If the overnight popularity of ChatGPT and the following widespread attention on “artificial intelligence” (AI) seemed to come out of nowhere, it’s not as sudden as you may think. This rise belongs to a long lineage of technological developments—including familiar ones like the Internet—that have shaped the course of much of our history. Technology is entangled with our understanding of commodity, capital, and power. As many artists are deeply engaged in interpreting and creating works that address what’s happening across broader society, having nuanced conversations on the impact of AI across all art disciplines is necessary.
If the internet is like a big, beckoning watering hole, what makes some shores more welcoming than others? You may have noticed the waters becoming choppier this year as big, new players enter the scene—the AI gorilla and a Twitter tarantula, to name a few—raising profound, evolving questions about how we build, cultivate, and engage with online spaces. I decided it was time to sit down with one of the most thoughtful internet builders I know. For the past 12+ years, Laurel Schwulst has brought to life networked tools as a designer, writer, educator, & power user. Currently, she teaches web design at Princeton and directs the Are.na Gift Shop. Here’s a selection of projects she has enjoyed working on:
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