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Please join us for the fourth session of the Attention Reading Group organised by the Centre for Attention Studies at King’s College London. This session will feature a short introduction to the use of the problem of attention in AI by Dr Daniel Chávez Heras from the Department of Digital Humanities.

SESSION 4: Attention and AI

Reading: Nick Seaver, ‘Attention Is All You Need: Humans and Computers in the Time of Neural Networks’. In Scenes of Attention, ed. D. Graham Burnett and Justin E.H. Smith (NY: Columbia University Press, 2023)

This is a short essay authored by an anthropologist, offering an interesting polemic with a political twist. It starts from explaining the prevalence of the concept of attention in computer science, especially in recent developments around machine learning and the architecture of neural networks. It then compares that particular use of the term ‘attention’ with its more established use, where attention is something that humans in the age of smartphones and social media seemingly have less and less of. The author is as critical of some of the conceptual underpinnings of the Big Tech narrative as he is of the individualistic intimation of ‘new tech humanism’ that wants to save us from attention loss.

A PDF copy of the text will be sent to all registered participants, together with a Teams link for the meeting.

This event is open to all and free to attend, booking is required.

Participants from outside the KCL community who haven’t attended any of the previous sessions are most welcome to join the Reading Group, but, as well as making a booking, they need to click on ‘Contact the event organiser’ on the booking page, choose option ‘I have a question related to an event’ and email us with a brief introduction about themselves.

At this event

Daniel Chavez Heras

Lecturer in Digital Culture and Creative Computing

Event details