Humanism and technology, by Daniel Fernández | Entertainment | The USA Print

The La Vanguardia workshops in the 1920s. View of the printing press on Pelai street, with the linotypers sitting in front of the linotypes.  The sides were manufactured by the Intertipe house.  The one in the background is from the Linotype house

Now that the best business schools are rediscovering the humanities, following the old path followed by Cambridge and Oxford, it is precisely when in our country, always so attached to a false modernity, the studies of those same humanities are lost and Latin is relegated. to the junk room. History, literature, philosophy and art draw the minimum that any aspirant to lead a company must cover and know, because he will not be able to do it if he does not first understand who human beings are and what their evolution has been.

But there is no need to lament too much, because we already see that throughout the West school merits are weakening and that the new fashion tells us that the so-called artificial intelligence (in purity, connected databases and with a certain capacity for self-learning) will soon write our jobs academics and it could even be that our newspapers and the letters to the loved one. One is not so impressed, really, by ChatGPT – jipiti for friends–, but he does miss a moral sense, an ethic that guides the machine and makes it understand, for example, that lying is ugly and that accepting that you don’t know something when you don’t know it is a sign to the instead of modesty and humanity.

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We have fed this artificial intelligence all kinds of content, much of it subject to copyright, but it doesn’t matter, everything has been stuffed into the great culture grinder that now vomits its blood sausages while we wait for it to learn how to make refined dishes.

Our legs tremble before this tool in a world that is advancing towards intolerance

Without a doubt, it is a technological, social, economic and even political revolution; Much more, even, than what the irruption of the Internet and the so-called new technologies, which are no longer so new, since almost all the large companies today oligopoly began their journey more or less ten years ago. And now that the utopia of a more democratic and free internet, full of knowledge and virtues, has vanished, and we have seen the little leg of a network populated with hoaxes, lies and manipulation, our legs tremble when imagining what this can mean. new tool in a world that is advancing towards confrontation and intolerance.

Linotypists in the workshops of La Vanguardia in Pelai; twenties of the last century


And despite everything, one is optimistic. Humanity always, after its initial suffering and doubts, ended up mastering and integrating new technologies. I am not, let me put it that way, a Luddite. On the contrary, I believe that any new technology also brings an evolution of the same humanism that, in fact, was possible thanks to a technological renovation: the movable type printing press.

Chinese and Koreans already knew a movable type printing press long before the Western one. And xylography, printing using wooden plates, was well known when Gutenberg, a blacksmith and goldsmith, converted an old wine press and cast strong metal types capable of creating lines and pages. Gutenberg passes for being the inventor of something that was actually used by his partner and lender, Johann Fust (along with Fust’s son-in-law, Peter Schöffer) and with which Gutenberg himself went bankrupt in Mainz, although he later made amends in Bamberg . The so-called Gutenberg Bible, the one with 42 lines per page, is actually the Fust Bible.

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But what was significant was the revolution brought about by the printing press, which brought knowledge out of the monasteries.

But all that doesn’t matter, because what was significant was the revolution brought about by the printing press, which took the knowledge of the medieval scriptoria and the copyists of the monasteries (mostly illiterate) and created a world full of printing presses and books. The Venice of Nicholas Jensen and Aldus Manutius, the Manuzio who rediscovered the Greek and Latin classics. Or Barcelona and Valencia, among many other cities. The incunabula books, that is to say, those that were printed until Easter day of the year of our Lord 1500, are so because they were made in the cradle, that is, at the birth of the printing press, between 1456 and 1500. Because already in In the sixteenth century, in the first decade two million copies had been printed in Europe, which at the end of the century were almost two hundred million volumes. Those books, that explosion, was the one that promoted humanism and the Renaissance. And what made possible the Lutheran reform and the greatest leap of knowledge and new ideas that humanity has experienced.

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