Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Big Dada

If you mistyped and where searching for "big data," try this other post. Here we are on 5 February 1916 in the Cabaret Voltaire on the Spiegelgasse, just a few steps from the apartment where Lenin was living in exile and not far from where I lived for a couple of years under a gaslight.

Cabaret Voltaire

Dada represents the total doubt about everything, the absolute individualism and the destruction of ideals and norms hitherto cast in concrete. For example, in Hugo Ball's Lautgedichte (sound poetry) the utterances are decoupled from semantics. This is how a century later naive users misuse Internet search engines and then wonder their queries just return millions of dada, much to the chagrin of the computational linguists trying to design semantic search engines. This is dada. No, it is a trigram. Can a second order Markov model help? Not for this trigram: Google Books thinks, it does not exist. Coming up with a new sentence is so dada.

The dadaists were displeased with science, which they judged to be elitist and far from any comprehensibility and sensuality. Maybe they were not completely right, considering what was happening in theoretical physics around that time. But certainly, today science is more dada, when fresh laureates dance their Ph.D. You can win a trip to Stanford and visit me, just a few steps away, under an LED lamppost.