A Decision-Centric Perspective on Evolving Cyber-Physical-Social Systems: Effectiveness, Group Value, and Opportunities
11 November 2022, International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
van Beek A
Abstract: In this paper, we view evolving cyber-physical-social systems (CPSSs) from a group decision-making perspective, introduce the group value concept as a potential approach to improve their effectiveness, and conclude by identifying a set of research directions for further scientific inquiry. An evolving CPSS is a system in which the digital and physical spaces adapt to changing interests in the social space. In this paper, we introduce the group value concept as an approach to balancing the interests of individuals in the social space and deciding how a CPSS should evolve. The advantages afforded by the group value concept are twofold: (i) it enables CPSSs to evolve along with the interests of the social space, and (ii) it provides transparency in the decision-making process that will improve public support. The group value is a stochastic function that is constructed by modeling the distributions of individual value functions and shares a similarity with utility-theory and normative models for group decision-making. Through analysis of the introduced framework, we show: (i) how the group value concept can be used to bring about evolving CPSSs, (ii) introduce the difference between utility theory and normative models for group decision-making, (iii) define the conditions under which the introduced evolving CPSSs framework is valid, and (iv) delineate a set of four research areas for further scientific inquiry. The motivation for delineating a set of additional research challenges comes from the observation that group decisions violate the conditions of logical decision-making that can only be satisfied for an individual’s decisions. Consequently, establishing an agent that controls the evolution of a CPSS needs to consider the consequences of violating these conditions on the effectiveness of the decision. Through continued research in the identified decision-centric research areas, evolving CPPSs can be established to address many societal challenges and will be more effective as they enjoy broader public support.