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About AILA→

We aim to engage a broad, interdisciplinary community of participants in discussions and activities related to artificial intelligence, exploring and facilitating multi-way interactions between work in artificial intelligence and work across the liberal arts.

Amherst College AI in the Liberal Arts logo

What is Artificial Intelligence and how is it changing the world as we know it?

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There has never been a better time to engage in critical conversation about the diverse applications of AI and to consider the repercussions of its use.

AILA is here to guide you toward scholarship, discussion, events, and other learning opportunities that are interdisciplinary and critically minded. We believe in the importance of asking big questions and thinking about these issues across disciplinary boundaries. Explore our library of:

  • AI Ethics Discussion
  • Tools and Resources
  • Events to help learn and reflect
  • AILA Newsletter

What We Do

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Find out what is happening in AI now and how it may affect your interests. We provide a curated list of AI-related news articles!

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Want to engage in conversations about Artificial Intelligence? Send us ideas for articles and comment on any of our blog posts to get the conversation started!

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Want to learn about upcoming events and talks organized by us? Check out our upcoming and past events through our Events page!

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Interested in how you can use Artificial Intelligence? Want to read up on blogs and tutorials about AI tools and more?

Join us in critical conversation and learning at our next event!

Spring 2024 Events

February 20th, 2024 @ 4p on Zoom; RSVP below to register.

As part of AILA’s Spring Learning & Discussion Series, in partnership with the Writing Center we bring you AI and Creativity: What Matters for Human Writers | A Conversation with Naomi S. Baron 

For writers, as well as teachers and students of writing, the rapid development of Generative AI raises profound questions about the value of humanist writing processes. Join AILA and the Writing Center for this virtual event featuring Naomi S. Baron, author of Who Wrote This? How AI and the Lure of Efficiency Threaten Human Writing and Professor Emerita of Linguistics at American University. Professor Baron will build on her discussion of creativity in the book, incorporating developments over the past year, with a focus on the realm of writing, in this highly interactive session for the Amherst College community. Facilitated by Jessica Kem, director of the Writing Center.

To register for the event, please click here.

Fall 2023 Events

Sign-up for Hack the Herd: the Amherst College Hackathon!

Do you want to make Amherst a better place? Do you have an interest in sustainability and AI technology? Want to win a $25 Amazon gift card? Then sign up for the first ever Amherst College hackathon. For 24 hrs, work together in a team to build and pitch a project to help make Amherst more sustainable. We will have snacks and a catered dinner as well as access to ChatGPT-4. The hackathon will be hosted in the Science Center by the Office of Sustainability, AI in the Liberal Arts, and the CS clubs from 5 PM on December 1st to 5 PM on December 2nd. Sign-ups are due November 25.

A hackathon is best described as an “invention marathon”. A hackathon is an intensely collaborative event where individuals or teams come together to develop actionable solutions to specific challenges or problems. Anyone who has an interest in sustainability or technology can attend a hackathon to learn, build & share their projects over the course of a weekend in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. You don’t have to be a programmer and you certainly don’t have to be majoring in Computer Science! 

AILA Tools Team Demos Wolfram|Alpha Pro; 11/7 @ 5p in Frost Library Cafe

The Mentorship and Tools team will be popping-up to demo Wolfram|Alpha Pro, an AI tool that focuses on empirical/systematic knowledge, facts, research, etc. Come visit the Tools team for one-on-one help with specific projects, setting up the tool on your laptop, or how learn how to use Wolfram|Alpha in your projects. Let us know how we can help you!

The ChatGPT Café

In partnership with IT and the AI in the Liberal Arts (AILA) initiative, we are excited to bring the ChatGPT Café series to the Amherst community. In this series of informal exploratory pop-up cafés, faculty, staff, and students at Amherst College will have the opportunity to experiment with the latest paid versions of ChatGPT4 and reflect on their experiences. Come join us at various locations around campus to explore what the most powerful version of ChatGPT4 can do. At each café, we will have:

  • Introductory info on ChatGPT: what is it? how does it work?
  • Tips on how to write effective prompts 
  • Guided activities to get you started (if you don’t know where to begin)
  • Helpful folks to discuss and reflect on your ChatGPT experience with
  • Additional resources to support your experimentation and learning!

Bolstering AI with Computational Ability & Curated Data

Wed, September 20th @ 4pm

Paino Lecture Hall; Beneski 107

Academic Technology Services & AILA welcome, Andy Dorsett, a representative from Wolfram Research. He will discuss an innovative new plugin for ChatGPT, Mathematica’s built-in machine learning, and its connections with other AI systems. Find out more here!

AILA Open House

September 14th, 1-3pm

Science Center C209

Meet AILA student assistants and learn how to get involved with some Insomnia cookies to enjoy!

Mememormee- A Dance & AI Performance

  • by Andy Anderson
    «Today, President Biden issued a landmark Executive Order to ensure that America leads the way in seizing the promise and managing the risks of artificial intelligence (AI). The Executive Order establishes new standards for AI safety and security, protects Americans’ privacy, advances equity and civil rights, stands up for consumers and workers, promotes innovation and […]
  • by Andy Anderson
    ARTIFICIALLY INTELLIGENT, NATURALLY FAIR? Panel Discussion on Equitable Algorithms Friday, October 27 2023 12:30 – 2:00 pm Online via Zoom Learn More & Register Now Download Flyer In an increasingly data-driven world, algorithms play a pivotal role in shaping our lives, from determining what content we see on social media to influencing hiring decisions and […]
  • by Ari King
    Academic Technology Services & AILA welcome, Andy Dorsett, a representative from Wolfram Research. He will discuss an innovative new plugin for ChatGPT, Mathematica’s built-in machine learning, and its connections with other AI systems. Wednesday 9/20 @ 4p; Paino Lecture Hall, Beneski 107 8 posts – 6 participants Read full topic
  • by Tairan Ji
    Join Artificial Intelligence in the Liberal Arts (AILA) for Cookies and Convo Students, faculty, and staff please stop by C209 on Thursday, 9/14 from 1-3p to get know our new AILA Team! We will have AILA stickers, Insomnia Cookies, and folks ready to answer all your Artificial Intelligence related questions. All questions and levels of […]
  • by Andy Anderson
    June 6 2023, 1:00 PM ET – 2:00 PM ET Are you curious about the digital skills required to unlock the potential of data science and artificial intelligence in non-science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields? Join us for “AI Beyond STEM: digital skills to unleash the power of data science and AI for all” hosted […]
  • by Sarah Wu
    Back to a brief discussion about the ethics of AI! While the proliferation of AI in everyday culture is quickly rising, it’s important to mull over the ethical considerations of new technologies, especially AI in its expansive nature to encode and generalize data that it has received. Image Credit: UNESCO According to UNESCO’s page, Artificial […]
  • by Sarah Wu
    "Khan and his team used GPT-4 as the engine behind software called Khanmigo (“Khan” plus “amigo” — a little goofy). Khanmigo isn’t supposed to give away answers. Like a good flesh-and-blood tutor, it engages students in a Socratic dialogue to guide them. It’s good at figuring out what they aren’t getting. Plus, Khan said, “it […]
  • by Sarah Wu
    "Pi’s boundaries are easy to find. When I tried picking fights, I mostly received kindness in return. “I appreciate you saying that,” Pi’s text gently unfurled on my screen. “I think it’s important to see things from all perspectives, and not to just focus on the negative.” Over time, that relentless balance wore on me, […]
  • by Jaya Kannan
    nytimes.com – 27 Apr 23 Let Us Show You How GPT Works — Using Jane Austen An interactive explanation of how language models learn to mimic language, from Shakespeare to Star Trek. By Aatish Bhatia April 27, 2023 Aatish Bhatia spent weeks reading dozens of A.I. research articles and training tiny language models on his […]
  • by sike
    Clara Mokri for Wall Street Journal One of Sam Altman’s early memories is playing with the Macintosh LC II he had gotten for his eighth birthday and realizing that: “Someday, the computer was going to learn to think,” he said. Altman co-founded OpenAI in 2015 because he believed, he says, that AI development should not […]