in the humanities and social sciences, we prioritize the methodological design of socio-technical systems. Constructive realism helps shaping technological capabilities for human-centered solution development along design science cycles.

The article is written in German. Leibniz Online is the online journal of the Leibniz-Sozietät der Wissenschaften zu Berlin e.V.

Christian Stary, Klaus Fuchs-Kittowski | Zur Wiedergewinnung des Realismus als notwendige Grundlage einer am Menschen orientierten Informationssystemgestaltung und Softwareentwicklung | pdf

[Picture of Leibniz made by Gabriele Mucchi. The logo of the society is based upon it.]


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