Systemic Relational Insights: A new hybrid intelligence approach to make sense of complex problems

Format: Papers, RSD11, RSD11: Methods and the worlds they make, Topic: Methods & Methodology, Topic: Sociotechnical Systems

Andrea Cattabriga

University of Bologna

Designing in the complexity and timescale of the global effort around “unsolvable” problems means working at different scales. 

While developing local projects, it is not easy to make evident the relationship with global trends and patterns to enable reproducibility in other communities potentially benefiting from the same approach. Two possible reasons behind this are the difficulty in systematising data, expertise, community wisdom and existing scientific knowledge and enabling the epistemic conditions to make this happen. The design research community has for years been aware of how a new epistemology of design is needed, a new approach to design at a systemic scale that can hold together communities, territories, and non-human life (towards a “pluriversal” dimension) and the systemic agentivity of infrastructures in which we interact with intelligent devices, through a decentralised and decolonised vision in both methods and technologies. While various models and methodological approaches have been conceptualised, the current difficulty in bringing them to the level of practice can partly rely on the lack of functioning tools. Various experiments with citizen science approaches and the harnessing of collective intelligence through digital technologies, together with the rapid progress made in the field of artificial intelligence, suggest that it is possible to combine these approaches in order to implement tools that can bridge this gap. 

The presentation reports the advances of ongoing research based on the hypothesis that it is possible to bring out new types of insights, useful to design within systemic contexts, elaborating heterogeneous information and knowledge flows (scientific, indigenous, or coming from environmental data), through the joint work of the communities themselves with interactive infrastructures based on artificial intelligence models. “Systemic relational insights” are forms of information that emerge from a relational analysis between multiple points of view and perspectives on the problems of a territory, capable of linking the specificities of these relations at a local scale with patterns measured at a global scale. 

Keywords: knowledge integration, artificial intelligence, citizen science, more-than-human design

Sketchnote by Patricia Kambitch | Playthink

Citation Data

Author(s): Andrea Cattabriga
Year: 2022
Title: Systemic Relational Insights: A new hybrid intelligence approach to make sense of complex problems
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD11
Article No.: 171
Host: University of Brighton
Location: Brighton, UK
Symposium Dates: October 3–16, 2022
First published: 20 September 2022
Last update: 30 April 2023
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404

Copyright Information

Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (ISSN 2371-8404) are published annually by the Systemic Design Association, a non-profit scholarly association leading the research and practice of design for complex systems: 3803 Tønsberg, Norway (922 275 696).


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Author(s). (20##). Article title. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design, RSD##. Article ##.

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