Category Archives: cultural studies

The Alliance of Geeks and Poets: Quantifying Culture

An “alliance of geeks and poets” is how Patricia Cohen describes the emergence of data-driven research in the humanities in her great piece in the New York Times.

Ms. Cohen ‘s article describes the rise of “digital humanities”. As she reports, “…researchers are digitally mapping Civil War battlefields to understand what role topography played in victory, using databases of thousands of jam sessions to track how musical collaborations influenced jazz, and searching through large numbers of scientific texts and textbooks to track where concepts first appeared and how they spread.”

The opportunities for new insight and understanding about culture, civilization and consciousness seem immense – but there are also important limitations to data analysis to be recognized here, challenges that measurement for business communications have been wrestling with for a while. Ms. Cohen quotes a Princeton professor for this perspective: Continue reading

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No Permission: Lawrence Lessig’s great review of ‘The Social Network’ and what it missed

From the article:

“What is important in Zuckerberg’s story is not that he’s a boy genius. He plainly is, but many are. It’s not that he’s a socially clumsy (relative to the Harvard elite) boy genius. Every one of them is. And it’s not that he invented an amazing product through hard work and insight that millions love. The history of American entrepreneurism is just that history, told with different technologies at different times and places.

Instead, what’s important here is that Zuckerberg’s genius could be embraced by half-a-billion people within six years of its first being launched, without (and here is the critical bit) asking permission of anyone.” Continue reading

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