Course Schedule


Metabolizing the Generative Turn (Seminar)

Dozent/in: Robert Samuel Hughes Rapoport

14-täglich | Freitag | 14:15 - 17:45 | 23.10.2023 - 02.02.2024 | C 40.162 Seminarraum

Inhalt: Generative AI asks numerous epistemic questions of cultural production. Humans seem to have difficulty understanding exponential curves and yet this is precisely what the humanities must now contend with. The emergent capabilities of large language models like GPT-4 (i.e., ones not specifically authored by their creators) mean that we face an inflection point. As this field is so dynamic we will be taking a case study approach– looking at the micro in an attempt to grasp the macro. We will ask what it means to train a generative model on Rembrandt's entire oeuvre. What can be gained from completing Schubert's "unfinished" symphony using generative models? What will it mean for models to understand human perception on a level that we ourselves do not? Is the generative turn a step change in what Galison called the "black boxing of the self" (1994)? How have scholarly methods sought to assimilate or resist synthetic media? The syllabus will draw on precedents in artificial intelligence in an attempt to ground the current hype cycle. We will however attempt to discuss new issues as they inevitably emerge during the semester. We will spread our inquiry across culture and governance as well as the public and private sectors. What new methods are required of scholars to form a coherent response to the 'generative turn'? This goes beyond what has to date been known as the ‘digital humanities’.