3.1. Duration of Engagement

Duration is a word that refers to a period of time. Duration is a quality that defines how cultures and communities emerge, exist and fade away. Engagement is sustained interaction, in which an intensity of dialogue shapes trust and authenticity as well [8]. Duration of engagement influences agency and also influences what knowledge is produced and destroyed.

One of the interesting concepts that emerged during the interviews is the idea that authentic presence of autonomous systems mandates the ability for autonomous systems to influence their own well-being and survival. An autonomous system should be capable of gaining or losing authenticity. They must be able to organize their own destruction [9].
Human beings and technology have fundamental different scales, speed and formats of time. When dealing with technology human behaviour is guided by a kind of presupposition of a stable physical environment including sequential experience of time and causality [11]. Human beings become habituated to systems over time, acquire competences in specifying need, become capable in using and manipulating them, creating their own regularity, their own engagement. Human beings decide when to be engaged and when not, when to join into engagement and when to leave.

In distance and disembodied communication confidence needs to be placed in engagement [8]. Unless and until a certain degree of concreteness has been assigned to engagement it does not have any value or meaning. To negotiate this trust, people segregate and compartmentalize [8]. Trusting an agent or a human being with respect to one domain of expertise does not imply trust in the same party in another domain.

Degrees and intensities of engagement emerge from time spent in focused attention and in witnessed presence. Too much engagement, as happens in India where people work 24/7 in the ‘Global Service Delivery Model’, in which they are monitored in every action they do, is counterproductive and results in a ‘low trust’ dynamic for human beings involved [12].

Technology handles time-based processes all the time and can easily recognize formats that are used. However, human beings structure collaborative action and need to emphasize moments of transformation [13]. They stand still by transitions between activities. By doing so, feelings and emotions are channelled. Yet in time design between human beings, and multi-agent systems, the need for lingering time for transformational processes that human beings need, may need to be orchestrated.
Duration of engagement may therefore be a requirement for sustainable communities of agents and human beings to emerge.

Frances Brazier , CN