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The Future of the Humanities in a Digital Age

The Future of the Humanities in a Digital Age

On January 26, 2016, Vint Cerf of Google and Bruce Cole of the Ethics and Policy Center together gave the The 22nd Adams Lecture at San Diego State University. I’ll offer a brief summary with comments below. Here is the full video:

  • Vint Cerf’s main concern was the fragility of digital content. A notable quote:

We have evidence that a printed photograph can last for 150 years or more, but we do not have any evidence that a digital photograph can last more than a decade or two.

  • Here some of his concerns, bulleted in one of his slides:
  • Especially troublesome from an archiving perspective is software (executable content).
  • Similarly Bruce Cole raises concerns about the administration and funding of libraries and educational institutions in a digital age where sometimes ‘digital’ and ‘virtual’ can be seen as routes to cost-cutting.
  • Surprisingly Cole said something to the effect of, Wikipedia looks like the future of humanities research. I hope not! I rather see Wikipedia as a distribution channel for the popularisation of research, but not much more.

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