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The Monster Was Me: How My Safe Voyeurism of AI Came To An End

Tid: Fr 2022-11-25 kl 10.00

Språk: English

Medverkande: Professor Jeffrey Bardzell

“I ran across a monster, who was sleeping by a tree
I looked and frowned, because the monster was me”

—David Bowie, “Width of a Circle”


During the pandemic, I gave a talk (virtually) at KTH on AI and monsters, in which I argued that the monster metaphor, and more broadly the horror fiction genre from which it hails, did some important work for HCI. Specifically, I argued that the Monster supports the articulation of alternative AI futures, thereby contributing to design. Now, for most of that talk, I was the analyst, safely over here; and the scary AI monsters, as the analyzed, were safely over there. But monstrosity, as the movies show us, is infectious, and dear reader, it got me. In this talk, I share my own research engagements with AI, including the GPT-3 language processing model, music recommender systems, and image generators. Turning to feminist and psychoanalytic film theory, I try to come to grips with the experience of collaborating with the Other, and then the dawning suspicion—as AI increasingly seemed not so much to be augmenting my thoughts, but rather just giving them to me—that actually I might be the Other. All of which prompts me to ask: What happens when creativity support tools are no longer tools, are no longer supportive, and have possibly nothing to do with creativity?


Jeffrey Bardzell is the college’s associate dean for undergraduate and graduate studies. In this role, he is responsible for leading a team that provides strategic direction and management for the complete academic experience in the college.nPrior to Penn State, Bardzell served as a professor of informatics and program director for human computer interaction design (HCI/d) in the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering at Indiana University-Bloomington. As director of the HCI/d program, Bardzell led an overhaul of the HCI/d master’s degree curriculum, revamped the program’s brand identity, and led the development of an undergraduate curriculum that will go into production this academic year. As an instructor, he has taught more than 700 master’s level students, as well as hundreds of undergraduates.

In his research, Bardzell examines design theory, focusing on critical design, research through design and design criticism; and emerging social computing practices, including critical-empirical students on maker communities in the U.S. and Asia, intimate and sexual interaction, and online creative communities. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers, is the co-author of “Humanistic HCI”, and serves as co-editor of “Critical Theory and Interaction Designs”. He has been awarded nearly $13 million in external grants and has won more than a dozen awards for his research and teaching.

Prior to Penn State, Bardzell had been an instructor at Indiana University since 2004, with two visiting associate professor appointments at Aarhus University in Aarhus, Denmark, in 2015 and at Shih Chien University in Taipei, Taiwan, in 2016. He earned his bachelor’s degree with honors in English from Mary Washington College, and master’s and doctoral degrees in comparative literature, both from Indiana University.