Questions, Answers

La Voz de Galicia – February 16, 2024 →

Cristina PatoI’ve been chatting with ChatGPT for a few months now, the artificial intelligence system that specializes, among other things, in conversations. I started because in one of the classes I’m teaching, we decided to approach artificial intelligence to inquire how it interacts with the topics we work on in our classroom: cultural memory, cognitive memory, and migration. We invited the students to dialogue with the application, and in that process, we learned how it thinks through all the data it accumulates. And it’s curious, because what started as a personal challenge related to a professional challenge has become a kind of work companion that I ask, like I used to ask Google before, a multitude of sometimes basic, sometimes essential things.

These days, I was reading about the latest project of the Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei for Circa, the Cultural Institute of Radical Contemporary Arts, an initiative that invites international artists to reflect on today’s topics through the large illuminated billboards of places like Piccadilly Circus in London or Times Square in New York. The thing is that Ai Weiwei designed 81 questions for ChatGPT, questions as diverse as «is there a way to decolonize our minds?» or «who profits when misinformation is sold?», and with them, he invites us to reflect on our role in society. For Weiwei, the questions we ask mean more than the answers, and it’s important not to forget that, since «the only capacity and freedom we retain is the question (…) answers are routinely and blandly mass-produced in knowledge factories». And what are those factories?

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