Humanist Discussion Group

Humanist Archives: Feb. 9, 2023, 7:39 a.m. Humanist 36.388 - ChatGPT: discussion and resistance

              Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 36, No. 388.
        Department of Digital Humanities, University of Cologne
                      Hosted by DH-Cologne
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    [1]    From: Katherine D. Harris <>
           Subject: ChatGPT: Help or Hype? Live Stream Discussion 2/20 @ 5pm PST (85)

    [2]    From: Willard McCarty <>
           Subject: resistance (58)

        Date: 2023-02-08 19:25:06+00:00
        From: Katherine D. Harris <>
        Subject: ChatGPT: Help or Hype? Live Stream Discussion 2/20 @ 5pm PST

ChatGPT: Help or Hype? Live Stream Discussion
Date: Feb. 20, 2023, 5-6pm PST
Where: Live Stream only -

Please join us for a lively (virtual) discussion between two San Jose State
University faculty experts on the furor over ChatGPT in higher education.
The discussion will be livestreamed across SJSU's multiple platforms
(Vimeo, YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn -- visit and on the Hammer
Theatre's Vimeo page <>.)


“Tech is not supposed to be human. It is only ever supposed to be
humanoid.” - Tressie McMillan Cottom, “Human this Christmas
<>” (NYT,
Dec. 20, 2022)

ChatGPT  <>is a language processing
program run by OpenAI, a research and deployment company that uses AI
(artificial intelligence) to generate written responses to prompts. While
the usefulness, accuracy, and value of the original free version have been
hotly debated in recent months, OpenAI is now marketing a “Plus” version
with the promise of being able to “chat with you, answer follow-up
questions, and challenge incorrect assumptions.” Should we trust ChatGPT?
Will critical thinking and writing skills be strengthened or atrophy with
its promotion or use? Join as we discuss this new “Generative AI” tool,
what it can and can’t do, and emerging controversies around our use of the
tool and its use of us as data.

QuickBites is an initiative sponsored by H&A in Action
at San José State University (a California State University campus) to bring
you informal conversations about the most urgent news of the moment. For
our conversation about ChatGPT, we are also sponsored by SJSU’s Writing
Across the Curriculum <>, Office of the Provost
<>, Center for Faculty Development
<>, and eCampus <>.

Broadcast on SJSU’s main web page, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook as well
as the Hammer Theatre Center <>’s Vimeo page.
Join us for real time chat and submit your questions in advance using
our Google Form <> or during the 
broadcast from the live chat wherever you’re watching.

At 5pm on February 20, tune into <>

Speaker Bios:

Sara West is an Assistant Professor in Professional and Technical Writing
at SJSU. Her research and teaching interests include content writing,
writing for nonprofits, and professional editing.

Roxana Marachi is a Professor of Education at SJSU where she teaches
courses in the Department of Teacher Education and the Doctoral Program in
Educational Leadership. Dr. Marachi’s current research interests include
critical analyses of policies and practices that intersect the
implementation of surveillance technologies, the datafication of teaching
and learning, and the privatization of education, research, and social

For more information about ChatGPT in higher education, see the Resources
curated by our experts.

Note: This QuickBites will be recorded and available on H&A in Action:

All best,
Kathy Harris

Dr. Katherine D. Harris (she/her)
Director, Public Programming <>,
College of Humanities & the Arts
Professor, Department of English & Comparative Literature
San Jose State University
Research Blog:
Co-Director, Public Art as Resistance in San Jose
Co-Editor, Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities
Author, Forget Me Not: The Rise of the British Literary Annual, 1823-1835

        Date: 2023-02-09 07:28:41+00:00
        From: Willard McCarty <>
        Subject: resistance

Looking for something else--an often effective way of finding what you
need but didn't know you did--I ran across Evelyn Fox Keller's response
to, as she put it,*

> a culmination of over three hundred years of representational logic
> that has anchored the entire tradition of modernity. It is the
> endpoint of a semiotic system in which [she quotes Brian Rotman from
> his Signifying Nothing: The Semiotics of Zero]... 
>> the signs of the system become creative and autonomous. The things
>> that are ultimately "real," that is numbers, visual scenes, and
>> goods, [and now we add machines,] are precisely what the system
>> allows to be represented as such. The system becomes both the source
>> of reality, it articulates what is real, and provides the means of
>> describing this reality as if it were some domain external and prior
>> to itself.

Then she goes on,

> to articulate some resistance against this sensibility on behalf of
> the flesh-and-blood humans who must live out its consequences and
> even on behalf of those who have nurtured it and labored to embody
> it-that is, to remind ourselves of something like the facts of the
> matter.
> To insist that humanly meaningful texts--scientific or other--can no
> more be authored by silicon chips than they could have been authored
> by God is to resist erasure of the dependence of meaning on cultural
> and material history. It is to resist in the name of another
> sensibility- that is, on behalf of the variously situated, embodied,
> human subjects who have been destined to act or react in the terms
> made available to them by the culture; on behalf of those who, with
> their actions (be they manual, cognitive, or linguistic), have been
> most effective in creating these terms and acting out the meanings
> they inscribe; and on behalf of those, less well placed, whose
> options have been and remain more limited.

It is, in my terms, to resist erasure of or make ourselves blind to the
great question of difference that von Neumann came to articulate in The
Computer and the Brain, "that whatever the system is [by which the brain
does what it does], it cannot fail to differ considerably from what we
consciously and explicitly consider as mathematics." (1958, 82)


*Fox Keller's text is from "The Dilemma of Scientific Subjectivity in
Postvital Culture", in The Disunity of Science: Boundaries, Contexts and
Power, ed. Peter Galison and David J. Stump (Stanford University Press,
1996), pp. 417-427, 519-521.


Willard McCarty,
Professor emeritus, King's College London;
Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews;  Humanist

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