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ASCA Reading Group organised by Dr Pei-Sze Chow and Dr Claudio Celis Bueno | This year's Topic: ChatGPT and its discontents

Fall 2023/Winter 2024

Topic: ChatGPT and its discontents

This year’s AI & Cultural Production reading group will focus on the topic of ChatGPT. For the last year, the language model from OpenAI has been at the centre of numerous debates. Questions regarding authorship, copyright, impact on the labour market, biases, higher education, and environmental cost have been discussed extensively across popular media and academic spaces. The aim of this year’s reading group is to collectively examine some of the main critiques and reactions towards this technology, identifying patterns, shared presuppositions, and proposed responses. The objective is not simply to reproduce these critiques and reactions, but rather to map them and to reflect on the different conceptions (of technology, language, writing, authorship, meaning, etc.) that inform them.

The group will meet once a month between October 2023 and March 2024. Meetings will be hybrid (in person + Zoom). Room: 0.03 (BG1, Turfdraagsterpad 9, 1012XT Amsterdam).

We welcome members, old and new, who would like to lead the discussion of specific texts and topics related to ChatGPT and cultural production. Some suggestions might include the tool’s entanglements with specific cultural forms (e.g. film, music, literature), the environment, cultural politics, history, or philosophical issues.

Please get in touch with Claudio (c.o.celisbueno@uva.nl) or Pei-Sze (p.s.chow@uva.nl) if you’d like to lead a session or to suggest topics and texts.

If you want to participate in the reading group, make sure to follow our Newsletter. More details about each session (including the readings and the Zoom link) will be shared there.

Dates

  • October 18, 15:00-17:00
  • November 15, 15:00-17:00
  • December 13, 15:00-17:00
  • January 24, 15:00-17:00
  • February 21, 15:00-17:00

Potential reading list (suggestions are also welcome)

Arkoudas, Konstantine. 2023. “ChatGPT Is No Stochastic Parrot. But It Also Claims That 1 Is Greater than 1.” Philosophy & Technology 36 (3): 54. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13347-023-00619-6

Atleson, Michael. 2023. ‘Can’t Lose What You Never Had: Claims about Digital Ownership and Creation in the Age of Generative AI’. Federal Trade Commission Business Blog. https://www.ftc.gov/business-guidance/blog/2023/08/cant-lose-what-you-never-had-claims-about-digital-ownership-creation-age-generative-ai

Bender, Emily M., Timnit Gebru, Angelina McMillan-Major, and Shmargaret Shmitchell. 2021. “On the Dangers of Stochastic Parrots: Can Language Models Be Too Big? 🦜.” In Proceedings of the 2021 ACM Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency, 610–23. https://doi.org/10.1145/3442188.3445922

Bender, Emily M., and Alexander Koller. 2020. “Climbing towards NLU: On Meaning, Form, and Understanding in the Age of Data.” In Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics, 5185–98. https://doi.org/10.18653/v1/2020.acl-main.463

Bogost, Ian. 2023. “ChatGPT Is Dumber Than You Think.” The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2022/12/chatgpt-openai-artificial-intelligence-writing-ethics/672386/

Borji, Ali. 2023. “A Categorical Archive of ChatGPT Failures.” https://doi.org/10.48550/ARXIV.2302.03494

Bridle, James. 2023. “The Stupidity of AI.” The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2023/mar/16/the-stupidity-of-ai-artificial-intelligence-dall-e-chatgpt

Chiang, Ted. 2023. “ChatGPT Is a Blurry Jpeg of the Web.” The New Yorker. https://www.newyorker.com/tech/annals-of-technology/chatgpt-is-a-blurry-jpeg-of-the-web

Chomsky, Noam, Ian Roberts, and Jeffrey Watumull. 2023. “Noam Chomsky: The False Promise of ChatGPT.” The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/08/opinion/noam-chomsky-chatgpt-ai.html

Coeckelbergh, Mark, and David J. Gunkel. 2023. “ChatGPT: Deconstructing the Debate and Moving It Forward.” AI & SOCIETY. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00146-023-01710-4

Groys, Boris. 2023. “From Writing to Prompting: AI as Zeitgeist-Machine.” E-Flux Journal. https://www.e-flux.com/notes/553214/from-writing-to-prompting-ai-as-zeitgeist-machine

Hayles, Katherine. 2023. “Afterword: Learning to Read AI Texts.” Critical Inquiry. https://critinq.wordpress.com/2023/06/30/afterword-learning-to-read-ai-texts/

Hui, Yuk. 2023. “ChatGPT, or the Eschatology of Machines.” E-Flux Journal, 137. https://www.e-flux.com/journal/137/544816/chatgpt-or-the-eschatology-of-machines/

Stokel-Walker, Chris. 2023. ‘Turns out There’s Another Problem with AI – Its Environmental Toll’. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2023/aug/01/techscape-environment-cost-ai-artificial-intelligence

Weatherby, Leif. 2023. “ChatGPT Is an Ideology Machine.” Jacobin. https://jacobin.com/2023/04/chatgpt-ai-language-models-ideology-media-production

Weil, Elizabeth. 2023. “You Are Not a Parrot.” New York Magazine. https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article/ai-artificial-intelligence-chatbots-emily-m-bender.html

Archive:

Dates for 2022-2023: 

We'll meet 1500-1700 on these dates: 27 September 2022, 1 November 2022, 29 November 2022, 20 December 2022.

Sign up for the mailing list here: http://eepurl.com/hWewBz

In recent years, AI-driven technologies like machine learning, computer vision, GANs, and natural language processing are increasingly being used in the production milieus of film, television, visual art, music, gaming, design, and other creative fields. This reading group aims to explore texts and discourses around the emergence of AI in the realm of cultural production, paying particular attention to its social, aesthetic, economic, and political consequences. 

Topics of interest range from examining concrete applications of the technology (concerns of bias and diversity in the deployment of this technology, the economics behind it, changes in traditional workflows in the creative industry, its effect on cultural consumption and the production of taste, etc.) to more abstract and conceptual questions (how is the notion of creativity being transformed? Is the function of culture mutating? Will this technology result in a standardisation of cultural production and, if so, in what way would this differ from previous versions of the culture industry?).  

The reading programme will be defined collectively at the beginning of each semester. All staff and graduate students (from within or outside of UvA) interested in the topic are welcome to join.

Venue: BG1, t.b.a.

and simultaneously on Zoom ID: 815 1097 3685 Passcode: 045586