For this lab, I used Voyant and Lexos to look at patterns in Only Revolutions.
This is an analysis of how many times the word “dream” shows up in Voyant.
This is a comparison of “I’m” and “We’re” in both stories.
This is a word cloud for Sam’s text in Lexos with stop-words applied.
This is a word cloud for Hailey’s text.
This is what the narratives all look like together. The first one is the whole text and the other two are broken down into Sam and Hailey.
Using Voyant and Lexos to look for patterns is a great complement to using the human mind. This would be mind-numbingly boring for a person, but is easy as pie for a computer. While they are a great complement, they cannot replace the human mind, especiallly in the context of close reading. The reason that close reading has value as a method of text analysis is because it requires the human mind and human interpretation. Things like distant “reading” can essentially be done by computers, and while helpful at looking at things a whole, lack the ability to look at things individually or in depth the way a human with a goal can. It is similar to how a census can tell us the characteristics of the majority, but very little on the individual level. This does not even mention the things that can escape the attention of a computer, which has no mind of its own. For example, when I was writing the reflection to my paper, the computer did not notice when I said notion instead of attention. It was spelled correctly, so there was no reason for the computer to be angry. When I sat down to write this; however, I noticed and became angry because it does make sense the first way. Only a human could have seen that.
Only a human can look at a combination of words on a page and say “This means something to me” or “This is what this means” and only another human can respond and say “No, this is what this means.” To a computer, a sentence is just a sentence and there is nothing else about it except the parameters that exist within it. Even these parameters are ones that a human has put in place. To a human, a sentence can burst with life. It is not just how words it has or how many times a letter or a word shows up. It is not just data to graph. It is text filled with potential, with meanings and interpretations that we can find if we just dig deeper. Or they might be gibberish. A computer cannot tell the difference between literature and gibberish. To it, they both contain words and letters and lines. Only a human can give value to something. Computers have no means to do that on an interpretative level. Until humanity masters Artificial Intelligence, this is not likely to change.