[Humanist] 27.903 AI in the humanities?

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Fri Mar 21 07:34:08 CET 2014

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 903.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Fri, 21 Mar 2014 00:45:51 +0100
        From: Tara Andrews <taralee at alum.mit.edu>
        Subject: Call for Participation: COST Trans-Domain Proposal on Artificial Intelligence in the Humanities

Dear Humanists,

I am writing on behalf of a small group of humanities scholars and AI
researchers who are in the process of preparing a COST Trans-Domain
Proposal on the topic of how methods of artificial intelligence might be
used to capture and model humanistic argumentation. The initial impetus for
the action comes from historical research, but the concept is applicable in
any field within DH where computing and hermeneutics are sitting
uncomfortably side-by-side at the moment. Some background on the genesis of
the basic idea may be found here:

We are now looking for interested scholars and researchers from the
humanities to join the network of initial proposers! Members of the network
must be affiliated with some institution, ideally in a COST member country
(see http://www.cost.eu/about_cost/cost_countries for the full list.) If
you are eligible and would be interested in participating, please get in
touch with me (tara.andrews at kps.unibe.ch) between now and 27 March.

Best wishes,
Tara Andrews

Tara L Andrews
Assistenzprofessorin in Digital Humanities
Universität Bern
Gesellschaftsstrasse 2, Büro 237C
tel +41 31 631 34 49

Summary, COST Trans-Domain Proposal
AIM-HIGH: Artificial Intelligence Models for Humanistic Inquiry Grounded in

One of the most pressing central current questions in humanities research,
also relevant to a wider range of disciplines, is how to harness computing
to hermeneutical pursuits. How do we reconcile the idiosyncratic,
heterogeneous, and ambiguous nature of our evidence with the tendency of
computational methods to require uniform, homogeneous and clearly-defined
data, without giving in to the temptation to over-simplify the evidence?
This is where the interests of humanities and artificial intelligence meet:
how do we represent in a formal and computational manner not only the data
we have that lends itself to encoding and systematics, but also the other
knowledge and working hypotheses at our disposal? When new evidence is
added, or when old evidence is re-interpreted, what are the ramifications
for our systems of knowledge? Stated more simply, this question goes to the
very heart of all humanities research: how do we know what we know?

The purpose of this COST action is to establish an equal partnership
between scholars from the evidentiary disciplines within the humanities
(historical sciences, textual scholarship, etc.) and scientists studying
applicable aspects of Artificial Intelligence such as knowledge
representation and fuzzy logic, in order to examine a topic of mutual
interest. Our mission is to explore how to incorporate computational
methods into our humanistic inquiries without losing focus on the
hermeneutical aspect; how to represent, visualise, and eventually
computationally infer the hypothesis dependency structure that underlies
argumentation in the humanities; and what ramifications this has for how we
pursue humanistic knowledge.

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