Human vs Non-Human Languages
In the past six months, the world has been shocked by the rapid progression of AI, specifically as manifested in ChatGPT, which propelled fears ranging from the integrity of education to the prospect of massive loss of jobs, to even the very end of writing. While much remains to be seen about the effect of AI on our daily lives, it is clear that we are on the verge of a paradigm shift in human culture, rooted in the impossibility to distinguish between human- and AI-generated text, images, and art. Discourses about originality in language and the formative power of language have been spun from the beginning of documented history, as evident in The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Tao De Ching, Plato, Aristotle, The Bible, etc. to late-20th century literary theorists, such as Heidegger, Barthes, and Derrida, who insisted on the non-human agency of language (i.e. it is language that speaks through the subject rather than the other way round). With the introduction of AI-authored texts, a new era has dawned upon humanity, in which human and, arguably, alien intellects could merge indistinguishably in any text, erasing the distinction between human- and non-human language.
We solicit abstracts on the following questions: How has the discourse of language changed since the introduction of AI-generated text? What examples of non-human languages have literature and art provided that prefigure AI-generated text? What can we learn from literature and philosophy about paradigm shifts involving language? What is the future of language, writing, and art in the era of AI? How has the act of communication been affected? How is human subjectivity changing in light of these new technologies? Are our fears overblown? By July 24 please submit an abstract of 250 words, a brief bio, and any A/V or scheduling requests to Raina Kostova (email@example.com); Casey Eriksen (firstname.lastname@example.org); and Mirja Lobnik (email@example.com)