Welcome to this Research Guide that accompanies and supports the Being Human series of events across Sarah Lawrence College for the 2023-2024 academic year. In this guide, you will find information to support an understanding of AI as well as information on upcoming events in this series.
Long before the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as we know it, the human imagination has been captivated by the idea of machines that could reason, communicate, and operate independently in the world. Literature, film, and television abound with both utopian and dystopian foretellings of a future in which humans coexist with their autonomous creations. Today, we find ourselves surrounded by voice recognition, self-driving cars, and chatbots that carry on conversations like uncanny disembodied oracles, and the centuries-old question has become more salient than ever: What does it mean to be human?
During the 2023–24 academic year, Sarah Lawrence will grapple with that question in the Being Human series as we engage the potential and pitfalls of generative AI from a variety of perspectives. A full schedule of lectures, panels, and conversations will explore how societies make sense of emergent AI technologies; how current practices shape what we are becoming; what role ethics, politics, and culture should play; and who (or what) should lead us into the future.