Authorship attribution

with Mike Kestemont

Download this episode in mp3 (34.22 MB) or all episodes in a zip folder (1.16 GB).

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Did you know that your writing style can give away your identity? Mike Kestemont is an expert in authorship attribution, a field of study that applies artificial intelligence algorithms to linguistics and text analysis. A self-declared enthusiast of the Deep Learning movement, Mike explains very complex concepts very easily. Worth a listen! I've learnt a lot. Including about a shocking spinoff of the Harry Potter novels...

Mike Kestemont is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Literature at the University of Antwerp in Belgium. His expertise is in the field of computational text analysis, in particular for historic texts. His work is situated in the Digital Humanities, an international movement in which scholars from the conventional Humanities (linguistics, literary studies, history, ...) explore how digital methods and computation can support, enhance and transform traditional forms of research and teaching. Recent advances in computing technologies have, for instance, made it possible to mine cultural insights from immense text collections via "Distant Reading". Our era thus has the historic privilege of being to able to witness and stimulate the emergence of exciting new computational research possibilities, across the Humanities at large.

Authorship attribution is one of Mike's main areas of expertise: in the innovative research domain of stylometry (computational stylistics), computational algorithms are designed which can automatically identify the authors of anonymous texts through the quantitive analysis of individual writing styles. In his research, Mike has often applied stylometry to historic literature, which has often survived anonymously. Computational analyses have the advantage that they induce serendipity in textual analysis: a computer makes us aware of things that the eye of the human reader tends to skip. [Adapted from:]

The documentary on "Hildegard of Bingen: Authorship and Stylometry [trailer]" featuring Mike Kestemont.

News update

September 26, 2019
Mike has just published his first novel, a historical thriller called De zwarte koning (The black king.)
Congratulations, Mike! Veel success!