Using Rhetrickery for Good, an AI-generated essay

You've read about (and now written about) about Birds Aren't Real, which attempts to use the tools of rhetrickery (lying, deceit, etc.) to critique and poke fun at disinformation, misinformation, conspiracy theories, and more. In your final project, your job is to write an essay based on our "studies in rhetrickery" readings that describes your own version of this same approach.

What is another kind of project that can we imagine that would use rhetrickery for good? What technologies or practices would be used in such a project? What would the goals of that project be? What audience would the project hope to reach, and why? Your job in this paper is to describe such a project by answering these questions.

When describing your own "rhetrickery for good" project, you can draw upon these readings and resources:

  • "Digital Propaganda: The Power of Influencers"
  • Philadelphia Art Museum Workers' use of memes during their strike
  • Feels Good Man (film)
  • "Lexicon of Lies"
  • "Exposing Russia’s Effort to Sow Discord Online: The Internet Research Agency and Advertisements"
  • "Media Forensics and DeepFakes: An Overview"
  • Headliner (videogame)

But there's one more twist for this project: You have to use the AI text-generation tool GPT-3 to write your paper. This paper will be written by an AI, and any changes you make to the text will have to be indicated in boldface. The goal of the project is to edit the text generated by the AI as little as possible and to use GPT-3 to generate a paper that responds to the paper prompt.

In addition to generating the paper using GPT-3, you will be responsible for a brief 3-minute presentation during which you will reflect on your experience using GPT-3 to write a paper. Each student will present on their experience of using this tool and will share slides during that presentation. This will mean documenting your process as you use the tool with screenshots and notes.

When I provide feedback on the paper, I will comment on it the same way I normally would, commenting on areas where the paper does or does not meet the assignment, or commenting on areas that require revision. In other words, I will be responding as if a human wrote the paper. In those remarks, I will be asking if your paper:

  • Provides a detailed description of your "rhetrickery for good" project.
  • Provides a detailed description of what technologies or practices would be used in your project.
  • Describes the goals of your rhetrickery project.
  • Describes the audience for your proposed project.
  • Uses specific examples from the readings to describe your proposed project.
  • Is carefully written, generally free of grammatical errors, and observes the word limit.

Your presentation will be made in Google Slides and will be no more than three minutes long. It will be a reflection on your experience using GPT-3 technology to generate your paper. When providing feedback, I will be asking if your presentation:

  • Provides a detailed reflection on how you used GPT-3 to generate your paper, including screenshots and any other documentation of your process.
  • Describes your struggles and discoveries using the tool.
  • Offers a discussion of the advantages and/or disadvantages of using the tool in this way.
  • Demonstrates that you have carefully designed your slides following the approach we've covered in class.
  • Observes the time limit.

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