Machine Predictions and Synthetic Text: A Roundtable

Oct 26, 2021, 4:30 pm6:00 pm
Zoom Webinar



Event Description

Since it was published in March 2021, "On the Dangers of Stochastic Parrots: Can Language Models Be Too Big?" has sparked impassioned conversations on the unintended consequences and potential harms of prominent natural language processing (NLP) projects. While this groundbreaking paper has been influential in computer and data science—prompting reflection on the dangers of relying on poorly conceptualized and curated data—it is only beginning to be discussed by humanities scholars who use NLP methods in their research.

For this roundtable, two co-authors of "Stochastic Parrots" will speak with three leading digital humanities scholars about the implications of the article for humanities research employing NLP methods. Together, they will discuss how the authors’ attention to process (data gathering, documentation, standards) and ethics in AI can be turned to humanists creating data and models for the study of literature, history, and culture.


  • Angelina McMillan-Major (University of Washington, Computational Linguistics)
  • Gimena del Rio Riande (University of Buenos Aires, Romance Philology)
  • Lauren Klein (Emory University, English and Quantitative Theory & Methods)
  • Margaret Mitchell (independent AI research scientist)
  • Ted Underwood (University of Illinois, Information Science)


  • Meredith Martin

Register for the Zoom webinar.

  • Center for Statistics and Machine Learning
  • Center for Digital Humanities