Putting the “Art” in Artificial Intelligence: A Literary Critic’s Response to Machine Learning

Stephanie Misko, English, William Amos Hough High School

Final Unit (PDF)  Implementing Common Core Standards (PDF)


It is rare that the fields of Computer Science and English Literature/Language meet in conversation let alone a lesson plan. The following unit considers artificial intelligence’s impact on literary and artistic endeavors. Students will consider whether machines can be creative and what criteria are used to judge creativity in humans. But most importantly, the central question of this unit is whether author’s purpose or artist’s intention is meaningful in literary analysis. Given the constantly changing meaning of words, does the author’s purpose matter at all? To explore these questions, this unit presents Romantic, Postmodern and Deconstructive ideas and connects to these ideas to the society students live in. Students will also read Alan Turing’s famous essay about the future of artificial intelligence and the challenges it poses. Students interact with poetry and non-fiction using annotation strategies, deliver arguments using a variety of sources, and consider the ethical and artistic implications of machine learning.