International experts on artificial intelligence to talk at Prof Mike Cooley Collection announcement

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At 4.35pm there will be an official visit to the Cooley Collection, Luke Wadding Library

At 4.35pm there will be an official visit to the Cooley Collection, Luke Wadding Library

All are welcome to the Computing International Research Day announcing the Professor Mike Cooley Collection on the afternoon of Thursday, 7 March 2019 at WIT

Waterford Institute of Technology’s (WIT) INSYTE Research Centre is pleased to announce that it has acquired by donation from the Cooley family the entire archive of Prof Mike Cooley, one of the most important and influential Irish engineers of his generation. The archive of influential Irish engineer consists of 1,400 items which will be digitised and in the long-term available online.

Speakers include Distinguished Professor Karamjit Gill, Editor-in-Chief, Artificial Intelligence and Society and Distinguished Professor Petros Groumpos, University of Patras, Greece, a leading expert in artificial intelligence and automation. While Professor Cooley will not be in attendance a member of his family will attend the event. The event takes place from 2pm in the Health Sciences Boardroom, in the O'Connell Bianconi Building on WIT's Cork Road Campus.

Event schedule

2.00pm Welcome: Dr. Larry Stapleton, INSYTE, School of Science and Computing.

2.05pm Welcome Addresses: Dr. Peter McLoughlin, Head of Science and Computing Dr. Mark White, Vice-President for Research, Innovation & Graduate Studies.

2.20pm “Architect or Bee? A Tribute to Mike Cooley” Distinguished Professor Karamjit Gill, Editor-in-Chief, Artificial Intelligence and Society. 

2.40pm “Creating New Knowledge through Intelligent & Cognitive Control: Mike Cooley’s Legacy” Distinguished Professor Petros Groumpos, University of Patras, Greece.

3.00pm Tea/Coffee Break 

3.20pm “The Cooley-WIT Link: Cross-Faculty Human Centred Systems Research and Teaching at WIT” Dr. Larry Stapleton, INSYTE, School of Science and Computing.

3.40pm “The Cooley Collection: The Challenge of Curating Complex Objects in a University Library” Kieran Cronin, Librarian, Luke Wadding Library.

4.00pm “Extending Digital Document MetaData Standards – Modelling Machine-Readable Knowledge in the Cooley Collection” Dr. Larry Stapleton, Brenda O’Neill, Matthew Kendrick and Eoin Dalton.

4.20pm “Curating Objects in a Digitised Library: Challenges of 3-D Objects in the Cooley Collection”: Patrick McKinerny, Department of Computing and Mathematics, WIT.

4.35pm Official Visit to the Cooley Collection, Luke Wadding Library

Timely relevance

Prof Mike Cooley’s legacy is of historical importance at a time when the march of technology is again transforming working life and human relationships. His legacy is huge and publications include 16 books and the founding of a major journal. Cooley’s work has been translated into over twenty languages, from Finnish to Japanese. His seminal book is “Architect or Bee? The Human Price of Technology”, continues to be print following its first publication almost forty years ago. His most recent book “Delinquent Genius” published in Autumn 2018 includes a foreword by President Higgins and was sold out in weeks.

The archive was donated through INSYTE to the Luke Wadding Library at WIT and includes over 1,400 items including photographs, correspondences, journals, books, drawings, videos, cassette tapes, and slides. WIT scholars in the library and INSYTE are working together to explore this digital resource. The donation is of enormous academic significance, and institute librarians have begun actively curating this large collection to make it available to the national and international scholarly community.

WIT has a long tradition of human-centered systems education and research and the Centre for INformation SYstems and TEchno-culture (INSYTE) is an interdisciplinary, cross-school research centre in the field of information systems and organizations.

Architect or Bee? Background to Prof Mike Cooley

Tuam, Co Galway native Prof Cooley was the founding chairman of the international journal AI & Society, which is now a major international forum for socially responsible technology.

The term ‘human-centred’, and the relationship between humans and technology is a key theme throughout Prof Cooley’s work, especially in his 1980 book ‘Architect or Bee?’.

He was a trade union leader best known for his work on the Lucas Aerospace Plan. The aim of the Lucas plan was to change the Lucas company’s output from weapons to socially useful products. Professor Cooley won the Right Livelihood Award (an alternative of The Nobel Prize) in 1981, “for designing and promoting the theory and practice of human-centred, socially useful production”. The Lucas plan went on to have a great impact in the Labour movement in the United Kingdom and abroad.

The archive donation was announced at a research day to showcase computing-related research at the School of Science and Computing at WIT.

Emanating from Tuam, Co. Galway, Professor Cooley is one of the most important and influential Irish engineers of his generation. He was a trade union leader best known for his work on the Lucas Aerospace Plan. The aim of the Lucas plan was to change the Lucas company’s output from weapons to socially useful products. Professor Cooley won the Right Livelihood Award (an alternative of The Nobel Prize) in 1981, “for designing and promoting the theory and practice of human-centred, socially useful production”. The Lucas plan went on to have a great impact in the Labour movement in the United Kingdom and abroad.

The term ‘human-centred’, and the relationship between humans and technology is a key theme throughout his work, especially in his 1980 book ‘Architect or Bee?’.

“It seemed absurd to us that we had all this skill and knowledge and facilities at the same time as society urgently needed equipment and services which we could provide, and yet the market economy seemed incapable of linking the two” (Mike Cooley, Architect or Bee, 1980)

Professor Mike Cooley was the founding chairman of the international journal AI & Society, which is now a major international forum for socially responsible technology. The journal has been running since 1987 and focuses on ‘societal issues including the design, use, management, and policy of information, communications and new media technologies, with a particular emphasis on cultural, social, cognitive, economic, ethical, and philosophical implications’ (Springer, 2018).

The Cooley Collection

The collection includes over 1400 items including photographs, correspondences such as letters and postcards, journals, a wide range of books, drawings, cassette tapes, and slides. A large part of the archive is in relation to the Lucas Plan, and the various correspondences made between different parties during the 1970’s and includes photographs, letters (both typed and hand written), newspaper articles, and posters from that period. The collection includes not only his personal work but also books on literature and poetry of great cultural significance nationally. The challenging task in the development of the archive is to digitise the large and diverse material to make it available online for students and researchers. Projects are underway at WIT to address this challenge.


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