Department of History

“Models-Scale-Context: AI and the Humanities” to Be First Collaborative Humanities Lab at Cogut

The Cogut Institute launches its collaborative humanities lab program with a three-year project exploring AI.

Beginning this Fall 2024 for a period of three years, historian Holly Case and computer scientist Suresh Venkatasubramanian will lead the first collaborative humanities lab at the Cogut Institute. The lab will advance research through programming, teaching, and publications.

Its theme of “Models-Scale-Context,” three basic terms of everyday and scientific discourse, highlights assumptions and frameworks through which AI is imagined and implemented. Questioning what these terms mean across disciplines and technological practices is an invitation to explore the modes of thinking, being, and doing that have shaped AI and could shape its possible futures. Models, scale, and context will each be the focus of a dedicated workshop.

“Our goal,” say Case and Venkatasubramanian, “is for the lab to operate flexibly and inclusively so as to enhance exchanges within an already vibrant community of faculty and doctoral students at Brown and to catalyze important new research on AI.” The lab’s activities will complement the work of other programs at Brown, including the Brown University Library, the Center for Digital Scholarship, and the Data Science Institute.

In Spring 2025, Case and Venkatasubramanian will team-teach “History of Artificial Intelligence,” tracing the technological, scientific, and social developments that gave rise to AI and the cultural and political ideas that have colored the inception and reception of tools like ChatGPT and DALL-E.

Read more from the Cogut Institute