What Happens When Robots Write? - A talk by Bill Hart-Davidson

4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Location: Room 304 @ English-Philosophy Building


Did a robot write this blurb? How might we know? And most importantly, can we live, together, with robots who write? In this talk, Bill Hart-Davidson, Associate Professor and Senior Researcher in the Writing in Digital Environments Research Center and Associate Dean for Graduate Education at Michigan State University, will address that last question to those of us who make our living by reading and writing, and teaching others to read, write and speak well, ethically, with grace and creativity, with purpose and with keen attention to who we influence and how. He'll focus on the accelerating drive to automate the writing process—particularly in digital networks—not only to increase efficiency, but to magnify influence. Drawing on examples from his scholarship in the arenas of education, health care, statecraft and warfare, he will suggest some practical and ethical guidelines for the ways humanists might live, together, with robots that write.

Bill Hart-Davidson is Associate Professor and Senior Researcher in the Writing in Digital Environments Research Center and Associate Dean for Graduate Education, College of Arts and Letters, Michigan State University. He is also a member of the advisory board of the Mellon-funded 15-university consortium Humanities Without Walls, which includes the University of Iowa. Hart-Davidson is the co-editor with Jim Ridolfo of Rhetoric and the Digital Humanities (U Chicago Press, 2015); the two are currently completing a book titled RhetOps: The Weaponization of Rhetorical Knowledge. A leading expert on digital composing, he has successfully launched a software service called Eli Revew, used by over 150 universities, that supports peer learning to help students become successful writers and is a research platform in its own right. His creative approach to grant writing for artists, humanities scholars, and social scientists has had a powerful impact on the research culture at MSU.

Free and open to all.

Hosted by the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies and co-sponsored by the Department of English.

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