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Elaine Treharne: Why physical books will always be with us

An expert on historical texts explains why studying ancient writings is the key to understanding humans and human civilization … yesterday, today and forever.
Photo of a medieval manuscript.
Medieval manuscripts can reveal the universal experiences of the human mind and heart throughout time. | Shutterstock/Virag Nobile

Our guest on this episode of Stanford Engineering's The Future of Everything podcast, Elaine Treharne, is an English professor and an authority on ancient manuscripts.

She's using modern tools like machine learning to unlock the secrets hidden inside these aged pages. Despite frequent predictions of the demise of physical writing, she says, books will never go away. Physical writing, she believes, is a perfectly human manifestation of our humanity—an effort by transient beings to create something eternal.

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All this and more as Treharne and our host Russ Altman discuss the future of books, writing and reading on this episode of The Future of Everything.

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