Humanist Discussion Group

Humanist Archives: Aug. 13, 2021, 6:58 a.m. Humanist 35.187 - an historical hypothesis

				                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 35, No. 187.
        Department of Digital Humanities, University of Cologne
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        Date: 2021-08-13 05:42:11+00:00
        From: Willard McCarty 
        Subject: an historical hypothesis

Consider the following hypothesis, if you will.

Looking, as I have been recently, at the history of public reactions to
computing from the 1940s onward, I am beginning to think that excitement
about and unease with the digital machine and its systems are if not
constant then a consistently present theme. Excitement seems to be an
attribute of what can be rather than has been done, of what computing
will be (future tense!) around the next historical corner. That which causes
unease takes different forms but seems always to be there. We now call it 
AI. Other technologies are simply part of the furniture once they settle 
down; not so protean digital computing.

Do you think there's anything to this notion of mine? Can you suggest 
refinements (presuming there's something there to be refined...)?

Yours,
WM
--
Willard McCarty,
Professor emeritus, King's College London;
Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews;  Humanist
www.mccarty.org.uk


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