Can ChatGPT Find the Essential Story in Oprah’s “The Women of Brewster Place”?
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In 1989, Oprah Winfrey produced and starred in the two-part TV miniseries, The Women of Brewster Place, which was based on Gloria Naylor’s award-winning debut novel. The book, and the movie, explore a variety of personal issues and social themes faced by seven African American women who live in an urban housing project.
When, just for fun, we asked the new artificial intelligence software, ChatGPT, to connect Oprah’s cultural influence with themes from the book/movie, the AI chatbot got it… sort of right. Sort of. It dispassionately summarized many of the challenges faced by the women in the story. And it mentioned Oprah’s commitment to highlighting personal and social issues. But ChatGPT failed to find the essential storyline.
And it’s no wonder. The online content about The Women of Brewster Place neglects the underlying racism that’s at work when urban planners and policymakers target the destruction of specific neighborhoods in the name of progress. As long as history is “written by the victors,” the online trough that feeds artificial intelligence will prevent AI, and the people who rely on it, from making the most crucial connections of all.
MENTIONS AND REFERENCES We encourage you to visit your local bookseller or library.
- Book by Gloria Naylor - The Women of Brewster Place
- Movie on YouTube - The Women of Brewster Place
- People Magazine Article - Oprah Goes Hollywood
- Book by Carol Stabile, PhD - The Broadcast 41
- Podcast Series (first of four) - Calculated Efforts to Preserve Power: TV Women Blacklisted
- Vulture Article - 30 Years Ago, The Women of Brewster Place Cracked Open the Door for Queer TV
- Vice Article - I’ve Made More Than 1,700 Wikipedia Entries on Women Scientists and I’m Not Yet Done
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