Time and Place:
2nd & 4th Tuesday each month
6:30–8:30 p.m. @ Iffy Books
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for an invite!
You may have played around with chatGPT, or perhaps even used DALL-e to generate images from text. Though Large Language Models have been around since 2018, they’re currently dominating the news thanks to the public release of these newer, even larger models. While impressive, like many technologies, they come at a cost and introduce new risks. However, there are specific issues related to the sheer scale of these models and they highlight the dangers of machines which allow for the consolidation of labor.
These issues are especially concerning given the lack of regulation in the tech industry generally, and the tendency of productivity-increasing technology to further concentrate power in the hands of the few. This reading group will explore these risks and engage with how they work in the hopes of better organizing to protect the rights of workers and individuals. The goal is to have a better understanding of the costs (data, carbon, human labor) and risks (misinformation, unpredictability, bias) of making these machines, as well as limitations in what they can learn about the world primarily through text. We will begin with “Resisting AI: An Anti-fascist Approach to Artificial Intelligence” by Dan McQuillan, with additional optional readings. If you’d like to learn more about me, you can visit victorgom.es for a bio.
The only expectation is that you read the chapter(s) of the book that’s listed for that meeting. I tried keeping it around 30 pages on average. Even if you don’t read the assigned chapters, you’re still welcome to participate as long as you are mindful.
For each chapter, I’ve also noted some optional readings for context, so I’d suggest checking those out rather than reading ahead in the book! Optional readings are by no means required, but they may add to and deepen our conversation. They’re a mix of news articles, essays, and journal articles, so you can pick from type of text is most engaging to you. They pull from a range of disciplines and schools of thought, which I hope serves to highlight and survey how many different people conceptualize issues with AI, though it is by no means exhaustive. If you ever find yourself struggling, reach out! Either directly or over discord to the group.
I’d suggest you read this before anything else for some historical context: What the Luddites Really Fought Against by Richard Conniff. The Luddites will also comes up in Chapter 6.
Meeting 5 (August 22nd): Resisting AI