Bringing Consciousness to AI Use: Part I

Bringing Consciousness to AI Use

If you want to move beyond the moral panic and fear that students are “cheating” by using AI, here are two assignments that look critically at AI’s construction, use, and implications. These assignments give us an opportunity to interrogate how a natural language processor works and some important voices in the AI conversation that often go overlooked.

Assignment 1: What even is ChatGPT

Cool, so. ChatGPT, the enemy of English professors and probably all professors everywhere, right? 

I actually think the premise of ChatGPT is great and if it’s a useful tool for you to get started in the writing process, then I fully support it.

But, if you haven’t already realized, ChatGPT also has the potential to create a sophisticated word salad without much meaning underneath what it produces. I guess all of this is to say that if you are going to use it, make sure you can back up your claims with real research.

I found this video (Can Computers Really Talk? Or Are They Faking It? | Season 1 | Episode 3 | PBS) from 2021 that explains how ChatGPT works (in case you don’t already know) which is a great starting point for understanding the benefits and limitations of this technology.

TLDR: ChatGPT puts sentences together based on statistical analysis, not word comprehension.

For this week, please

1) Watch the video

2) Ask ChatGPT questions to intentionally trick it

3) Record your questions and ChatGPT’s answers 

4) Give a brief explanation of how the ChatGPT generated text goes in a different direction than what you were prompting it to say

Happy generating!

Assignment 2: Learn Their Names: Dr. Joy Buolamwini, Sasha Costanza Chock, Timnit Gebru, Dr. Ruha Benjamin, Erin Reddick

Behind the scenes of the AI explosion, there are researchers who are tirelessly sounding alarms of racial biases in AI and offering opportunities to create an inclusive and expansive experience for everyone. Since CUNY students represent the global majority, it is crucial that we hear from experts who understand and uplift that positionality. Over the next four weeks we’ll be moving away from whiteness and diving into the work of researchers who represent communities that are not historically centered and are crucial voices nonetheless.

Week 1: Pick one of these researchers and learn about their work either through a primary article, TEDTalk, video, website. Write a brief summary of who this researcher is in relation to other contemporary voices on AI, what you learned from this researcher’s work, and if what they presented has changed your view of the mainstream conversation around AI. 

Week 2: Pick a different researcher and learn about their work through the same method as last week. Write the same brief for this researcher.

Week 3: Pick one last researcher and learn about their work through the same methods as Week 1 and Week 2. Write the same brief for this researcher.

Week 4: Now with three different voices, write a piece that discusses the intersections of their work and what a better future of AI would look like for you and the people you love.

Dr. Joy Buolamwini: The Coded Gaze: Bias in Artificial Intelligence

Dr. Sasha Costanza Chock: Design Justice

Dr. Timnit Gebru: Data for Change

Dr. Ruha Benjamin: Race After Technology

Erin Reddick: ChatBlackGPT™️

One Reply to “Bringing Consciousness to AI Use: Part I”

  1. Great post! Just wanted to share that the library has Dr. Buolamwini’s documentary, Coded Bias, available to stream to all City Tech faculty and staff.

    The film further explores the inherent implicit bias of AI & facial recognition technology.

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