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date: 22 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter argues that data mining and machine learning technologies “read” in the strong sense of the word, and that this represents an epochal shift in the history of reading as such. It considers various categories of responses to the idea of “non-human reading” that the world that has emerged from this shift is better than ever, that it is obviously inferior to the one now ending, and that it merely repeats attributes of technological modernity easily identified in ages past. But following the strong view of machine reading, this chapter suggests that the present technological moment is actually unprecedented. This makes concrete predictions difficult. What we can be sure of, however, is that like other truly unprecedented technological shifts, the move to a world in which machines truly read will give rise to ethical frameworks as yet unconceived.

Keywords: reading, machine learning, data mining, artificial intelligence, ethics

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