Monday, October 29, 2018

This is AI, at your service

I've been depositing papers at for some years now. Every once in awhile they add new services, some for free, some you've got to pay for. In the last month or so I've been getting messages like this, Suzanne Akbari just uploaded a paper similar to "Digital Criticism Comes of Age". I assume they've got some kind of AI trolling their database looking for matches.

Here's the abstract for Akbari's paper, Modeling Medieval World Literature:
This article describes three models for integrating the study of medieval texts within world literature. First, “Mediterraneans” point to sites where diverse cosmopolitan regional centers areconnected by a sea. Second, “distant reading ” is deployed intracing literary forms and themes over long periods of time and across cultures within medieval literature. Third, and mostextensively, a model based on “moving things” is developed totrack the ways in which objects and persons are used in medievaltexts to precipitate cultural and social change on a large scale.Following the traveling objects in The Canterbury Tales, The Book of John Mandeville, the Kebra Nagast, and the Travels of Ibn Battuta, the article presents new patterns of conceptualizing literary history.
Here's the abstract for mine, Digital Criticism Comes of Age:
There is a loose historical continuity in themes and concerns running from the origins of “close” reading in the early 20th century through machine translation and computational linguistics in the third quarter and “distant” reading in the present. Distant reading is the only current form of literary criticism that is presenting us with something new in the way that telescopes once presented astronomers with something new. Moreover it is the only form of criticism that is directly commensurate with the material substance of language. In the long-term it will advance in part by recouping and reconstructing earlier work in symbolic computation of natural language.
Actually, the match is not quite so clueless as I thought at first glance, which is when I decided to write this post. I saw an article on medieval literature, which has nothing to do with my piece, which is something of a polemic for digital criticism. What redeems the match, ever so slightly, is that the medieval article includes some discussion of "distant reading", a form of digital criticism.  

I took a quick look through Akbari's article. It looks pretty interesting. If I were a medievalist I'd probably read it with care and interest. But I'm not a medievalist, at least not at the moment.

Anyhow, I can  sorta' see the basis for the match, both articles are in English, both are about literature, and both discuss this "distant reading". But my piece is more or less all about that "distant reading" and discusses no particular literary period.

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