Humanist Discussion Group

Humanist Archives: June 9, 2021, 7:16 a.m. Humanist 35.74 - obsolescence of markup

				                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 35, No. 74.
        Department of Digital Humanities, University of Cologne
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    [1]    From: Dr. Herbert Wender 
           Subject: Re: [Humanist] 35.71: obsolescence of markup (60)

    [2]    From: Henry Schaffer 
           Subject: Re: [Humanist] 35.71: obsolescence of markup (13)

    [3]    From: Willard McCarty 
           Subject: obsolescence (29)


--[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: 2021-06-08 13:16:55+00:00
        From: Dr. Herbert Wender 
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 35.71: obsolescence of markup

Dear Jonah,

before going up into the higher spheres of scholarly 'intuition' I would propose
that we look at the state of the art in one of the most important markup places
in a world not always the best of all possibles. I thought we wouldn't need AI
but just simple-minded algorithms to clean-up the markup in classical electonic
editions. My example: "Lord Jim" by Joseph Conrad. The institution curating the
XML-file: The Oxford Text Archive. The original encoder: Michael Sperberg-
MyQueen. The Google test:

Lord Jim Conrad, Joseph, 1857-1924 University of Oxford Text ...
https://ota.bodleian.ox.ac.uk › xmlui › bitstream › handle... and suddenly,
giving up the idea of going home, he took a berth as chief mate of the
rend=italic>Patna . The Patna was a local steamer as old as the hills, lean ...
It's not a question of intuition, it's just a mistake that I wouldm' have
expected in a file which was - so said by the TEI header - multiply checked in
advancing from verrsion to verrsion.

Regards, Herbert

-----Ursprüngliche Mitteilung-----
Von: Humanist 
An: drwender@aol.com
Verschickt: Di, 8. Jun. 2021 7:33
Betreff: [Humanist] 35.71: obsolescence of markup

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 35, No. 71.
        Department of Digital Humanities, University of Cologne
                          Hosted by DH-Cologne
                      www.dhhumanist.org
                Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org




        Date: 2021-06-07 10:42:20+00:00
        From: JONAH LYNCH 
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 35.67: obsolescence of markup?

Dear Willard,

Thank you for your interesting question. I am no expert, but feel encouraged to
jump in anyway.

At a first approximation, it seems certain to me that as artificial processes of
detection improve, humans will have less marking up to do. So yes, some kinds of
markup will become obsolete at some point. Whether that process concludes by
replacing or asymptotically approaching human intelligence is anybody’s guess.
Perhaps your question could be reframed to read: does intuition exist, or is it
a name we give to patterns we do not yet know how to detect except through
“intuition"—but which are in principle computable?

Can you describe the distinction you imply between markup and scholarly
commentary? It seems to me that this would be a step in the direction of
clarifying what is special about human intelligence.

Cordially,

Jonah Lynch
University of Pavia

--[2]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: 2021-06-08 12:21:24+00:00
        From: Henry Schaffer 
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 35.71: obsolescence of markup

Here's an item related to this area:

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/372/6545/911

"The history of science includes numerous challenging problems, including
the “hard problem” (1) of consciousness: Why does an assembly of neurons—no
matter how complex, such as the human brain—give rise to perceptions and
feelings that are consciously experienced, such as the sweetness of
chocolate or the tenderness of a loving caress on one's cheek? Beyond
satisfying this millennia-old existential curiosity, understanding
consciousness ..."

--henry

--[3]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: 2021-06-08 05:57:10+00:00
        From: Willard McCarty 
        Subject: obsolescence

Jonah Lynch responded to my speculation about the obsolescence of
markup, asking what I had in mind by the distinction I made between the
kind I thought would not ever prove obsolescent and the kind that would.
My overall intention was to draw attention to the impermanence of work
in computing, and so to raise the question of invasive curation. Of
course every thing is impermanent, in constant flux &c, but some
artefacts of scholarship do survive because we care about them. Adding
to them with highly interpretative metatext would be regarded as a
different sort of contribution than denoting layout, would it not?

Thus an example: metatext that says "this is a paragraph" versus
metatext that comments on the author's likely intention in breaking the
flow of prose in the particular version in question. I think we can say
that completely reliable automatic recognition of paragraphs is only a
matter of time -- except in relatively rare circumstances. No
hard-and-fast rules, only a doubtlessly annoying observation.

Is there yet another argument here for standoff markup? For working even
harder on statistical methods of analysis? Something else?

Yours,
WM


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


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