, Princeton University, “From Ancient Parchments to Digital Tablets: The Role Syriac Plays in Digital Developments“
The digitalization campaign during the last years made available a big number of manuscripts, printed books, inscriptions, to a broad public. Most of them remain inaccessible for non-specialists for several reasons: the script cannot be deciphered, the language disappeared or its historical variants differ too much from the modern one, the semantics of the words changed or the conceptual space is completely different from ours. Computational methods and especially artificial intelligence offer powerful mechanisms to bring these rich cultural heritage assets into new light, made them transparent and more accessible for non-specialists and allow also more interdisciplinary collaboration. On the other hand, processing these documents implies often the rethinking and adaptation of established paradigms in the computer science and the embedding of principles of the ground method in humanities „hermeneutics”.
In this public lecture series, we invite internationally renowned scholars working in the cutting- edge domain of digital culture heritage to present current approaches of using computational methods on old scripts, show benefits, discuss the change of paradigm in humanistic interpretation and address also limitation of machines. The talk will address a broad spectrum of scripts and languages among them Arabic, classical Ethiopic, Coptic, Latin, classical Greek, old German.
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