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Literary Theory for Robots

Dennis Yi Tenen, Columbia University

Tue, 3/5 · 5:00 pm6:30 pm · Room N107, School of Architecture

Program in Media and Modernity

::Event co-sponsored by the Center for Digital Humanities::

Literary Theory for Robots (W.W. Norton, 2024) reveals the hidden history of modern machine intelligence, taking readers on a spellbinding journey from medieval Arabic philosophy to visions of a universal language, past Hollywood fiction factories and missile defense systems trained on Russian folktales. In this talk, we will discuss the past and future of literary technologies: the necessity of research into the material conditions of textual production, and the surprising afterlife of Structuralist thought. A case study from the book will conclude the conversation.

Dennis Yi Tenen is an associate professor of English at Columbia University, where he also co-directs the Center for Comparative Media. His research happens at the intersection of people, text, and technology. A long-time affiliate of Columbia’s Data Science Institute, formerly a Microsoft engineer in the Windows group and fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, his code runs on millions of personal computers worldwide.

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