Data Mining (a lecture by Lev Manovich, Copenhagen, November 11)

The Culture of Ubiquitous Information
Seminar 4 :
Invisibility and Unawareness: Ethico-political Implications of
Embeddedness and Surveillance Culture

Copenhagen, November 9 - 11, 2011

Friday, November 11, 10am
Danish Architectural Center, Strandgade 27, 1401 Copenhagen K

Lev Manovich

Data mining

Data mining is the application of statistical and artificial intelligence methods for computational analysis of large data sets and data streams (including surveillance data). Along with machine learning, it is the key intellectual technology used in our software societies to understand information, derive knowledge and make decisions. While it is important for all citizens of these societies to understand the basic principles involved in these technologies, it becomes even more important for digital humanists who are beginning to adopt computation for the analysis of large cultural data sets.

In my presentation I will discuss the key ideas underlying data mining and machine learning and their relations to the history of ideas about the nature of categories (classical view, family resemblance, prototype theory.) I will argue that while in the industry these technologies are commonly used to reify existing social and cultural categories, humanists should use them in the opposite way: to question these categories. I will show how this can work in practice using the example of one of the projects in our lab ( – analysis and visualization of 100 GB data set of one million manga (Japanese comics) pages.