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Talk: What Does Language Do and What Can We Do With It?

Dr. Christine Mallinson Lipitz Lecture, 4pm April 18, UMBC

What Does Language Do and What Can We Do With It?

Language is essential to humanity. How we use language is a key part of how we define ourselves and how we relate to each other, as individuals and in society. In recent years, however, the authenticity of how we communicate has been disrupted by the rise of AI-generated content, including images, video, text, and audio, which can be used as powerful vehicles for deception. In this talk, centering the case of audio deepfakes, Mallinson explores why language matters: what it does, how it works, and what we can do with knowledge about how humans use it. Through interdisciplinary collaborations, she asserts, researchers can more fully address pressing challenges of our time—from misinformation and disinformation, to developing ethical and responsible language technologies, to sustaining global linguistic diversity, while advancing equity and inclusion in the humanistic and scientific study of language itself.

Christine Mallinson is Professor of Language, Literacy and Culture and Affiliate Professor of Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies at UMBC, where she also serves as Director of the Center for Social Science Scholarship and Special Assistant for Research & Creative Achievement. The author and editor of seven books, among other publications, including the (2024) volumes Decolonizing Linguistics and Inclusion in Linguistics, Mallinson’s interdisciplinary research examines the intersections of language, culture, education, and society, with a focus on addressing linguistic bias and misinformation for greater access, equity, and inclusion. A Fellow of the Linguistic Society of America, Mallinson is past chair and current member of the LSA Ethics Committee, and she serves on several national and international scholarly journal and academic advisory boards.

A video of the presentation is now available.


Posted: April 4, 2024, 9:34 AM