What a piece of theatre work is AI ! Since AI outputs can be seen as a theatrical performance, in her 10-minute paper at the MLA, Alexa Alice Joubin argued that we can teach critical questioning skills using generative AI. She demonstrated responsible and creative ways to teach students meta-cognition, using Shakespeare and early modern studies as examples.
At its core, theatre is an interlinked system of interfaces that regulate inputs and outputs. Actors work with promptbooks for their cues. Even when scripted, performances of the same production differ in dynamics each night.
Similarly, AI tools draw on users’ prompts and the publics’ collective memories to create improvised performances. The same prompt generates cognate but different outputs. Each instance of rendition is unique. The AI outputs are replete with repetitions with a difference, which makes them useful pedagogically.
Users’ prompts reflect particular kind of historical imagination and relationships with history. Joubin identifies two challenges in this new landscape, and proposes solutions for each challenge.