[Humanist] 27.178 what matters: the inextricable

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Tue Jul 2 22:36:22 CEST 2013

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 178.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Tue, 2 Jul 2013 12:03:00 -0500
        From: Paul Fishwick <metaphorz at gmail.com>
        Subject: Re:  27.174 what matters?
        In-Reply-To: <20130701202920.058073AD1 at digitalhumanities.org>

On Jul 1, 2013, at 3:29 PM, Humanist Discussion Group <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk> wrote:

> Determinism hovers over this situation. Here is Malcolm again
>> Determinism is a painful problem because it creates a severe tension
>> between two viewpoints, each of which is strongly attractive: one is
>> that the concepts of purpose, intention, and desire, of our ordinary
>> language, cannot be rendered void by scientific advance; the other is
>> that those concepts cannot prescribe limits to what it is possible
>> for empirical science to achieve.  (p. 69)
> Is this not our dilemma, though we do not tend to encounter it in such a 
> dramatic form? We want very badly to think that our cultural productions 
> will always escape the net of technology; at the same time we have no 
> evidence that AI, robotics et al will not finally nail everything down. 
> We also have no evidence that it will.
> So what matters in this situation?

  When you say that "we want very badly to think that our cultural
productions will always escape the net of technology," we should
analyze this, since I would say that not only can we not easily
escape, but that technology defines our culture as a foundational
component from the beginnings where we beat the bushes with
sticks (the technology) to the computer.

Paul Fishwick, PhD
Distinguished Chair of Arts & Technology and Professor of Computer Science 
The University of Texas at Dallas 
Arts & Technology 
800 West Campbell Road, AT10 
Richardson, TX 75080-3021 

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