[Humanist] 22.480 computing the intuitive
Humanist Discussion Group
willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Tue Jan 27 07:45:07 CET 2009
Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 22, No. 480.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2009 12:32:51 +0000
From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
Subject: computing the intuitive
From an article on computing in medicine (1971):
"It is a remarkable paradox... that we can use this machine with
particular effect in manipulating the non-computable. We can compute
(with or without a computer) a death rate, the protection rate of a
vaccine, the survival rate following a treatment, or the risk of getting
lung cancer in terms of the amount we smoke. These results mark the end
of a computational process. But we can *not* compute a new disease
entity, or a management decision, or the natural history of a tumour, or
the cause of cerebral thrombosis, or the best way of running a screening
programme; these non-computable items must be declared intuitively.
However, they can be used to initiate computational processes which will
work out formally the consequences of our untuitive good (or bad)
judgement and permit a comparison between these consequences and our
data or our desires. These methods of working are quite distinct, the
first deriving a result from data, the second deriving a consequence
E. G. Knox, "A case for the computer", Thinking by Numbers 4, The Times
Literary Supplement, 3 September 1971, pp. 1059-60.
Willard McCarty, Professor of Humanities Computing,
King's College London, staff.cch.kcl.ac.uk/~wmccarty/;
Editor, Humanist, www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist;
Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, www.isr-journal.org.
More information about the Humanist