29 episodes

Artificial Intelligence has too much hype. In this podcast, linguist Emily M. Bender and sociologist Alex Hanna break down the AI hype, separate fact from fiction, and science from bloviation. They're joined by special guests and talk about everything, from machine consciousness to science fiction, to political economy to art made by machines.

Mystery AI Hype Theater 3000 Emily M. Bender and Alex Hanna

    • Technology
    • 4.4 • 21 Ratings

Artificial Intelligence has too much hype. In this podcast, linguist Emily M. Bender and sociologist Alex Hanna break down the AI hype, separate fact from fiction, and science from bloviation. They're joined by special guests and talk about everything, from machine consciousness to science fiction, to political economy to art made by machines.

    Episode 29: How LLMs Are Breaking the News (feat. Karen Hao), March 25 2024

    Episode 29: How LLMs Are Breaking the News (feat. Karen Hao), March 25 2024

    Award-winning AI journalist Karen Hao joins Alex and Emily to talk about why LLMs can't possibly replace the work of reporters -- and why the hype is damaging to already-struggling and necessary publications.
    References:
    Adweek: Google Is Paying Publishers to Test an Unreleased Gen AI Platform
    The Quint: AI Invents Quote From Real Person in Article by Bihar News Site: A Wake-Up Call?


    Fresh AI Hell:
    Alliance for the Future
    VentureBeat: Google researchers unveil ‘VLOGGER’, an AI that can bring still photos to life
    Business Insider: A car dealership added an AI chatbot to its site. Then all hell broke loose.
    More pranks on chatbots
    You can check out future livestreams at https://twitch.tv/DAIR_Institute.

    Follow us!

    Emily
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/EmilyMBender Mastodon: https://dair-community.social/@EmilyMBender Bluesky: https://bsky.app/profile/emilymbender.bsky.social Alex
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/@alexhanna Mastodon: https://dair-community.social/@alex Bluesky: https://bsky.app/profile/alexhanna.bsky.social Music by Toby Menon.
    Artwork by Naomi Pleasure-Park.
    Production by Christie Taylor.

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Episode 28: LLMs Are Not Human Subjects, March 4 2024

    Episode 28: LLMs Are Not Human Subjects, March 4 2024

    Alex and Emily put on their social scientist hats and take on the churn of research papers suggesting that LLMs could be used to replace human labor in social science research -- or even human subjects. Why these writings are essentially calls to fabricate data.
    References:
    PNAS: ChatGPT outperforms crowd workers for text-annotation tasks
    Beware the Hype: ChatGPT Didn't Replace Human Data AnnotatorsChatGPT Can Replace the Underpaid Workers Who Train AI, Researchers SayPolitical Analysis: Out of One, Many: Using Language Models to Simulate Human Samples
    Behavioral Research Methods: Can large language models help augment English psycholinguistic datasets?
    Information Systems Journal: Editorial: The ethics of using generative AI for qualitative data analysis
    Fresh AI Hell:
    Advertising vs. reality, synthetic Willy Wonka edition
    https://x.com/AlsikkanTV/status/1762235022851948668?s=20https://twitter.com/CultureCrave/status/1762739767471714379https://twitter.com/xriskology/status/1762891492476006491?t=bNQ1AQlju36tQYxnm8BPVQ&s=19A news outlet used an LLM to generate a story...and it falsely quoted Emily
    AI Invents Quote From Real Person in Article by Bihar News Site: A Wake-Up Call?Trump supporters target Black voters with faked AI images
    Seeking Reliable Election Information? Don’t Trust AI
    You can check out future livestreams at https://twitch.tv/DAIR_Institute.

    Follow us!

    Emily
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/EmilyMBender Mastodon: https://dair-community.social/@EmilyMBender Bluesky: https://bsky.app/profile/emilymbender.bsky.social Alex
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/@alexhanna Mastodon: https://dair-community.social/@alex Bluesky: https://bsky.app/profile/alexhanna.bsky.social Music by Toby Menon.
    Artwork by Naomi Pleasure-Park.
    Production by Christie Taylor.

    • 1 hr
    Episode 27: Asimov's Laws vs. 'AI' Death-Making (w/ Annalee Newitz & Charlie Jane Anders), February 19 2024

    Episode 27: Asimov's Laws vs. 'AI' Death-Making (w/ Annalee Newitz & Charlie Jane Anders), February 19 2024

    Science fiction authors and all-around tech thinkers Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders join this week to talk about Isaac Asimov's oft-cited and equally often misunderstood laws of robotics, as debuted in his short story collection, 'I, Robot.' Meanwhile, both global and US military institutions are declaring interest in 'ethical' frameworks for autonomous weaponry.
    Plus, in AI Hell, a ballsy scientific diagram heard 'round the world -- and a proposal for the end of books as we know it, from someone who clearly hates reading.
    Charlie Jane Anders is a science fiction author. Her recent and forthcoming books include Promises Stronger Than Darkness in the ‘Unstoppable’ trilogy, the graphic novel New Mutants: Lethal Legion, and the forthcoming adult novel Prodigal Mother.

    Annalee Newitz is a science journalist who also writes science fiction. Their most recent novel is The Terraformers, and in June you can look forward to their nonfiction book, Stories Are Weapons: Psychological Warfare and the American Mind.
    They both co-host the podcast, 'Our Opinions Are Correct', which explores how science fiction is relevant to real life and our present society.
    Also, some fun news: Emily and Alex are writing a book! Look forward (in spring 2025) to The AI Con, a narrative takedown of the AI bubble and its megaphone-wielding boosters that exposes how tech’s greedy prophets aim to reap windfall profits from the promise of replacing workers with machines.

    Watch the video of this episode on PeerTube.
    References:

    International declaration on "Responsible Military Use of Artificial Intelligence and Autonomy" provides "a normative framework addressing the use of these capabilities in the military domain."
    DARPA's 'ASIMOV' program to "objectively and quantitatively measure the ethical difficulty of future autonomy use-cases...within the context of military operational values."
    Short version
    Long version (pdf download)
    Fresh AI Hell:
    "I think we will stop publishing books, but instead publish “thunks”, which are nuggets of thought that can interact with the “reader” in a dynamic and multimedia way."
    AI generated illustrations in a scientific paper -- rat balls edition.
    Per Retraction Watch: the paper with illustrations of a rat with enormous "testtomcels" has been retracted
    You can check out future livestreams at https://twitch.tv/DAIR_Institute.

    Follow us!

    Emily
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/EmilyMBender Mastodon: https://dair-community.social/@EmilyMBender Bluesky: https://bsky.app/profile/emilymbender.bsky.social Alex
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/@alexhanna Mastodon: https://dair-community.social/@alex Bluesky: https://bsky.app/profile/alexhanna.bsky.social Music by Toby Menon.
    Artwork by Naomi Pleasure-Park.
    Production by Christie Taylor.

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Episode 26: Universities Anxiously Buy in to the Hype (feat. Chris Gilliard), February 5 2024

    Episode 26: Universities Anxiously Buy in to the Hype (feat. Chris Gilliard), February 5 2024

    Just Tech Fellow Dr. Chris Gilliard aka "Hypervisible" joins Emily and Alex to talk about the wave of universities adopting AI-driven educational technologies, and the lack of protections they offer students in terms of data privacy or even emotional safety.
    References:

    Inside Higher Ed: Arizona State Joins ChatGPT in First Higher Ed Partnership
    ASU press release version: New Collaboration with OpenAI Charts theFuture of AI in Higher Education
    MLive: Your Classmate Could Be an AI Student at this Michigan University
    Chris Gilliard: How Ed Tech Is Exploiting Students

    Fresh AI Hell:

    Various: “AI learns just like a kid”
    Infants' gaze teaches AI the nuances of language acquisition
    Similar from NeuroscienceNews
    Politico: Psychologist apparently happy with fake version of himself
    WSJ: Employers Are Offering a New Worker Benefit: Wellness Chatbots
    NPR: Artificial intelligence can find your location in photos, worrying privacy expert
    Palette cleanser: Goodbye to NYC's useless robocop.



    You can check out future livestreams at https://twitch.tv/DAIR_Institute.

    Follow us!

    Emily
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/EmilyMBender Mastodon: https://dair-community.social/@EmilyMBender Bluesky: https://bsky.app/profile/emilymbender.bsky.social Alex
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/@alexhanna Mastodon: https://dair-community.social/@alex Bluesky: https://bsky.app/profile/alexhanna.bsky.social Music by Toby Menon.
    Artwork by Naomi Pleasure-Park.
    Production by Christie Taylor.

    • 59 min
    Episode 25: An LLM Says LLMs Can Do Your Job, January 22 2024

    Episode 25: An LLM Says LLMs Can Do Your Job, January 22 2024

    Is ChatGPT really going to take your job? Emily and Alex unpack two hype-tastic papers that make implausible claims about the number of workforce tasks LLMs might make cheaper, faster or easier. And why bad methodology may still trick companies into trying to replace human workers with mathy-math.

    Visit us on PeerTube for the video of this conversation.
    References:

    OpenAI: GPTs are GPTs
    Goldman Sachs: The Potentially Large Effects of Artificial Intelligence on Economic Growth
    FYI: Over the last 60 years, automation has totally eliminated just one US occupation.

    Fresh AI Hell:

    Microsoft adding a dedicated "AI" key to PC keyboards.
    Dr. Damien P Williams: "Yikes."The AI-led enshittification at Duolingo
    Shot: https://twitter.com/Rahll/status/1744234385891594380Chaser: https://twitter.com/Maccadaynu/status/1744342930150560056University of Washington Provost highlighting “AI”
    “Using ChatGPT, My AI eBook Creation Pro helps you write an entire e-book with just three clicks -- no writing or technical experience required.”
    "Can you add artificial intelligence to the hydraulics?"

    You can check out future livestreams at https://twitch.tv/DAIR_Institute.

    Follow us!

    Emily
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/EmilyMBender Mastodon: https://dair-community.social/@EmilyMBender Bluesky: https://bsky.app/profile/emilymbender.bsky.social Alex
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/@alexhanna Mastodon: https://dair-community.social/@alex Bluesky: https://bsky.app/profile/alexhanna.bsky.social Music by Toby Menon.
    Artwork by Naomi Pleasure-Park.
    Production by Christie Taylor.

    • 56 min
    Episode 24: AI Won't Solve Structural Inequality (feat. Kerry McInerney & Eleanor Drage), January 8 2024

    Episode 24: AI Won't Solve Structural Inequality (feat. Kerry McInerney & Eleanor Drage), January 8 2024

    New year, same Bullshit Mountain. Alex and Emily are joined by feminist technosolutionism critics Eleanor Drage and Kerry McInerney to tear down the ways AI is proposed as a solution to structural inequality, including racism, ableism, and sexism -- and why this hype can occlude the need for more meaningful changes in institutions.
    Dr. Eleanor Drage is a Senior Research Fellow at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence. Dr. Kerry McInerney is a Research Fellow at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence and a Research Fellow at the AI Now Institute. Together they host The Good Robot, a podcast about gender, feminism, and whether technology can be "good" in either outcomes or processes.

    Watch the video version of this episode on PeerTube.


    References:
    HireVue promo: How Innovative Hiring Technology Nurtures Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
    Algorithm Watch: The [German Federal Asylum Agency]'s controversial dialect recognition software: new languages and an EU pilot project
    Want to see how AI might be processing video of your face during a job interview? Play with React App, a tool that Eleanor helped develop to critique AI-powered video interview tools and the 'personality insights' they offer.
    Philosophy & Technology: Does AI Debias Recruitment? Race, Gender, and AI’s “Eradication of Difference” (Drage & McInerney, 2022)
    Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies: Copies without an original: the performativity of biometric bordering technologies (Drage & Frabetti, 2023)
    Fresh AI Hell
    Internet of Shit 2.0: a "smart" bidet
    Fake AI “students” enrolled at Michigan University
    Synthetic images destroy online crochet groups
    “AI” for teacher performance feedback
    Palette cleanser: “Stochastic parrot” is the American Dialect Society’s AI-related word of the year for 2023!

    You can check out future livestreams at https://twitch.tv/DAIR_Institute.

    Follow us!

    Emily
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/EmilyMBender Mastodon: https://dair-community.social/@EmilyMBender Bluesky: https://bsky.app/profile/emilymbender.bsky.social Alex
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/@alexhanna Mastodon: https://dair-community.social/@alex Bluesky: https://bsky.app/profile/alexhanna.bsky.social Music by Toby Menon.
    Artwork by Naomi Pleasure-Park.
    Production by Christie Taylor.

    • 1 hr

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
21 Ratings

21 Ratings

Infini19A0 ,

This helps (CS) people

This podcast helps people including this skeptical Computer Scientist (CS) student and professional. More importantly it is accessible to all by educating about facts rather than marketing jargon. It is informative and recent episodes have improved greatly. Cutting through AI-hype trends is increasingly important. Please keep doing this brilliant work!

pengcognito ,

An oasis of knowledge in a sea of manufactured (generated?) existential dread.

If you are still afraid of the stochastic parrots, listen.

If you already know, and are exasperated by otherwise sensible people convinced they’re on the verge of being replaced in all areas of life with some grinning robot, have them listen.

This is both vaccine and antidote.

hobbieunicorn ,

Excellent podcasts for AI-maxis & AI-skeptics alike!

Whether you are an AI-maximalist, AI-skeptic, or somewhere in between, this podcast is a must-listen to understand the concerns around the 2023 AI hype and that “AI” critics are not simply luddites or party poopers.

Note that the first 3 episodes are just audio exports from live video streams and so are not as polished as podcasts you may be used to.

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