When you smash art and science together, be prepared for The Great Conflation where logic and imagination meet. Consider, for example, how permanent a book is compared to technology. Treated with care, books last hundreds of years and the thoughts of earlier writers are still accessible today in physical form. Meanwhile technology, which keeps updating itself, often makes written material ephemeral and history will not be able to access much of the important writing of the digital age unless we archive it all.
Who decides this? How do we go about preserving the best of the internet’s output for future generations. How can we know which of it is going to be important to people a century or millennium from now? It’s the sort of thing that keeps N. Katherine Hayles awake at night. Nobody better embodies The Great Conflation as science is employed to understand writing, literature and philosophy for future generations.