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Course Details

Fall 2016-2017
* ITA 320 / COM 378 (LA)   Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit

Cybernetics, Literary Ghosts and the Italian Way

Giovanni Riotta

"Will we have a machine capable of replacing the poet and the author?" asked Italo Calvino in 1967, hopeful that computers would write "the literature." In 1962 poet Nanni Balestrini instructed a computer to write a poem eager to hear "the voice of the machine." Rough novels and 200,000 non-fiction books have already been written through algorithms and a literary novel is expected soon. Can we instruct a computer to write a novel? Should we use an algorithm or machine learning? Students will create with their own writing experiment analyzing the "Wiki" tradition of collective writing, the Bible, Homer up to the bizarre Slender Man saga.

Sample reading list:
Italo Calvino, Cybernetics and Ghosts
Nanni Balestrini, Tape Mark I
Georges Perec, Life A User's Manual
Asa Briggs, Peter Burke, A Social History of the Media
Chad Wellmon, Why Google Isn't Making Us Stupid...Or Smart
Farida Vis, When False Information Goes Viral
See instructor for complete list

Reading/Writing assignments:
40-50 pages of reading per week.

Requirements/Grading:
Mid Term Exam - 30%
Take Home Final Exam - 40%
Oral Presentation(s) - 10%
Class/Precept Participation - 20%

Other information:
This course will be taught in English; no knowledge of Italian is required.

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
23661 S01 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm T   East Pyne Building   239   Enrolled:6 Limit:15