Post-Automation Poetics, a Lecture by Avery Slater

The purpose of this talk is to think about the future of artificial intelligence with respect to literary form. One long-standing threshold of achievement pursued by computer scientists in the field of NLP (natural language processing) is the automatic generation of poetic texts comparable to human-generated poetry. Are we ready for the AI poet? This talk will discuss emergent A.I. projects such as neural-networked deep-learning by historicizing the computational theories of language structuring these and other forms of NLP. Machine translation is one of the most significant applications that has been able to bridge these old and new technological endeavors. This talk will discuss machine translation’s computational philosophy of language, comparing its outcomes with recent artistic projects to computationally generate poetry. New technologies of language processing raise a host of old yet unresolved questions: does an irreducible poiesis underlie every act of translation? How does poetry’s peculiar, intractable, “singular” status as textual object give us insight into both the iterative and the collective operations of language and cognition in today’s computationally mediated world?

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