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Humanist Archives: July 27, 2020, 7:52 a.m. Humanist 34.191 - calculating surprise

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 34, No. 191.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
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        Date: 2020-07-27 06:45:10+00:00
        From: Willard McCarty 
        Subject: calculating surprise

In the context of the question on surprise that I recently posted, and
the responses to it, the following book may be of interest:

Johannes Lenhard, Calculated Surprises: A Philosophy of Computer
Simulation (OUP, 2019), available in Oxford Scholarship Online

My own take on simulation, "Modeling the actual, simulating the
possible", in Flanders and Jannidis, eds., The Shape of Data in the
Digital Humanities (Routledge, 2019), seems from my initial glance at
Lenhard's book to have been going in roughly the same direction, but I
have not yet had a chance to read the book. But it does suggest the
further question of how non-deterministic products can result from a
deterministic machine. The question I had in mind is different, however.
To use James Gibson's ideas of affordances and a niche in which they are
encountered, it is this: how (in as much detail as it is possible for us
to discern) do surprises arise in a human-machine encounter?

Views on Lenhard's book from perspectives in the digital humanities
would be most welcome.

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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