Posts Tagged: computers
For many writers, after all, a word processor was as much an appliance as it was a deeply individualized instrument—more fax machine than fountain pen. … Still, the plastic, glass, and silicon devices had stories to tell, just as did the people pictured with them.
We’re used to Amazon producing recommendations alongside books we buy, but are we prepared for a world where computerized data also picks what gets published? Inkitt, an electronic publishing platform, has announced that they will be utilizing algorithms to pick novels to publish in the interest of “fairness and objectivity” that can’t be found in this world of “literary gatekeepers.”...more
For Lit Hub, David Denby reflects on the danger of losing young readers because of the influence of cell phone and computer screens:
Electronic utopians say, “Calm down, nothing has been lost. If anything, the opportunities for reading have become much greater…” In the literal sense, this is true.
For Motherboard at VICE, Elizabeth Preston profiles the work of Sarah Harmon, a programmer in the field of computational creativity. Harmon has taken significant steps in designing programs that can learn the rules of language and literature to create their own attempts at figurative language and poetry....more
Type is the same, instance after instance, and the font you choose today will look the same when you type in it again tomorrow. The same is not true for crafting prose or poetry by hand, each looping connection between letters mapping out the inherently linear, temporal nature of language: the fact that for it to “work,” you must always be in the tumbling forward of reading.
I was handed that toy, sitting on Tom’s porch, in 1992. A person offering another person a piece of advice. Life passed through that object as well, through the teddy bear as much as through the operating systems of yore.
Now that I have children I can see how tuned they are to the world.
At Melville House, Liam O’Brien delves into the fictional and factual history of book-writing computers, from Roald Dahl’s “The Great Automatic Grammatizator” to the Russian computer that rewrote Anna Karenina in the style of Murakami. With some media outlets already using bots to pen articles, he wonders if the robots will be coming for literature next....more
A new computer program can write fables, reports the Guardian. The Moral Storytelling System, devised by Margaret Sarlej at the University of New South Wales, chooses a moral and determines a sequence of events. But the resulting stories so far remain fairly basic and Sarlej doubts the software will ever replace novelists....more
Key arrangement isn’t the only thing modern keyboards borrow from a bygone age. We get the term “shift key” from the way a Remington Model 2 Type-Writer physically shifted the printing bar between uppercase and lowercase. Uppercase and lowercase are themselves much older terms, referring to a 15th century method for keeping track of the little metal letters used in printing presses: Small keys were kept in individual boxes at the bottom of a large case; the capitalized letter were kept in corresponding boxes in the upper part of the case.
Technology has changed the way writers write, and that change is not just about the rise of e-books. Composition in a digital world is much more malleable and fluid, and changes in methodology alter the structure of sentences and words. Author Tom McCarthy tells the Guardian:
Writing with word processors has given a new organisation to shaping sentences but it has also given flexibility; paragraphs can be switched, flipped and thrown out with an ease that would’ve been impossible when working with a typewriter.
Lord Byron’s estranged daughter, Lady Ada Lovelace, was just as swashbuckling and as tragic as her father. She was also a card shark, drug addict, and computer genius....more
At Slate, computer-science professor Philip Guo discusses an odd side effect of stereotypes about Asian men: when he was first learning to code, they actually worked in his favor.
Even when Guo was a novice, people gave him the benefit of the doubt, which allowed him the time to learn everything he needed to learn....more