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Title: Knowledge management for self-organised resource allocation
Author: Burth Kurka, David
ISNI:       0000 0004 8499 5147
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2019
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Many open systems, such as networks, distributed computing and socio-technical systems address a common problem of how to define knowledge management processes to structure and guide decision-making, coordination and learning. While participation is an essential and desirable feature of such systems, the amount of information produced by its individual agents can often be overwhelming and intractable. The challenge, thus, is how to organise and process such information, so it is transformed into productive knowledge used for the resolution of collective action problems. To address this problem, we consider a study of classical Athenian democracy which investigates how the governance model of the city-state flourished. The work suggests that exceptional knowledge management, i.e. making information available for socially productive purposes, played a crucial role in sustaining its democracy for nearly 200 years, by creating processes for aggregation, alignment and codification of knowledge. We therefore examine the proposition that some properties of this historical experience can be generalised and applied to computational systems, so we establish a set of design principles intended to make knowledge management processes open, inclusive, transparent and effective in self-governed social technical systems. We operationalise three of these principles in the context of a collective action situation, namely self-organised common-pool resource allocation, exploring four governance problems: (a) how fairness can be perceived; (b) how resources can be distributed; (c) how policies should be enforced and (d) how tyranny can be opposed. By applying this operationalisation of the design principles for knowledge management processes as a complement to institutional approaches to governance, we demonstrate empirically how it can guide solutions that satisfice shared values, distribute power fairly, apply "common sense" in dealing with rule violations, and protect agents against abuse of power. We conclude by arguing that this approach to the design of open systems can provide the foundations for sustainable and democratic self-governance in socio-technical systems.
Supervisor: Pitt, Jeremy ; Gunduz, Deniz Sponsor: National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), Brazil
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral