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Humanist Archives: July 3, 2021, 6:27 a.m. Humanist 35.123 - mashing up spurious correlations with oppositional AI

              Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 35, No. 123.
        Department of Digital Humanities, University of Cologne
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        Date: 2021-07-02 12:36:52+00:00
        From: maurizio lana <>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 35.120: phantoms of Big Data

hi Willard,

if I do a mashup of the messages of François who cites Geoffrey
Rockwell and Stéfan Sinclair

With enough data one can get spurious correlations, as there is always something
that has the same statistical profile as the phenomenon you are studying. This
is the machine equivalent to apophenia, the human tendency to see patterns
everywhere, which is akin to what Umberto Eco explores in _Interpretation and
Overinterpretation_ (1992).

and of Henry Schaffer who cites Tyler Vigen

I'll end with citing my favorite book/website on correlation

with the thread about Artificial Intelligence, I end observing that
for us the spurious correlations are obviously spurious and I wonder
if an AI software would equally be able to spot them as spurious.

could someone among us manage to submit to an AI system some of the
correlations described in the book by Tyler Vigen and to ask the
system to identify the spurious ones?


Giulio Regeni, Mohammed Mahmoud Street, Cairo

Maurizio Lana
Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici
Università del Piemonte Orientale
piazza Roma 36 - 13100 Vercelli
tel. +39 347 7370925

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