Séance 27 Avril 2016

Lieu:  SND (CNRS/Paris 4), Maison de la Recherche 28, rue Serpente 75006 Paris (room D 117)

Nous avons le plaisir de vous annoncer la prochaîne séance de l’axe « Interactions entre logique, calcul et linguistique » du séminaire « Réflexions sur les processus de calcul, d’information et de programmation”, mercredi 27 Avril 2016 à 16h SND (CNRS/Paris 4), Maison de la Recherche, 28, rue Serpente 75006 Paris (room D 117) avec la participation de Paola Cantù et Teresa Numerico.

Paola Cantù (CEPERC, CNRS – Aix-Marseille Université), Algorithms and arguments: artificial intelligence and informal logic

Argumentation theory (AT) underwent a significant development in Fifties and Sixties: its revival is usually connected to Perelman’s criticism of formal logic and the development of informal logic. Interestingly enough it was during this period that Artificial Intelligence (AI) developed, and defended the thesis that human reasoning can be emulated by machines. We suggest that the interpretation of informal logic as strictly opposed to formal logic might be interestingly analyzed as a move in a strategy to refute the AI thesis by attacking a premise of the argument: the possibility of expressing arguments by means of algorithms. We are  thereby suggesting that the move was explicitly made by theorists; nonetheless this counterfactual reconstruction might shed some light on the reasons that opposed argumentation theorists and AI-scholars.

We suggest making a distinction between a broad and a
narrow notion of algorithm that might be fruitfully compared with the distinction between a broad and a narrow notion of argument in argumentation theory. If one interprets formal logic as a sub-domain of informal logic rather than as a radically incompatible research area, several similarities between the broad and narrow notions of argument and algorithm might be discovered: the two broad notions  informal rather than formal, pragmatic rather than only syntactic, in need of an interpretation rather than unambiguously determined,
non-deterministic rather than deterministic.

Teresa Numerico (Università degli Studi Roma Tre), Black box, memory and datification: a perspective on the origins of computer science

In this talk I will underline the influences of the ideas of
Cybernetics together with those included in other – almost
contemporary – communication technologies projects on the development of computer science. I don’t want to deny the relevance of other disciplinary and cultural sources, such as logic and engineering, but I want to underline the communication studies soul of computers and its role in shaping the most successful results obtained by computer science so far. Norbert Wiener, but also Vannevar Bush, Joseph Licklider, Douglas Engelbart, Alan Kay and Bob Taylor had a very relevant impact on the organization of the human-machine interaction perspective not only from a technical point of view, but also inspiring the psychological perspective that allowed the creation of potential relationship of computers with human thinking, decision making and all sorts of human actions.
The cybernetics idea of communication systems as black boxes
played a crucial part in the reorganization of the communication studies, as well as a new completely reshaped vision of memory, which was also influenced by the implementation of the Turing Machine in a real computer. All these tools were at the basis of the idea that management of a huge quantity of Data would offer completely new results in the data manipulation practices.
Some of these ideas can be traced also in the eighteen century and maybe even before, but only after the Second World War they were put together and had some many consequences, not necessarily always positive. The effect of this success, however, is clearly the algorithmic dictatorship and the centrality of all the Big Data projects that we are facing now within computer science.  The aim of the present talk is a genealogic analysis of the historical beginning of this Data centrality vision.