Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Data is the key to unlock Humanities Riches!

This statement could be so taken for granted !
I was reading NY Times today and couldn’t stop thinking about the possibility of making sense of this all.
What could be a bigger scientific experiment than exploring the humanities ?
‘Members of a new generation of digitally savvy humanists argue it is time to stop looking for inspiration in the next political or philosophical “ism” and start exploring how technology is changing our understanding of the liberal arts. This latest frontier is about method, they say, using powerful technologies and vast stores of digitized materials that previous humanities scholars did not have.’ -  More Here
The two key words i was after were ‘Quantification’ and ‘Interpretation’. Quantification will make much sense for a computational scientist (like me) However, it can be argued that proper Interpretation also plays a vital role., for which an enormous computing infrastructure mainly centred around data crunching will be absolutely invaluable!
It’s worthy to note that ‘The humanities and social sciences are the emerging domains for using high-performance computing’.
Ancient to modern languages, Logic (the next thing which comes to my mind) , Literature, Law , History, Philosophy, Religion, Visual and Performing Arts, Music, Anthropology, Linguistics, Cultural Studies. Now, that’s an ennnnnnnnnormoussss list!. I don’t think an entire lifetime is enough to quantify and interpret that sort of an experiment!!, But with advances in distributed computing, This is merely a truth proposition.
Questions which could be answered.

  • Did the ‘Fountainhead of Indian ‘Logic’ Intellect come from its cultural roots’ ?
  • Did Pythagoras come to India to learn ‘Logic’ ?
  • How were the ragas born ?, Are the ragas mathematically a complex hash function of frequencies ?, How did such complex mathematical function get rooted into a  seemingly divinity biased Carnatic music ?
  • How did western musical instruments evolve in India ? Violin , Saxaphone ?
  • Why is divinity the epicentre of music, atleast carnatic music ?. Can Athethists play carnatic music with same passion  ?
  • What Influenced the development of Lipis ? Was the spoken language invented first before Lipis or was it the other way round ?
  • Do the Sanskrit proverbs actually interpret as Formal ‘Logic’ ?
  • Was Shakaracharya an Atheist before he proposed ‘Aham Bramhaasmi’ ?
  • Is Ayn Rand’s ‘Objectivism’ practised more by Indians than Americans ?
  • Do Europeans exhibit ‘Existentialism’ traits than people from any other continent ?
  • I want to stop now..Sky is the limit!! Endless possibilities..

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