Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 7. Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London Hosted by King's Digital Lab www.dhhumanist.org Submit to: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: 2019-05-08 07:29:33+00:00 From: Willard McCarty
Subject: reliability? authority? I've been asked to comment on two aspects of digital scholarship in the humanities and interpretative social sciences: reliability and authority. I'm inclined to answer as follows: (1) Reliability First, what do we want the machine reliably to do? I see a spectrum from the close-to-absolute reliability of a machine instructed to do exactly as told at the finest level of detail, to one given a set of initial conditions and liberty within loose constraints to run with them (as in a simulation). Second, how do we establish the reliability of results among skeptical colleagues? Consider the results that are co-produced, negotiated in Hutchins' sense: “the person-in-interaction-with-technology [that] exhibits expertise” (1995: 155). This, I'd think, involves persuading others as usual for any discipline plus getting them to take on board the perspective which the machine defines. (2) Modes of authority First, to whom or to what authority does the new discipline look for help? In the human sciences there is no Nature, no supreme authority, however elusive. Computer science, as a whole, has other concerns. Is not the authority in this sense the loose assembly of elder disciplines? Second, over what domain can digital inquiry claim to have authority? I'd think the domain of all artefacts as data and all methods of inquiry rendered into algorithmic form, focusing on (a) reasoning, sense-making with these data and algorithms, and (b) study of the effects on scholarly and social life. Comments? Yours, WM -- Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor emeritus, Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London; Adjunct Professor, Western Sydney University; Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews (www.tandfonline.com/loi/yisr20) and Humanist (www.dhhumanist.org) _______________________________________________ Unsubscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted List posts to: email@example.com 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)
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