Can We Escape Alphabetic Order? Chinese I.T. Before and After UnicodeThomas S. Mullaney
Associate Professor of Chinese History, Stanford University
Drawing upon more than a decade of research in the fields of Chinese and Non-Western information technology, Stanford historian Tom Mullaney maps out the parallel and still-uncharted worlds of Chinese IT. Worlds where text encoding systems have never been hidden from the average user’s view, but instead where they are directly manipulated, command-line-style, by hundreds of millions of code-conscious users. Worlds where the mythology of “plaintext” was never allowed to take hold, and where everyone knows that ‘WYS’ is not ‘WYG’. With vivid examples pulled from the archives of telegraphy, computing, machine translation, digital typography, and more, he will give a guided tour of China‘s 200-year-old quest for a stable information order, posing a fundamental question along the way: Why has the Chinese script proven so difficult to encode, and what does this tell us about the fundamental inequalities that are still baked into our modern-day information order?
About IUC 41, October 16-18, 2017: For twenty-six years the Internationalization & Unicode® Conference (IUC) has been the preeminent event highlighting the latest innovations and best practices of global and multilingual software providers. Please join us for our 41st conference! This year's event is being held on October 16-18, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. Read more.