[Humanist] 22.700 traces of mind: where, and for how long

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Fri Apr 17 07:19:13 CEST 2009

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 22, No. 700.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Thu, 16 Apr 2009 15:22:27 -0300
        From: renata lemos <renata.lemoz at eletrocooperativa.org>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 22.698 traces of mind: where, and for how long?
        In-Reply-To: <20090416054401.289A73C72 at woodward.joyent.us>

> In our daily work we are starting to draw on ideas of "thing knowledge".
> Some of us, with reference e.g. to the experimental sciences and arts,
> assert that computational objects can be scholarly objects on an equal
> par with papers and books, i.e. that they have a kind of permanent and
> integral meaning not disencumbered as the objects pass from person to
> person. Is this the case only as long as the objects pass from hand to
> hand within a common culture and delimited period of time during which
> assumptions are stable?

wow, this is truly an inspiring and exciting question. papers and books are
very stable and self-enclosed formats of knowledge transmission;
computational objects that are interactive and that have various degrees of
artificial intelligence might increase and / or further develop the
knowledge that was originally embodied in it... there´s one big difference.
however when it comes to cultural differences on the user side, then books
are not so different from computational objects, because understanding of
content (be it embodied on written language, be it embodied on digital code
and multimedia) is always relative to the cultural context in which it is
being presented...

> It seems to me that here we face a fundamental problem in the social
> sciences, namely the reality of socio-cultural entities, which are not
> material but anything but immaterial or, in many cases, especially
> transient. Spooky, I say, but would wish to say more.

another amazing issue. the way I see it the reality or "materiality" of
socio-cultural entities is so elusive that it prevents its full replication
by semi-autonomous software agents that, by all other means but emotional,
are capable to simulate human intelligence. socio-cultural identities are so
intricate, that robotics has not even come near its complexity yet...
digital humanists might be called upon to provide cultural insights to
robotics research in the future.

 renata lemos

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