Nnedi Okorafor and a positive side to ChatGPT

While the writers for South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and novelist, journalist, and blogger Cory Doctorow have shared their unique perspectives on ChatGPT, I came across this striking and caring statement by "*THE* Naijamerican PhD-holding, World Fantasy, multi-Hugo, Nebula, Eisner Award-winning, New York Times bestselling rudimentary cyborg writer," Nnedi Okorafor about her recent experience with ChatGPT.

"I just used ChatGPT to get very clear and specific answers to some emotionally painful questions about a loved one. It's been more helpful than anything I've experienced with medical professionals. There is a positive side to all this. For clarity, I was asking it about scientific information that's been well researched. It gleaned all the info it had access to and spat it back to me in a clear, concise way, answering questions I wanted answers to right at the moment."

Anyone who knows Okorafor's galaxy-expanding imagination can only conclude she has a generative, unique, and provocative perspective on AI, technology, and use-value. It is not simply who is using or designing the technology – though the authors of algorithms, code creators, and infrastructure architects should be scrutinized for their biases and intentions – but the possible ends for inventing and wielding technology. A little subjunctive altering of Ani DiFranco from MY I.Q., "Every tool can be a weapon if you hold it right."

Check out Okorafor's auto-biographical book Broken Places and Outer Spaces: Finding Creativity in the Unexpected for more on her journey toward the cyborgtivity.

"In Broken Places & Outer Spaces, Nnedi takes the reader on a journey from her hospital bed deep into her memories, from her painful first experiences with racism as a child in Chicago to her powerful visits to her parents' hometown in Nigeria. From Frida Kahlo to Mary Shelly, she examines great artists and writers who have pushed through their limitations, using hardship to fuel their work. Through these compelling stories and her own, Nnedi reveals a universal truth: What we perceive as limitations have the potential to become our greatest strengths—far greater than when we were unbroken."

For more on the politics of programming, see Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism by Safiya U. Noble, MacAuthur "Genius" Foundation Fellow.