Julia Ticona Awarded National Endowment for the Humanities Grant to Study Generative AI

Ticona and Caitlin Petre of Rutgers University will explore how generative artificial intelligence tools affect those working in creative and cultural fields.

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced today that a research project co-directed by Annenberg School for Communication Assistant Professor Julia Ticona — “Imagining AI in organized labor: Struggles over the value of cultural work" — has been awarded $149,970, as part of the NEH’s Dangers and Opportunities of Technology: Perspectives from the Humanities (DOT) program.

Julia Ticona
Julia Ticona, Ph.D.

The project, co-directed with Caitlin Petre, Associate Professor of Journalism & Media Studies at Rutgers University, will explore how cultural workers like writers, artists, and journalists are dealing with the threat of automation.

Over two years, Ticona and Petre will speak to workers in cultural fields about how generative AI tools like DALL-E and ChatGPT influence their understandings of their work and its social status.

“During this past summer’s WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, Caitlin and I were fascinated by the ways that creative and cultural workers were pushing guardrails for the use of AI to the top of their list of demands," Ticona says. "Given the long history of labor unions pushing back against tech in many different fields, especially in manufacturing, we wondered how these very different types of workers were both imagining and pushing back against AI.”     

Through the project, Ticona and Petre aim to understand generative AI's evolving impact on creativity, working conditions in cultural industries, and the processes of meaning-making around emerging workplace technologies.


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