[Humanist] 30.854 residues from algorithms?
Humanist Discussion Group
willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Thu Mar 30 08:39:31 CEST 2017
Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 30, No. 854.
Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
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Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2017 08:29:48 +0200
From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
Subject: residues from algorithms
Recently I've been at a workshop on computational ethnomusicology at the
Lorentz Center (https://www.lorentzcenter.nl) in Leiden, to talk about
modelling. As usual I drew attention to the value of anomalies (a.k.a
the 'residue', as some would say). A lecturer from Queen Mary (London),
Bob Sturm, described an experiment in processing of music in which the
algorithm he was using was unusually successful. Looking at the data
afterwards, however, he discovered that this success was due to a part
of the audio signal well beyond human hearing -- most likely an artefact
of the recording technologies. So, in this case, the 'residue' was the
music, all of it.
Great success from automatic processes for entirely the wrong reason
leads to the question of results from black-boxes, and so to strategies
for building confidence in those results. But then we are cognitive
black-boxes. What's at fault here, one could say, is our attitude toward
the digital machine, regarded as a jukebox of truth. How we deal with
each other is the right model for the modelling machine?
Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor, Department of Digital
Humanities, King's College London; Adjunct Professor, Western Sydney
University and North Carolina State University; Editor,
Interdisciplinary Science Reviews (www.tandfonline.com/loi/yisr20)
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