30 Nov 2021, 11.30
Location: King's College, Cambridge , Keynes HallKing's Parade, Cambridge, England, CB2 1ST
This workshop-style seminar follows the Ghost Fictions project, developed by Cambridge Digital Humanities to introduce audiences to the generation of texts using neural networks. We explore how ideas about the distinction between ‘fact’, ‘fiction’ and ‘non-fiction’ shape the reception of this emerging technology, seeking to stimulate critical engagement with machine learning by humanities researchers and public debate about the role of AI in culture and society.
In collaboration with designer Jana Kleineberg, we produced a booklet exploring the themes of the project (https://www.cdh.cam.ac.uk/ghostfictions). Written by Caroline Bassett, Anne Alexander, Alan Blackwell and Jo Walton, the booklet aims to provoke debate and reflection through speculative fiction, and includes an imagined study guide and exam paper set in a future world where ‘Automatic Literature’ forms part of the curriculum for undergraduate study.
The session will include practical exercises for participants to try out simple experiments in text generation, and an introduction to methods for close reading Automatic Literature. Please bring along a laptop if you’d like to try and follow along during the practical experiments. We’ll be using Google Colab, which works in your web browser; all you need is a Google account, a marker pen and some paper, and no prior knowledge of programming is required.