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Digital Humanities

Prof. David M. Berry (MFM) has written an op-ed article in the magazine which argues that in a digital age the humanities need to communicate humanistic values and their own contribution to public culture more than ever. He writes: 

"Today we live within a horizon of interpretability determined in large part by the capture of data by algorithms which overtake our lives and thoughts. This is a world that relies upon automation by computation and the manipulation of data using sophisticated software. It is a data-intensive world built on the economic realisation of an increasingly data-intensive scientific milieu.

However, this has a number of darker aspects, from extensive value-extraction of private data and the emergence of new forms of digital propaganda, to the creation of an economy of imperious digital monopolies. We need to ask key questions about who, what, why, when, where, and how in relation to digital technologies, but we also need to develop these questions in relation to humanistic inquiry and being human. The digital humanities are an increasingly important part of the humanities and are key to helping us to understand and live in this new digital world."

The magazine engages in the debate about the future of humankind in the light of digitization – who we want to be, how we want to live, and how technology will help us live up to these ideals and concepts. It is edited by Prof. Dr. Dr. Alexander Görlach, Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs and founding editor in chief. He writes:

"As we have seen in the emergence of the new digital era this is not a given. We may aim to build better societies but on the way we face crucial ethical questions: how do we make AI responsible? Can we outsource ethical decision making to algorithms? How would doing this change ourselves as beings with moral agency?"

In seeking to address these issues, the University of Sussex has itself made a four-year £3 million strategic investment in the digital humanities with the creation of the Sussex Humanities Lab. This Lab has intensified digital humanities research at the university and continues to support interdisciplinary research and practice across the university. Prof. Berry was a co-founder and former co-director of the Lab and continues to be involved in a number of digital humanities research projects. 


Posted on behalf of: David M. Berry
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Last updated: Thursday, 14 February 2019