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Humanist Archives: July 13, 2019, 5:39 p.m. Humanist 33.138 - grappling with those biases

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 138.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                   Hosted by King's Digital Lab
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        Date: 2019-07-13 16:15:29+00:00
        From: Willard McCarty 
        Subject: discovery vs delivery

The previous note, concerning a webinar on "biases in algorithms", leads
me to the question of how they got there. I'm not thinking so much of 
design and encoding, rather our inclination to pay far more
attention to that which algorithms 'deliver' than to what we discover by
working with them at the level at which they are comprehensible. We are,
I suppose, preconditioned to 'delivery' by the frequent (and, to me,
unconscionable) use of this word in the discourse of education and that
also of public service and politics, e.g. the 'delivery' of Brexit in
the UK. It's the supermarket-talk, of trollies and packages, even more so of
deliveries to the door, of things to be accepted consumed rather than 
examined critically.

I recall the now old grumbling of those advocating user-hostile
interfaces. A bit over the top, no? I too want my machine and its
apps simply to work. But how do we design for real engagement with
tools? And how do we encourage the inclination to examine what we get
from our machines critically and to dig in like the potter into clay?


Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/),
Professor emeritus, Department of Digital Humanities, King's College
London; Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews
(www.tandfonline.com/loi/yisr20) and Humanist (www.dhhumanist.org)

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Editor: Willard McCarty (King's College London, U.K.; Western Sydney University, Australia)
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