Metahistory for (Ro)bots: Historical Knowledge in the Artificial Intelligence Era

This text offers a theoretical reflection on the effects of the artificial intelligence and digital era on the historian’s métier. It is based on a set of experiments involved in the development of a cybernetic historian, dealing with hypotheses such as (ro)bots creating historical narratives and mastering methods of both quantitative and qualitative analysis, as well as suggesting research problems. In other to do so, we present our own technology, in progress of development, and we problematize the steps to create a historian “bot". The term robot is understood as a computer program executing tasks on a largely automated basis, without any relationship with a human user. In turn, tasks are complemented by an artificial intelligence system. This emergent reality raises an urgent debate on ethical issues, such as transparency and digital ethics, and it may also be useful to problematize the future of the historical profession in the contemporary world. Corrigendum published on April 28, 2019.1. Both authors contributed equally to this work.2. The property of the algorithm used to obtain the data of this article belongs to Oldimar Cardoso.