The Grapple Series Session 1: AI…What?!

February 05, 2020
By Educator Innovator

By Beatrice Dias

The Grapple Series: Exploring the Intersections of Artificial Intelligence & Humanity is organized by educators from The Western Pennsylvania Writing Project & The CMU CREATE Lab to support the exploration of the impact and implications of artificial intelligence and new technologies for education and for the communities we serve. The series is running January through April 2020; learn more and register here.

During our first session, we began by first grappling with how we each identify ourselves in relation to technology. We asked: “Where would you place yourself on the spectrum of Techno Optimist to Techno Pessimist”?

Our responses covered a wide range, though no one found themselves at the extreme end of techno-pessimism. After a lively discussion about our responses, the team from the Western PA Writing Project and the CREATE Lab introduced themselves and the Grapple Series. They spoke of their long term partnership and motivation for embarking on this line of inquiry into AI and Humanity.

Next, we tried to distinguish between poetry authored by a human and poems produced by a robotic program. What aspects of a poem make it more likely to be written by a human? Would a robot use swear words in its poem? These are some of the questions that surfaced during our conversation.

We then moved to reflect on the Bot or Not poetry challenge as well as the two pre-readings (‘The Machines Are Learning, and So Are the Students’ and ‘Ed-Tech Agitprop’), to uncover new questions to grapple with. The following excerpt prompted our exploration through a private write, and small group discussions.

At the end of the hour, we came back together as a full group to share final thoughts and get excited about our next grappling session on ‘algorithms and justice’ (February 20, 7pm ET/4pm PT).

Register now to be part of the live events; archived webinars will also be shared. Follow #NWPgrapples to share via socials.