AI, Theater, and Interface Theory, Keynote Lecture  

Imaging Across Time: Wenshan International Conference, National Chengchi University, Taiwan, November 18, 2023  :::  YouTube video

00:18 Introduction of Alexa Alice Joubin

03:30 Screen as anthropomorphic interface

04:33 Generative AI is a ghost of the publics

16:58 What is unique about screen as interface?

18:16 Lesson from King Lear

19:13 What ChatGPT really is

19:18 Case Study: All the World’s a Screen

24:02 AI in Sign-Language Theatre

30:58 Case Study: Douglas Boyce’s music composition

31:09 Case Study: Mark Amerika’s use of generative AI in poetry

32:58 Case Study: David Jhave Johnston, avant-garde writer

33:08 Case Study: Annie Dorsen, algorithmic theatre

38:35 Resisting AI: computational opacity and technical authority

40:17 Conclusion: AI creates multiple publics, acts as co-spectators through spectatorial proxy

What happens when AI goes to theatre with human audiences? In theatre, digital screen as interface has evolved from a vehicle for dramatic messages to a meaning-making agent with an anthropomorphic presence. AI apps have become theatre audiences’ companions.

     Generative AI’s natural-language conversational interface has frequently been cast as an anthropomorphic interface. While the tendency to anthropomorphize this technology is problematic, ChatGPT can be seen as a ghost of the publics, a synthetic version of the publics, or a shadow public.

     In her keynote lecture, Alexa Alice Joubin argued that screens are a site where cultural and performative meanings are generated and negotiated. She uses interface theories and performance studies methods to analyze the outputs of AI.

    This keynote was part of the “Imaging Across Time”: Wenshan International Conference that took place in Taipei, Taiwan, on November 18, 2023. The keynote session was chaired by Professor Siaw-Fong Chung (National Chengchi University). The event was funded and co-organized by Taiwan’s National Science and Technology Council, Taiwan Shakespeare Association, National Chengchi University (NCCU), and EARN (Enlightenment and Romanticism Network) at NCCU.

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