For every college professor who made Shakespeare or Lawrence come alive for the lucky few, there were countless others who made the reading of literary masterpieces seem like two hours in the periodontist’s chair.
Technology writer Evgeny Morozov notes that Amazon is sitting on vast amounts of data collected from its Kindle devices about what part of a book people are most likely to give up reading. In the not-too-distant future … Amazon could build a system that uses this aggregated reading data to write novels automatically that are tailored to readers’ tastes. Will there be a point where writers and readers will admit defeat, acknowledging that the computers … know best?
A couple weeks ago, I wrote about this year’s Brandeis commencement, at which New Republic editor Leon Wieseltier argued that the humanities are under siege in America. In this week’s issue of Prospect Magazine, Malcolm Nicholson interviews Wieseltier, who claims that “we live in a culture of worthless praise.”