DMRC and GenAI Lab: Seminar – “Is This Thing On?” Large Language Models (LLMs) and the Cultural Risks of Bad Jokes

Join us at the upcoming seminar, jointly hosted by the Digital Media Research Centre and the GenAI Lab and led by guests speakers, Adam Sinnreich, Victoria Simon and Nathaniel Laywine.

Title: “Is This Thing On?” Large Language Models (LLMs) and the Cultural Risks of Bad Jokes

Date: Tuesday 25 June

Time: 9:00am – 10:15am

Location: Kelvin Grove Campus, E-557 (in person only)

This interactive seminar and workshop will draw on explicitly Jewish epistemologies that contrast the affordances of large language models (LLMs), and their associated chatbots with the context-based logics of Jewish joke craft and storytelling.

Seminar participants will engage in the experimental methodology of kibbitzing; a Yiddish term that has taken on a cultural meaning of casual conversation, somewhere between teasing, gossiping, debating, and joking around. We understand kibbitzing as a form of collective inquiry and self-reflexive praxis. We kibbitz about ChatGPT precisely because we can’t chat about it. While chatting is formal, transmissive, and institutional in its structural logics, kibbitzing is casual, playful, and collective. One may chat to someone or something, but one can only kibbitz with someone because the practice is inherently intersubjective.

In the practice of kibbitzing, we will share contextual understanding and build consensual, situated knowledge (Haraway, 1988). By examining our assumptions and positionalities, we actively engage in a process of shared techno-critical self-awareness (Brock, 2020), while exploring the role that AI plays in our personal and public lives. We will also crack jokes! (Whether or not they are funny remains to be determined.)

See full event flyer here. Please register to attend below.