[Humanist] 26.145 disowning or welcoming?

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Tue Jul 10 23:02:05 CEST 2012

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 145.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2012 09:42:11 +1000
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: disowning or moving on?

In Humanist 26.139, Bob Amsler wrote in response to my query about 
making a real difference,

> It reminds me of the debate over "What is artificial intelligence?"
> where the understanding of new computational techniques that enable
> emulating new aspects of human intelligence is seen as 'not really
> being intelligent behavior' once understood. True artificial
> intelligence is thus akin to a magician's trick which the audience
> doesn't understand how it is done. Does 'true humanities' have to
> involve the creation of works whose experience transcends
> understanding of how they were or could be created? Will results from
> 'digital humanities' suffer the same dilemma of the creations of
> artificial intelligence. If you build them, they will disown them.

At what point do we stop disowning them and welcome them instead? 
Is this a matter of the degree of intelligence or something about human 
intelligence which distinguishes it? Are we frightened by an "uncanny
valley" (Mori 1970) on the other side of which we will be able to welcome 

What complicates all this is that we can hardly if at all think about 
such matters apart from computing, and so can no longer compare as if 
natural and artificial intelligences were quite distinct things. As the 
machine gets more like us, we in turn are changing, yes?


Willard McCarty, FRAI / Professor of Humanities Computing & Director of
the Doctoral Programme, Department of Digital Humanities, King's College
London; Professor, School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics,
University of Western Sydney; Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews
(www.isr-journal.org); Editor, Humanist
(www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist/); www.mccarty.org.uk/

More information about the Humanist mailing list