Building Oblivion University in the Aftermath

Well, I think it’s finally time to start blogging about the ds106 course that’s likely to run across at least three universities in the Spring of 2024. The course, in short, is going to focus on digital storytelling in the wake of AI, the aftermath—if you will. I’ll be teaching alongside such stalwarts as Martha Burtis, Paul Bond, and Michael Branson Smith (MBS), which is reason enough to do it. The narrative for the course is currently unfolding in our collective minds, but when MBS mentioned framing it as “the Aftermath” based on some of the plot lines Martha and Paul have been working through, I knew that was going to be the name: ai106 – the aftermath (the ai106 was Martha’s stroke of genius). I’ll spare details on the course given that is very much a work in progress, but in broad strokes there is a moment after some imagined event, and that becomes ground zero for the rise of the machine. There will be multiple plots and subplots, many of which the students will create, but there will be this looming figure of Dr. Oblivion who has arisen in the aftermath and has started an AI-driven university. What’s more, he will be actively recruiting students to leave their current institutions and join the “the one true university,” the long overdue Oblivion U—where truth can finally be measured.

I think you can see the possibilities there, MBS has already trained the AI on Dr. Oblivion, so that is all set, we just have to train him to teach university between now and January—should be a breeze 🙂 The fun part for me is building out the entire infrastructure for this brave new world of online universities. The idea is to take the elements that made up our Open Media Ecosystem  last December, and bring them all together using Mastodon and Mattermost to essentially build out an entirely open source platform that not only allows us to own the publishing, as WordPress so beautifully did, but also the comms via social media where Mastodon replaces Twitter; Mattermost substitutes Slack; PeerTube premieres over YouTube; PixelFed stands in for Instagram; Azuracast for, well, Azuracast; etc. You get the idea, I’m sure, it will be a full blown university in the open source cloud driven by everyone’s favorite VHS-born professor. I love the idea of it being “the aftermath” given ds106 has been in a bit of a slumber and the recent rise of the machines has signaled a shift in the rhetoric of a kind of before and after when it comes to AI. So it only makes sense to mobilize the rebellion to explore that tension, here’s to hoping so many of you beautiful machines out there join us!

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7 Responses to Building Oblivion University in the Aftermath

  1. Alan Levine says:

    The only question is, will you shave your head for an aftermath? 😉

    I was neglectful in responding to an early email on this, but I definitely would like to be in on ai106, because the only thing I can see to face this wave is making art and mocking/questioning everything. I’m willing to be among the open rabble forces.

    This could be the motivation I need to re-wire the daily create to work in Mastodon, I’ve done the proof of concept for using the API, but just have been heel dragging on getting into it.

  2. Eric Likness says:

    The “Collapse” started with A.I. Levine I dare say ?The rest was all over except for the gloaming.

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