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Authorship Without Agency?
Responding to
Computer-Generated Texts
Leah Henrickson
Loughborough University
Who I Am
• BA: University of Toronto
‒ Book & Media Studies
• Directed Research Project:
Qui bene presunt: A Research Catalogue
• MA: Institute of English Studies,
School of Advanced Study, University of London
‒ History of the Book
• Dissertation:
Feedforward: An Analysis of Inventory Books'
Visualities Using Scholarship about
Medieval Manuscripts
Computers are writing books.
Why should we care?
Racter [William Chamberlain and Tom Etter], The Policeman’s Beard is Half Constructed (1984)
Nora Reed, www.twitter.com/christianmom18 (now suspended)
Arria NLG (Market Cap: 16.70M USD)
Darius Kazemi, Teens Wander Around a House [Version 1] (2013)
Algorithmic authorship breaks
the hermeneutic code.
How does algorithmic
authorship challenge traditional
understandings of authorship?
What are the social and literary
implications of these
challenges?
Theory and Methodology
• Marshall McLuhan, Walter Ong, Elizabeth Eisenstein
‒ Media scholars writing about periods of transition
• D. F. McKenzie, Robert Darnton, Thomas Adams
and Nicolas Barker
‒ Book historians, sociologists of texts
• Analysis of primary and secondary material
• Patent/stock analysis
• Interviews
• Empirical reader-response study
What’s Been Done
• Definitions of key terms
‒ Program, algorithm, bot
‒ Authorship, readership (historical)
• Historical overview: The Policeman’s Beard is Half Constructed
• Recognition of key discussion points
‒ Creativity, processes of creation
‒ Individual vs. collective reading experiences
• Interdisciplinary conversation/collaboration
‒ Computer Science
‒ Centre for Information Management
‒ Social Sciences
What Needs Doing
• Reduction of scope
• Interviews with computer-generated text
producers/programmers
‒ Ethical clearance pending
• Development and execution of reader-
response study
• Continued collaboration
Computers are writing books.
Why should we care?
l.r.henrickson@lboro.ac.uk
Twitter: @leahhenrickson
1 February 2017

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Authorship Without Agency?: Responding to Computer-Generated Texts

  • 1. Authorship Without Agency? Responding to Computer-Generated Texts Leah Henrickson Loughborough University
  • 2. Who I Am • BA: University of Toronto ‒ Book & Media Studies • Directed Research Project: Qui bene presunt: A Research Catalogue • MA: Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London ‒ History of the Book • Dissertation: Feedforward: An Analysis of Inventory Books' Visualities Using Scholarship about Medieval Manuscripts
  • 3. Computers are writing books. Why should we care?
  • 4. Racter [William Chamberlain and Tom Etter], The Policeman’s Beard is Half Constructed (1984)
  • 6. Arria NLG (Market Cap: 16.70M USD)
  • 7. Darius Kazemi, Teens Wander Around a House [Version 1] (2013)
  • 9. How does algorithmic authorship challenge traditional understandings of authorship? What are the social and literary implications of these challenges?
  • 10. Theory and Methodology • Marshall McLuhan, Walter Ong, Elizabeth Eisenstein ‒ Media scholars writing about periods of transition • D. F. McKenzie, Robert Darnton, Thomas Adams and Nicolas Barker ‒ Book historians, sociologists of texts • Analysis of primary and secondary material • Patent/stock analysis • Interviews • Empirical reader-response study
  • 11. What’s Been Done • Definitions of key terms ‒ Program, algorithm, bot ‒ Authorship, readership (historical) • Historical overview: The Policeman’s Beard is Half Constructed • Recognition of key discussion points ‒ Creativity, processes of creation ‒ Individual vs. collective reading experiences • Interdisciplinary conversation/collaboration ‒ Computer Science ‒ Centre for Information Management ‒ Social Sciences
  • 12. What Needs Doing • Reduction of scope • Interviews with computer-generated text producers/programmers ‒ Ethical clearance pending • Development and execution of reader- response study • Continued collaboration
  • 13. Computers are writing books. Why should we care?