I would like to start by acknowledging the sincere efforts and energy spent by the contributors for Blog Carnival 21, and I am grateful for the intellectual insights provided by each contributor that made the Blog Carnival such a success.
In the CFP for Blog Carnival 21, we had requested interested contributors to send their work that furthers the conversations on “discussing the roles of digital rhetoricians in the design, development, and deployment of various methods in determining accuracy and authenticity in the face of vast amounts of misinformation and the advancements in AI for various contexts, including professional, educational, social, and political settings.”
The entries represented a variety of ways in which these conversations could be further in intellectual arenas. We hope the readers will be able to benefit from these entries in ways to approach AI in the way that is most productive, appropriate, and ethical. In the following sections, I will be highlighting a few themes that were prominent in the discussion fostered by Blog Carnival 21.
Developing Critical Perspectives on AI
Marit Macarthur illustrates the significance of critical editing skills to mitigate the risks posed by AI, specifically if it is invited to serve instead of human experts. Macarthur presents the example of two Boeing 737 Max airplanes crashed in 2019 as a mishap caused due to many factors among which were overconfidence in AI and lack of audience awareness owing to profit-driven haste in design, production, and documentation. Macarthur argues that developing critical editing skills would slow down the Boeing engineers and writers enough to understand the changing audience, purpose, and context of the airplanes from experienced pilots flying semi-automated planes to relatively less experienced pilots flying almost fully automated planes. In addition, Kirkwood Adams shares the importance of acknowledging machine ignorance involves “observing, naming, and describing elements of generative A.I.’s troublingly normative intelligence.” The author also underline the importance of realizing the incidental power of technology to reveal its own limitations during a race towards perfection and presents the examples of the difference in perfection of AI generated text versus AI generated images of a child’s birthday party.
New Perspectives on Writing Pedagogy and AI-Human Interactions
In addition, Jeanne Law points out the importance of a writing curriculum that is mindful of the role and reality of AI in students’ academic and professional choices and development. The authors also caution against restrictive policies regarding the use of AI in writing classrooms. The authors warn, “Without guidance, students may come to over-rely on these tools, generating instead of writing—without grounding. Our research indicates that students, facing restrictive policies, may view AI as a replacement for many aspects of the writing process, utilizing these models for research and conceptual output.” Denise Stodola agrees that AI can be helpful, if used strategically, in expanding students’ critical thinking and writing abilities. Stodola emphasizes that instead of “letting students run with whatever topics the program might come up with, it would be more pedagogically useful for their instructor to generate the list in class and then initiate a discussion on the degree to which the topic(s) would be effective for that assignment.” Furthermore, Lauren Scheuer employs the black mirror metaphor (or Jungian shadow self) to better understand the human element in the language displayed by AI. Scheuer adds to the conversation by emphasizing the significance of deeply reflective rhetorical analysis, specifically for student users of AI, to “help uncover biases and address potential harms in careless uses of language – either by humans or AI.” Additionally, Chris Scheidle discusses a faculty training for Composition program where User Personas were used to encourage instructors to consider student differences in their pedagogy. While the personas were successfully created, the author emphasizes on the importance of “human creativity, weirdness, and willingness to say something a little different.” Finally, Jared Jameson discusses critical anthromorphism in relation to AI. According to Jameson, “By mixing technical terms with anthropomorphic ones, critical anthropomorphism jointly grounds AI systems as social actors and technological tools.” In this post, Jameson delves into various facets of human AI interaction like logical lies, pseudo logical lies, responsibility, intention, predisposition that affect AI systems.
From these contributions to Blog Carnival 21, we can obtain deeper insights about AI and its increasingly intricate relationship with human beings in multiple virtual and physical spaces like classrooms and society. From prompting brainstorming activities to affecting an individual’s professional reputation, AI has been seeping into human lives, and it is time that open and critical conversations are carried out regarding AI and its influences so that they can be utilized in ways that are advantageous, pragmatic, as well as ethical.
We hope you have enjoyed reading these blogs and you will share them in your classrooms as well as through your social media sites. We also hope to see you contribute to more conversations through future blog carnivals!