Lunder Institute Senior Fellow Oscar Santillán Inspires Colby Student’s Audiovisual Essay Exploring Non-human Intelligence

Colby student Hang Phan 26 shares final project from Jan Plan course Antimundo, taught by Lunder Institute Senior Fellow Oscar Santillán

Colby students and Lunder Institute Senior Fellow Oscar Santillán in classroom for Jan Plan course Antimundo.

This course is about the future; the future here is understood as the potential for other configurations of the world which have been forgotten, repressed, or poorly understood, such as indigenous technologies. The course departs from two main ideas; the first one is ‘Antimundo’, which is a conceptual approach towards diverse forms of human knowing beyond modern Western ways of organizing life on Earth (i.e. humans not as unique creatures, as all creatures are unique, but rather humans as exceptional beings). The second idea guiding this course is the ‘IVM’ (the Interspecies Virtual Machine), which is a hypothesis for how to create connections between the diverse participants of planet Earth, those of organic and artificial origin. The course combines theory and practice. The final goal of the course was to create an audiovisual essay addressing any aspects of this large set of ideas that resonated with each of the students’ curiosity.

–Oscar Santillán

have_a_soul by Hang Phan, ’26

This project is an experimental still-image sci-fi short film that depicts an imaginary place where consciousness exists without human beings. The film is inspired by our Jan Plan course’s readings and discussions on non-human intelligence. The images and voice-over used in the film are 100% artificially generated using ChatGPT, Midjourney, Dall-E, and a simple Python audio library. I hope this small project can provoke the audience to rethink our relationship with AI and the world, both hierarchical and non-hierarchical, and contribute to the ongoing discourse on the potential use of AI technologies in artistic expression and, more generally, the ethical considerations surrounding AI and its impact on society.