[Humanist] 23.729 persistent fear

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Mon Mar 29 08:55:55 CEST 2010


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 23, No. 729.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
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  [1]   From:    James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com>                      (23)
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 23.726 persistent fear

  [2]   From:    lachance at chass.utoronto.ca                                 (5)
        Subject: Re: Solstice greetings and a few sparks


--[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Fri, 26 Mar 2010 07:06:08 -0400
        From: James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 23.726 persistent fear
        In-Reply-To: <20100326085307.0DCC951526 at woodward.joyent.us>


As usual, thank you for this post, Wendell.  I've come to understand fears
of the intelligent, self-directed computer (or other human creation) in
literature as tropes for the very thing that you describe -- the system
(no?  the real people) using them.  They are the embodiment or projections
of our real fears, which ultimately is a fear of those who created this
computer; i.e., ourselves.

A poetry-reading computer would be annoying at worst.  Perhaps a bit of a
tin ear?

Jim R

I think the metaphorical creature with his foot in the door is simply
> a synecdoche for something else. The poetry-reading computer -- the
> *interpreting* computer -- isn't a threat in itself. It's the use to
> which it can and (we have every reason to expect) will be put, not by
> ourselves (we think) but by faceless others, that is threatening. If
> it can read poetry, we wish to know, what else can it read? The fact
> that computers, as appliances, are so ubiquitous, so familiar and so
> necessary (how many of us would now literally be screaming without
> our mobile devices?) only underlines and defines this problem and how
> we are implicated within it.
>
> Cheers,
> Wendell
>



--[2]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Thu, 25 Mar 2010 14:01:02 -0400 (EDT)
        From: lachance at chass.utoronto.ca
        Subject: Re: Solstice greetings and a few sparks
        In-Reply-To: <4B308D33.8000100 at mccarty.org.uk>


Dear Willard

The Guardian online (25 March 2010) has a set of images from Brit artist
and X-ray boffin Nick Veasey. One is of a set of hands at the keyboard of
a laptop. Very nice for illustrating the "fear of computing" trope.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/gallery/2010/mar/24/art?picture=360801002




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