Home About Subscribe Search Member Area

Humanist Discussion Group

< Back to Volume 33

Humanist Archives: Jan. 18, 2020, 8:49 a.m. Humanist 33.558 - untranslatable text and illustrative analogies or metaphors?

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 558.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                   Hosted by King's Digital Lab
                Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org

        Date: 2020-01-17 14:28:02+00:00
        From: Willard McCarty 
        Subject: an example of untranslatable text

I'm in need of two rhetorical devices, as follows:

(1) a few very short examples of text that would put up
obviously insurmountable resistance to a satisfactory rendering in any
computational markup language. A problem that would pose such an
impossibility would be an ambiguity that must not be resolved and whose
range of renditions is indefinite. For my purposes the text should be in
ordinary, everyday English.

(2) analogies or metaphors that were or are used to characterise
artificial intelligence. Historical examples are 'fast moron' and 
'idiot savant'. The first of these (according to Pamela McCorduck) 
was invented at IBM to allay fears of its customers, but its persistence 
suggests the ring of truth. It's more or less vanished, but the second 
remains popular.

The problem is not to bad-mouth AI, rather to illustrate to a novice 
that any possible intelligence of which the digital machine could be 
capable has specific characteristics that can be traced back to its 
design. These characteristics, I am wanting to argue, are limited, 
as the characteristics of any definite thing are limited, but not so 
as to make an AI necessarily less 'intelligent', only differently so.

Many thanks for examples -- or for more intelligent framing of the
problem :-).

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)

Unsubscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted
List posts to: humanist@dhhumanist.org
List info and archives at at: http://dhhumanist.org
Listmember interface at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted/
Subscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/membership_form.php

Editor: Willard McCarty (King's College London, U.K.; Western Sydney University, Australia)
Software designer: Malgosia Askanas (Mind-Crafts)

This site is maintained under a service level agreement by King's Digital Lab.