Beijing Harper Lecture:  Big Calculation and Algorithmic Intelligence

6:30–9:00 pm
The University of Chicago Center in Beijing
Culture Plaza 20th Floor
59A Zhongguancun Street
Haidian District, Beijing, 100872


In many cultures and epochs, the three pillars of scribal cultures have been reading, writing, and calculation. Our online lives are dominated by reading and writing to an extent probably unprecedented in world history; these culture techniques have weathered and indeed flourished under successive media revolutions, from printing to digitization. But calculation, the third pillar of the scribal triumvirate, has almost ceased to count as an intellectual activity. How did this happen? In this lecture, Lorraine Daston takes you back to the century between 1870 and 1970, when calculation was demoted from an intellectual to a mechanical activity and when the histories of Big Calculation and the division of labor converged.

在许多文明和时代中,阅读、写作和计算分别是书写文化的三大支柱。我们的网络生活无疑被阅读和写作所占据,这种主导也许达到了前所未有的程度;经过数次媒介变革的洗礼,从纸媒到电子媒体,阅读和写作作为三大支柱之二,始终屹立不倒,并且更加繁荣。但是另外一根支柱——计算,却几乎不再被当做一种智力活动。这究竟是如何发生的?在本场讲座中,Lorraine Daston教授将带领我们回到1870年至1970年,那是计算从智力活动降格到机械活动的时代,也是所谓“大计算”与劳动分工的大潮合流的历史时刻。


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Featured Faculty | Lorraine Daston

Lorraine Daston is a visiting professor in the Department of History and the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago, director of Department II of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, and a permanent fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. She has published on a wide range of topics in the history of science, including the history of probability and statistics, wonders in early modern science, the emergence of the scientific fact, scientific models, objects of scientific inquiry, the moral authority of nature, and the history of scientific objectivity. Her recent books include How Reason Almost Lost Its Mind: The Strange Career of Cold War Rationality (2014, with Paul Erikson et al.) and Histories of Scientific Observation (2011, coedited with Elizabeth Lunbeck).

Lorraine Daston 简介

Lorraine Daston教授,芝加哥大学历史系、社会思想委员会访问教授,Max Planck历史学研究院第二研究室主任,柏林高级研究院终身研究员。她在历史学领域发表了多篇学术文章,主题包括概率与统计学的历史、早期现代科学中的奇观、科学事实的出现、科学模型、科学探索的客体、自然的道德权威、科学客观性的历史等。近年出版的著作有:《理性如何差点失了理智》(How Reason Almost Lost Its Mind: The Strange Career of Cold War Rationality ,与Paul Erikson等人合作撰写,2014年出版)及《科学观察史》(Histories of Scientific Observation ,与Elizabeth Lunbeck共同编辑,2011年出版)。