IN SEPTEMBER OF LAST YEAR, a startling headline appeared on the Guardian’s website: “A robot wrote this entire article. Are you scared yet, human?” The accompanying piece was written by GPT-3, or Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3, a language-generating program from San Francisco–based OpenAI, an artificial intelligence research company whose founders include Tesla billionaire Elon Musk and Berkeley Ph.D. John Schulman. “The mission for this op-ed is perfectly clear,” the robotic author explained to readers.
When Fred Moten reflects on his childhood, he thinks of music. His mother once slipped a coat over his pajamas, so he could accompany her to a late-night concert by the jazz singer Joe Williams on the Las Vegas Strip. She also played the piano, collected jazz and blues recordings, and baked pies for legendary bluesman B.B. King.
Posted on April 17, 2020 - 4:55pm
With covers featuring buxom women in tight, revealing clothes, Aya de León’s Justice Hustlers series may seem like beach reads. But, if so, they’re beach reads with a serious agenda: social justice, trafficking, and radical wealth distribution.
Posted on January 23, 2020 - 11:06am
Newcomers to the Golden State (of which Berkeley has many, the student body now representing 74 countries and all 50 states) are quickly disabused of the beachy, bikini-clad stereotype of California sold to them in song lyrics. Instead, they find themselves immersed in Berkeley’s funky, foggy, nonlinear climate. In fall, while much of the nation is snuggling into sweaters and snarfing down pumpkin spice what-have-you, Bay Area folks are pulling the popsicles from the freezer for the first time, September usually being the hottest month of the year.
Javier Zamora, a Salvadoran-American poet who lived for most of his life sin papeles, doesn’t care too much for labels. Or borders for that matter.
Born in El Salvador and educated at UC Berkeley, Zamora immigrated to the U.S. when he was only 9 years old. Since then, his literary success has earned him new titles—immigrant activist, hero of the American Dream, and very recently, with his new EB-1 visa, a person with “an extraordinary ability.”
As a successful, Filipina-American, experimental feminist poet, Barbara Jane Reyes is something unusual. Her poetry, which she describes as “Filipina affirming work, Filipina centric work, in which the definition of Filipina must be complex and manifold,” is being featured at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum, through the month of August. She joins poet Al Robles as part of the Pilipinx American Library, a non-circulating library in the museum’s Resource Room.
Posted on August 30, 2018 - 7:59am
UC Berkeley is consistently ranked one of the best research universities in the world, but what happens to researchers after they leave?
Earlier this month, four Cal grads—four! Can we get a Go Bears?!— were featured in the Lehigh Research Review for their remarkable work in sustainable infrastructure, college admission economics, and discourses on border identity.
Check out their research below to find out what these Berkeley grads-cum-Lehigh professors have been up to since they left the den.
Posted on July 6, 2018 - 4:17pm
The UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive exhibition Way Bay is a love letter to the Bay Area. Showcasing works created by local artists, or else inspired by the bay and the artist’s journey through, it runs until June 3, 2018, with several community participation events along the way. Works will be switched out during the summer and the exhibition will continue until September 2.
Posted on February 14, 2018 - 12:37pm
The poem was originally titled Easy Rider. Westering, as it is now known, is probably the first poem Nobel Laureate in Literature Seamus Heaney wrote in Berkeley, after arriving here from Belfast in 1970 for a stint as a visiting professor in English. The poem’s original title evokes the 1969 film of the same name, starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Jack Nicholson. In it, the trio motorcycle east from L.A. through the nineteen-sixties America of new styles, hair lengths, music, political activity, and sexual behavior.
Posted on January 10, 2018 - 1:33pm
1 There may be one thing that you and Donald Trump agree on: Both of you seem to love Twitter. Since October 5, 2012, you have tweeted nearly 58,000 times and have a staggering 180,000 followers. Why do you find Twitter such a compelling medium for self-expression?
The epic poem Layla and Majnun is arguably the most famous love story in the Middle East, and yet many Westerners have never heard of it. It is the tale of two teenagers who fall deeply in love but are tragically kept apart, even until death. After Layla’s father rejects Qays’s request for her hand in marriage, Qays wanders the desert expressing his undying love through poetry.
What’s in the brain that ink may character
Which hath not figured to thee my true spirit
King of hell no quarrel have I left thee
No lovely maid who gleaned in fields or skies
One pair of lines above is the work of Shakespeare. The other was written by a computer. Can you tell which is which?
Posted on August 30, 2016 - 12:54pm
Perhaps you think that you shall never see a poem as lovely as the genome sequence of the loblolly pine tree—which, as you undoubtedly knew, happens to be the longest genome yet sequenced.
Posted on April 22, 2014 - 8:31pm
There are cowboy poets, of course—so many that cowpoke poesy conferences, or “gatherings,” are held regularly in most of the western states. But while there are plenty of country and western song lyrics about truckers (“I got ten forward gears and a Sweet Georgia overdrive; I’m taking little white pills and my eyes are open wide”), trucker poets are a scarcer breed.
Posted on March 3, 2014 - 2:22pm