[SIGCIS-Members] First use of "policy" in computing/robotics

Murray Turoff murray.turoff at gmail.com
Tue Nov 6 16:19:16 PST 2018

Delphi Conferencing: Computer-Based
Conferencing with Anonymity
This paper is a report on an on-line (computer-automated) conference that
was conducted for thirteen
weeks in the spring of 1970. The conference involved twenty individuals
throughout the country who
were able to engage in the conference discussion at their convenience by
going to a computer terminal
at their time of choice. The computer maintained a real-time accounting of
the discussion items entered
by the various respondents and of how the group had voted on these items
with respect to scales of
desirability and feasibility (for proposals), or importance and confidence
(for comments).
The purpose of the conference was to evaluate potential applications of
this type of conference
system and to critique the author's design of the particular system in use.
During the first part of the
conference, no conferee was aware of the identity of the other conference
members. In addition, the
computer did not provide to the conferees the identification of originators
of the items or of individual
votes. Because of this anonymity, such systems may be referred to as
"Delphi Conferencing Systems."
The conference group was deliberately chosen by the author to be a mixture
of Delphi designers,
computer specialists, and operations research analysts. The group was also
evenly divided as to
affiliation with government, industry, nonprofit organizations, and
universities. About one-third of
the group had no previous experience with computers or terminals. Another
third had only minimal
contact as users of computer services provided by others.
"It takes two of us to create a truth, one to utter it and one to
understand it."--Gibran.

III.B. 1. The Policy Delphi
A Seer upon perceiving a flood should be the first to climb a tree.
—Kahlil Gibran
Murray Turoff, "The Design of a Policy Delphi," Technological Forecasting
Social Change 2, No. 2 (1970).
The Policy Delphi was first introduced in 1969 and reported on in 1970.' It
represented a significant departure from the understanding and application
of the
Delphi technique as practiced to that point in time. Delphi as it
originally was
introduced and practiced tended to deal with technical topics and seek a
among homogeneous groups of experts. The Policy Delphi, on the other hand,
seeks to generate the strongest possible opposing views on the potential
resolutions of a major policy issue. In the author's view, a policy issue
is one for
which there are no experts, only informed advocates and referees.
(paper published also in the Delphi Method Book, linstone and turoff)

On Tue, Nov 6, 2018 at 6:48 PM Colin Garvey <garvec at rpi.edu> wrote:

> Hi all --
> Apologies if this is common knowledge and I've just not done my homework
> but--
> Could anyone point me toward a source of/on the first uses of the word
> "policy" in the computing/robotics world? Especially interested in the use
> of "policy" as something an "agent" has that basically tells them "what to
> do."
> Even just some estimates of when this language became widely used would be
> helpful.
> Thanks!
> Colin Garvey
> PhD Candidate, RPI
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*please send messages to murray.turoff at gmail.com <murray.turoff at gmail.com>
do not use @njit.edu <http://njit.edu> addressDistinguished Professor
EmeritusInformation Systems, NJIThomepage: http://web.njit.edu/~turoff
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