Database of Dreams: The Lost Quest to Catalog Humanity

Database of Dreams: The Lost Quest to Catalog Humanity

Rebecca Lemov
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Author:  Rebecca Lemov
Condition:  New
Format:  Hardback
Pages:  368
Publisher:  Yale University Press
Year:  2016
ISBN:  9780300209525

An acclaimed science historian uncovers the fascinating story of a "lost" project to unlock humanity's common denominator that prefigured the emergence of Big Data

Just a few years before the dawn of the digital age, Harvard psychologist Bert Kaplan set out to build the largest database of sociological information ever assembled. It was the mid-1950s, and social scientists were entranced by the human insights promised by Rorschach tests and other innovative scientific protocols. Kaplan, along with anthropologist A. I. Hallowell and a team of researchers, sought out a varied range of non-European subjects among remote and largely non-literate peoples around the globe. Recording their dreams, stories, and innermost thoughts in a vast database, Kaplan envisioned future researchers accessing the data through the cutting-edge Readex machine. Almost immediately, however, technological developments and the obsolescence of the theoretical framework rendered the project irrelevant, and eventually it was forgotten.