Examining the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the humanities world will be the focus of Lake Forest College’s new initiative.
Last month, LFC announced it had received a $1.2 million grant from the Mellon Foundation for HUMAN (Human Understanding of the Machine-Assisted Nexus), which will be a multi-year program focused on artificial intelligence and humanities studies.
“We’re thinking of this as a series of projects and courses that will help students engage with AI through a humanities lens, with a special emphasis on ethics,” said Davis Schneiderman, managing director of LFC’s Krebs Center for the Humanities.
With the grant funding, Schneiderman said 11 courses on artificial intelligence will be offered in the 2024-25 academic year, while others will be planned for the future. New courses will include Digital Dawn: Humanities, Cyberspace, and the Rise of Artificial Intelligence.
In addition to lectures, research projects, seminars and publications will also be carried out with students.
“This is all an attempt to ensure that students who will use this technology in their careers are ready for the workforce or their careers after graduation,” Schneiderman said.
Schneiderman, who has taught at LFC for more than 20 years, said the AI impact has already begun.
“It is a transformative force in modern society, affecting everything from job markets to social interactions,” he said. “We need a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach, taking into account technical, ethical, social and economic dimensions.
“We don’t want to leave the care and nurturing of this technology to just people who code for a living, because they’re not the only ones affected by this,” Schneiderman added.
One of the program’s partners will be Ragdale, Lake Forest’s iconic retreat for artists.
“We will house and host multidisciplinary artists who will dedicate time and space to artists related to the theme of the artificial intelligence project,” said Ragdale artistic director Regin Igloria.
The project is planned to last until 2027.