[Humanist] 23.133 hindsight on future gazing

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Mon Jul 6 11:02:52 CEST 2009

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 23, No. 133.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Sun, 5 Jul 2009 11:59:58 -0400 (EDT)
        From: Francois Lachance <lachance at chass.utoronto.ca>
        Subject: hindsight on future gazing


You and the readers of Humanist might be intrigued by this passage in D.F.
McKenzie's _Bibliography and the Sociology of Texts. Timewise it is a bit
outside the period of the cybernetic-influenced discourse you have been
examing. However it provides a neat formulation for the evolution of the
application of computing power to text processing.

 It should also be remembered that it was not the sophistication of
 computing in its early stages which biased its use towards science, but its limited memory and therefore its inability to handle the complexity and range of verbal language as distinct from combinations of the numbers 0 to 9. Only as its memory systems have grown has the computer changed its nature from blackboard to book. It has at long last become literate and qualified to join other textual systems. In
time, I suppose, as it now learns to speak, it will constitute an oral
archive as well.

Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large

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