To kill, or not to kill?

Driveless car faces moral dilemmas which should be solved by ethics or data? The research about the ethic of driveless car is undertaken by Media Lab at MIT and  Culture and Morality Lab at the University of California Irvine where researchers try to address the following issues: “Should the car risk its passengers’ lives by swerving to the side—where the edge of the road meets a steep cliff? Or should the car continue on its path, ensuring its passengers’ safety at the child’s expense?”

Shariff and his colleagues from Media Lab MIT launched a Website called “Moral Machine” to help gather more information about how people would prefer autonomous cars to react in different scenarios where passenger and pedestrian safety are at odds. At this website, you can take a test “start judging”, that is to say, you need to decide where the car should hit and consequently, whom it should kill to save the others. Do you prefer to save young people or seniors? Women or men? Doctors or robbers? Should the car kill two passengers or five pedestrians? Take a test and help to gather the information about a human perspective on moral decisions made by machine intelligence, such as self-driving cars. And also be sure that it is an interesting experience to get to know your preferences and ethics!

Poetry for Robots

For the first time, we do write poetry for robot and not vice versa! “Poetry for Robots” is a digital humanities experiment instigated by this Imaginary Papers blog post and sponsored by Neologic Labs, Webvisions, and Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination. The goal of this experiment is to build a database of metaphors and poetry language in general for which source is poetry written by a user. By writing poetry, we can help to improve a “robot language”.

The task is simple: click and image and write a poem. You can be inspired by palm trees, a bridge in the fog, New York station, grapes, keyboard, mountain and much more. Your poem will be stored in the database with the picture as ‘poetic metadata.’

In the next steps, scholars will investigate poetries and try to reveal a “pattern of metaphors”. We’ll see if the robot has learned how we see, describe, and feel the world. Eventually, they aim is to write an algorithm generating poetry filled with metaphors.

So let’s help the robot to learn a language poetry!


12 Must-Read Books about Digital Humanities

Must-read books about digital humanities are as follow:

  • A Companion to Digital Humanities, ed. Susan Schreibman, Ray Siemens, John Unsworth (Wiley-Blackwell, 2008)
  • Switching Codes: Thinking Through Digital Technology in the Humanities and the Arts, ed. Thomas Bartscherer, Roderick Coover (University of Chicago Press, 2011)
  • Debates in the Digital Humanities, ed. Matthew Gold (2012)
  • Digital_Humanities, ed. Anne Burdick, Johanna Drucker, Peter Lunenfeld, Todd Presner, Jeffrey Schnapp (The MIT Press, 2012)
  • Understanding Digital Humanities, ed. by D. Berry (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012)
  • Collaborative Research in the Digital Humanities, ed. by Willard McCarty, Marilyn Deegan (Routledge, 2012)
  • Digital Humanities Pedagogy: Practices, Principles and Politics by Brett D. Hirsch (Open Book Publishers, 2012)
  • The Emergence of the Digital Humanities, Steven E. Jones (Routledge, 2013)
  • Comparative Textual Media: Transforming the Humanities in the Postprint Era, ed. N. Katherine Hayles, Jessica Pressman (Univ Of Minnesota Press, 2013)
  • Interdisciplining Digital Humanities: Boundary Work in an Emerging Field by Julie Thompson Klein (University of Michigan Press, 2015)

This above list is expanded by the next publications released in this year, such as Defining Digital Humanities by Melissa Terras, Julianne Nyhan, and Edward Vanhoutte (Routledge, 2014), and A New Companion to Digital Humanities edited by Susan Schreibman, Ray Siemens, John Unsworth (Blackwell, 2016).

I especially recommend the last position A New Companion to Digital Humanities which in comparison with the previous version presents comprehensively various areas of digital humanities, called as a “discipline in its own right”, rather than a set of related methods. Besides the description of digital tools and projects, what was typical for the first publications about digital humanities, it focuses on critical analysis of digital humanities (e.g. Ancient Evenings: Retrocomputing in the Digital Humanities by Matthew G. Kirschenbaum, Interface as Mediating Actor for Collection Access, Text Analysis, and Experimentation by Stan Ruecker, and Gendering Digital Literary History: What Counts for Digital Humanities by Laura C. Mandell). What is interesting for me, the edition includes, for the first time, articles devoted to the relationships between digital humanities and electronic literature, such as Exploratory Programming in Digital Humanities Pedagogy and Research by Nick Montfort and Electronic Literature as Digital Humanities by Scott Rettberg.

More about resources of digital humanities: Bibliography for Work in Digital Humanities and (Inter)mediality Studies by Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek, “CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture”(2013).

“Społeczność literatury elektronicznej”

Pojawił się już nowy numer “Fragile” (2016, nr 1) poświęcony “Wspólnotowości”, a w nim mój artykuł “Społeczność literatury elektronicznej. Rozwój modelu kulturowo-literackiego, ekonomicznego i akademickiego”.

Jak zdefiniować literaturę elektroniczną (e-lit)? Jakie teorie należy zastosować do badań literatury elektronicznej? Jak określić jej miejsce w przestrzeni nauk humanistycznych? Każde z tych pytań otwiera pole do burzliwej dyskusji, w której – co jest szczególnie interesujące – uczestniczą reprezentanci różnych dyscyplin naukowych: od literaturoznawców, przez kulturoznawców, po programistów. Można nie zgadzać się z wieloma teoriami i argumentami, i wieszczyć kolejny koniec literatury elektronicznej. Nie można jednak zaprzeczyć, że literatura elektroniczna to fenomen literacki, kulturowy i akademicki dosłownie na skalą światową. Żadna inna grupa awangardowa, przechodząc do mainstreamu akademickiego, nie zbudowała takiej organizacji, wspólnoty i marki. Potrzeba było stworzyć nie tylko wspólny język reprezentacji działań, lecz także sieć współpracy do dyskusji i realizacji wspólnych celów. Infrastruktura literatury elektronicznej opiera się na zbudowaniu silnej społeczności, która doprowadziła do wytworzenia nowego paradygmatu kulturowo-literackiego, nowego systemu wydawniczego i nowego trybu prowadzenia badań naukowych.

Więcej w najnowszym numerze “Fragile”!