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'The Human Element'
- Value of Editing. In Soylent, the authors ipse dixit assert that the waning phases of the editing process--where the author cuts her work--is of little to no value. That assumption seems assailable. There certainly is value--both for the author "personally" and the quality of the work--in performing these last edits. How would we assess a similar claim in art or music? Do we think an algorithm or something like it could cut reduce the size of music in the same way? What other issues are at stake? Why might the process be similar, different?
- Expertise. The authors of Soylent touch on expertise, noting that one problem was "a lack of domain knowledge." (p. 8). This raises two issues. First, is there a way that we can solve the expertise problem? Perhaps we could have roll-over definitions for complex terms, but it seems some kinds of expertise command working knowledge of more than just definitions. Second, even assuming we could solve the first problem, could we convince specialists to use such a service?