Humanities in the Time of ChatGPT and other forms of Artificial Intelligence

Fall 2023 Issue of Critical Humanities Critical Humanities In a recent blogpost, Bill Gates announces the beginning of the age of AI. Gates’ enthusiastic pitch for AI is not limited to it being a groundbreaking technological advancement. He sees it as a powerful tool for achieving social and environmental justice. Gates notes “achievement in math is going down across the country, especially for Black, Latino, and low-income students” and he claims that “AI can help turn that trend around.”

As a challenge to this revolutionary and transformative portrayal of AI, George Hinton, a pioneering figure in the field of AI, points out the opposite side of Artificial Intelligence. “It is hard to see how you can prevent the bad actors from using it for bad things.” Though these positions seem to represent two opposite ends of the spectrum, their opposition is not simply a case of luddites vs. technocrats. Instead, their perspectives invite us to respond to them, question them, and think seriously about the promises and predicaments, the uncertainties and usefulness, the thrills and threats of not only the language and discourse generating AI tools such as ChatGPT and Bard but also the AI that generates images and art forms: such as DALL-E and Crayon.

While a significant purist minority within the Humanities have been crying foul over the introduction and deployment of non-humanities critical perspectives especially in the analysis and discussion of art, literature, music and philosophy, the interfacing of humanities and technologies by necessity or design is/will be an inevitable outcome of our interdisciplinary futures.

Conversations about the threat or promises of AI have intensified after the arrival of DALL-E in January 2021, ChatGPT in November of 2022 and the introduction of Bard in March of this year. Some in the humanities are thrilled by the arrivals of these tools that they believe could help us be better learners, teachers and researchers. Others are not so fascinated by them and view them as a “supreme danger” to echo Martin Heidegger’s assessment of technology, to our profession and our academic futures.

Critical Humanities is inviting research papers, essays, and book reviews for a special topic issue devoted to the question of humanities and AI to be published in fall 2023. Contributions could address topics such as these and/or related topics:

Humanities and AI

Can machines think and write critically?

Can machines create and design beautiful works of art and architecture?

Pedagogical value of ChatGPT

Technology as supreme danger

Capitalism and technology

Artificial Intelligence and Social Justice

Biopolitics and technology

Killer Robots and future wars

AI in films and TV shows

Labor and technology

AI and the digital divide

The environmental cost or promise of AI

Bard/ChatGPT and the University

AI and archive fever

DALL-E, Crayon and the new aesthetics

Contributors are invited to send their short abstracts (200 words) and bios to Barbara Postema (b.postema@rug.nl) & Puspa Damai (damai@marshall.edu).

Publication Schedule for the Issue:

Abstract Submission: June 15, 2023

Notification of abstract acceptation: July 1, 2023

Final manuscript due through journal’s Submission System: September 15, 2023

Publication Date: December 15, 2023

Contact Info:

Barbara Postema, Lecturer in English for Academic Purposes at Groningen University in the Netherlands

Puspa Damai, Associate Professor of English, Marshall University, USA

Contact Email: