This hybrid theory-practice course invites students to consider artificial intelligence’s socio-political consequences through both technical and humanistic perspectives.
This course explores how fiction’s imagined worlds facilitate the reflection, and potential activism, that AI issues necessitate in relation to ethics, governance, and power. Readings pair fiction (novels, short stories, television, interactive media) with computer science and social science scholarship on AI and data, current events, and cultural criticism.
We will juxtapose developing our foundation in theoretical frameworks with hands-on projects: creating datasets, visual storytelling with data, exploring AI training sets, traditional textual analysis, writing op-eds from the future, and interactive presentations. Synthesizing across disciplines, students will gain new critical models with which to think about technical systems’ risks and benefits, while developing the technical language and cultural vocabulary with which to propose alternatives.
The goal of the course is to provide you with opportunities to:
Janet Zong York is a PhD candidate in the English department at Harvard. Her research and teaching interests include race/ethnicity in 20th-21st c. American literature, transnational American literature, and pedagogies and institutions of world literature. Her writing has been published in the Journal of Transnational American Studies.
Jonathan Zong is a researcher and visual artist pursuing a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL). He is interested in how socio-technical systems make bodies legible to other and non bodies. His work has been published in Slate and at the ACM CSCW conference. He is a 2019 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow.