AI first topic for 2024 Charlemont Forum series

AMY COLLIER

AMY COLLIER

By CHRIS LARABEE

Staff Writer

Published: 04-05-2024 1:19 PM

CHARLEMONT — In its first session of 2024, the Charlemont Forum is bringing artificial intelligence to the table, as the discussion series looks at media as its overarching topic this year.

The Charlemont Forum’s 2024 season opens on Thursday, April 11, at 7 p.m. when Amy Collier, associate provost for digital learning at Middlebury College, comes to Franklin County to talk about the opportunities and dangers presented by generative AI, including ChatGPT and other related programs.

Members of the public are invited to attend the discussion in person at the Charlemont Federated Church, 175 Main St., or they can obtain a Zoom link by visiting charlemontforum.org. Collier will speak for about 45 minutes, followed by time for questions from the audience.

“We think it is a pertinent, timely issue,” Charlemont Forum Committee member Mary Ann Adams said of choosing AI as the first topic for this year’s series. “In looking at our 2024 forum series, you could say that this year, our overarching theme is media, and how it can be explored, developed and manipulated.”

In her discussion, Collier will touch on ethical issues, like privacy, authenticity and plagiarism, as well as AI’s potential impacts on higher education, with a goal of helping communities navigate the rapidly changing world of artificial intelligence.

Other speakers in the series, which continues in June and July, include author and journalist Ted Conover and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Jackie Lesko.

“When people attend, either in person or on Zoom, we hope they are given the opportunity to understand the topic in new ways, to ask questions and to come away with a deeper sense of what the speaker conveys,” Adams said.

The discussion series usually begins in the summer, but Collier was only available in April, so the forum pushed up the start of its season, according to Adams.

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The Charlemont Forum speaker series started in 2010, and has featured discussions on religion in American political life, economic inequality, immigration, gender identity and more. The program is supported by the cultural councils of Amherst, Ashfield, Buckland, Charlemont, Hawley, Colrain, Conway, Goshen, Heath, Leyden, Plainfield, Rowe and Shelburne.

For more information about the Charlemont Forum, including how to register for a Zoom link, visit its website at charlemontforum.org or its Facebook page at facebook.com/charlemontforum.

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com.