Generative AI tools, such as ChatGPT, complicate the inquiry-driven culture we live in. What is missing from the current debate are insights from performance studies. Since ChatGPT remixes statistically most likely combinations of words, its outputs are in fact a form of theatrical performance. It draws on users’ prompts and the publics’ collective memories to produce improvised performances, within specific parameters, for its user-audiences.
As a mirror held up to the humanity, ChatGPT produces a pixelated shadow of the publics in time. ChatGPT is therefore a survey instrument of the publics’ collective biases. It is an aesthetic instrument rather than an epistemological tool. As a synthesis of human-generated datasets, generative AI is changing publics’ relationship to themselves.
Based on this understanding, this interactive presentation will theorize AI in the framework of digital humanities and provide pedagogical strategies for educators to tea ch with AI rather than against it.
Alexa Alice Joubin is the inaugural recipient of the bell hooks Legacy Award and holder of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award. She is Professor of English, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Theatre, International Affairs, and East Asian Languages and Literatures at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where she serves as founding Co-director of the Digital Humanities Institute.