Samstag, 3.2.2024, 16:30h

Fritz Breithaupt


Narrative Emotions in the Age of ChatGPT

Both storytelling and emotions are part of what makes humans unique. In storytelling, we are able to communicate experiences with each other. Whatever happened to my friends but also to strangers can become part of my own experiences. Emotions play a central role in storytelling and in our co-experience. They give a story meaning and they often reward us for engagement. At the end of a story, we can participate in the happy end, we can feel satisfied with a just outcome, or feel the tickle of surprise. Now, for the first time, machines that use large language models, can also deliver stories and these stories include a range of narrative emotions. In this talk, I will provide my account of narrative emotions, based on empirical studies from my Experimental Humanities Lab, and will then provide empirical data showing how ChatGPT retells emotions in controlled conditions. The results show that ChatGPT is competent in identifying and communicating the emotional core of stories, but nevertheless behaves differently from human storytellers. These data will allow us to raise the question of the future of humanity in the age of artificial intelligence.

Fritz Breithaupt
is Provost Professor of Germanic Studies and Cognitive Science, and adjunct professor in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies at Bloom-ington University, Indiana. After studying at Universität Hamburg and Freie Universität Berlin, he received his Ph.D. in German Literature from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. He has published widely on empathy, narrative cognition, and German intellectual history. He founded and directs the Experimental Humanities Laboratory to study narratives and narrative cognition empirically. He writes frequently for the German press, especially Die Zeit and Der Freitag. Selected publications: Das narrative Gehirn: Was Neuronen erzählen (2022; The Narrative Brain, 2024); Die dunklen Seiten der Empathie (2017; The Dark Sides of Empathy, 2019); Kultur der Ausrede: Eine Narrationstheorie (2013); Der Ich-Effekt des Geldes: Zur Geschichte einer Legitimationsfigur (2008).

Veranstaltung in englischer Sprache