Humanities and AI - One answer to a million questions?

CDH lecture (hybrid)


During this duo presentation, professor Antal van den Bosch and assistant professor Dong Nguyen will discuss from their own different perspectives – Humanities and Computer Science – the impact of the latest Artificial Intelligence developments on linguistics and the field of digital humanities in general.

The general current perspective from the field of Artificial Intelligence on language – one of the most abundant and prominent products of the human mind – can be summarised as ‘an endless stream of very interesting data’. The latest AI developments, Large Language Models such as ChatGPT, implement this view to the hilt – trained on internet-scale amounts of language; their eye-catching capacity as “stochastic parrots” to generate text even seems to have brought Artificial General Intelligence a step closer.

But does this extremely data-driven approach bring answering the grand old theoretical questions on language any closer? What is the role of theory in this data-driven age? And what is the impact of Large Language Models on fields like digital humanities, which are not as ‘question-free’ like these models appear to be?

Dong Nguyen is assistant professor in Computer Science at the Faculty of Science at Utrecht University. Her research focuses on natural language processing, computational sociolinguistics, computational social science and social media. She is head of the NLP and Society Lab @

Antal van den Bosch is professor of Language, Communication and Computation at the Faculty of Humanities at Utrecht University. His research focuses on text mining, machine learning and computational linguistics. Van den Bosch is strategic advisor for the Centre for Digital Humanities.