PWR 2MAA: The Rhetoric of Generative AI
The launch of ChatGPT in late 2022 marked an important milestone. Just two months after its debut, ChatGPT had over 100 million active users, making it the most successful consumer application in history. Everyday people now have the opportunity to experiment with it and use it for various purposes, taking AI mainstream. Some argue ChatGPT and other LLMs are the most revolutionary technology since personal computers with the potential to fundamentally change how we live, work, and study. Others go even further and state that its social, political and economic impacts could be as transformative as the industrial revolution. These predictions are based on the earlier versions of large language models. However impressive the current technology is, it will be the most primitive version compared to the ones we might see in coming years.
AI is a double-edged sword – a very powerful one with potentially irreversible impacts on society and humanity. This concern led over 1000 prominent tech leaders, researchers, and entrepreneurs to issue an open letter to call for a moratorium on all efforts to train AI systems more powerful than ChatGPT-4 until we can ensure this technology is safe, aligned, interpretable, and transparent.The pioneer of the field, Professor Geoffrey Hinton – called the “Godfather of AI” – recently quit his job at Google, stating that companies are racing towards danger and expressing regret for his life’s work.
We are at a crossroads in history. It is a privilege to live through this period and witness the development of one of the most powerful technologies humans have ever created, yet we humans have many important decisions to make about how we apply this technology.
Examples of research topics
In this writing and oral communication course, we will explore the theme of generative AI. The following questions will guide our research projects and the oral presentations: How can we get AI right so that the technology will be human centered from the beginning and that it won’t cause the kind of pain, suffering and inequalities that previous industrial revolutions caused? How can this technology improve overall human conditions and allow us to live happier and healthier lives? In your final research project, you might explore the impacts of AI on the labor market and how it will reshape the future of work. Or you can investigate what kinds of laws and regulations should be put in place to govern AI technologies to ensure its safety.
PWR 2 Assignment Sequence
(5-minute live oral presentation; written text of 900-1200 words) In your proposal, you will introduce your research project and discuss its significance. You will also discuss the disciplinary lenses and relevant sources you are planning to use in your research.
Written Research-Based Argument
(3000-3600 words; 10-12 pages) You will write a well-researched academic essay that draws on a diverse array of sources.
Delivery of Research
(10-minute live oral presentation with appropriate multimedia support) You will translate your research-based argument into a live 10-minute oral presentation.
(2-4 mins. spoken; 1-2 pages written) You will present the main findings of your research in a non-academic genre of your choice. It could be a news article, op-ed, 2-3 minute podcast, infographic, short story, etc. You can choose any genre as long as it helps you share your research results with a new audience.