Event Recaps | 11 March 2024

March Slugs and Steins with Professor Pranav Anand


On March 11, 2024, Professor Pranav gave the March Slugs and Steins lecture on ChatGPT: A Selective History, and Notes on the Future of AI/ML Language Models.

Drawing on the Humanities Division’s Humanizing Technology curriculum, this virtual talk highlighted some of the history of language models now ascendant in systems like ChatGPT. We transitioned from early cryptography through the beginnings of machine translation, and into the data-rich present of large language models. Along the way, we contemplated the ways that developments in technology have been driven by historical backdrop and leveraged that understanding to contemplate what the near future will look like.

Pranav Anand is a Professor of Linguistics at UC Santa Cruz and Faculty Director at The Humanities Institute, specializing in semantics and pragmatics, particularly in the study of context- dependence, perspectival expressions, and subjectivity. His work, which leverages linguistic fieldwork, logical analysis, philosophy of language, and computational linguistics, has examined affect and sentiment, debate and persuasion, narrative, ellipsis and fragments, and modality and knowledge.

Watch a live recording of the event below:

Slugs & Steins: Lectures from UC Santa Cruz is a monthly lecture series comprised of informal discussions highlighting UC Santa Cruz’s many amazing faculty members. Talks are held on the 2nd Monday of each month with topics ranging from organic artichokes to endangered zebras, self-driving cars to Shakespeare.