The AI Paradigm: Between Personhood and Power

May 23–May 24, 2024
University of California Humanities Research Institute, UC Irvine

Co-hosted by the UCI School of Humanities, the UC Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI), and UCI’s Digital Humanities Exchange (DHX) and Critical Data Studies Initiative (CDS)
In the commercial sector, artificial intelligence has acquired significant traction as a marketing device, an investment strategy, and a suite of tools for business process outsourcing. For scholars in the humanities and social sciences, artificial intelligence is, as Kate Crawford (2020) observes, “a two-word phrase onto which is mapped a complex set of expectations, ideologies, desires, and fears.” This symposium invites explorations of AI as a cultural, discursive, and epistemic “paradigm” which collects a loosely knit network of concepts and propositions, images and fantasies, methods and arguments, artifacts and techniques. Through ongoing advances in computational power and troublesome techniques of data harvesting and exploitation, the AI paradigm marks historically and culturally specific transformations in personhood, social relations, labor processes, environmental sensibilities, and resource extraction. In this crucial moment, when various industries are hyping the disruptive implications of AI, we must understand it as a social technology disseminating both new and old forms of power and domination.

Thursday, May 23
Conference Kick-Off
Humanities Gateway 1030

4:00 pm | Welcome
Julia Lupton, Interim Director, UC Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI)

4:10 pm | UCI’s NarrA.I.tive Project
Tyrus Miller, Dean of Humanities, UCI, and Errol Arkilic, Chief Innovation Officer, UCI

4:40 pm | Keynote
Catherine D’Ignazio, MIT, “Another AI Is Possible”
Introduced by Braxton Soderman, Film and Media Studies and DHX (Digital Humanities Exchange), UCI

6:00 pm | Reception
Hosted by the Office of the Dean

Friday, May 24
Panels and Conversations
Humanities Gateway 1030

9:30 am | Light breakfast

9:45 am | Critical AI
Moderated by Ricky Crano, Film and Media Studies, DHX, UCI

“The Lifecycle of Writing Subjects: An Interdisciplinary Look at ‘Generative AI’”
Lauren Goodlad (English, Rutgers University)

“AI and the University as a Service”
Rita Raley (English, UCSB)

11:30 | Lunch

12:30-2:00 | AI’s Humanistic Infrastructures
Moderated by Jenny Terry (Gender and Sexuality Studies, UCI)

“AI Mania”
Lisa Parks (Film and Media Studies, UCSB)

“Love Is Real:  What Chuck Tingle Can Teach Us About Generative AI”
Colin Milburn (English, UCD)

“Reading the Language of Large Language Models”
Todd Presner (European Languages and Transcultural Studies, UCLA) and Ulysses Pascal (Information Studies, UCLA)

2:00 | Coffee break

2:30-4:00 | AI and the University
Moderated by Meryem Kamil, Film and Media Studies, UCI

“Humanizing AI while Defunding the Humanities”
Noopur Raval (Information Studies, UCLA)

“Let no one else’s work evade your eyes: AI and Plagiarism”
Peter Krapp (Film and Media Studies, UCI)

“Who Sets the Temperature? AI Ed-Tech and Student Rights”
Amalia Herrmann (Humanities Core, UCI)

“Generative AI and the Cultural Blind Spots: Assessing Data Bias”
Qian Du (Global Languages and Communication, UCI)

This event is co-sponsored by the UC Humanities Research Institute, the UCI School of Humanities, and UCI’s Digital Humanities Exchange (DHX) and Critical Data Studies Initiative (CDS), with additional funding from the UCI Humanities Center, the UCI EVOKE Lab, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Image: Andrew Benson, video still, 2010.