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AI & Copyright: Literary Arts in the Age of Machines

Wednesday, February 28, 2024


7:00 pm-8:30 pm Eastern

Brooklyn Public Library Central Branch, Dweck Center, 10 Grand Army Plz, Brooklyn, New York

BPL Presents is proud to partner with the Authors Guild to examine AI’s impact on literary arts & culture. Featuring incisive commentary from Mary Rasenberger (CEO, Authors Guild), author Maya Shanbhag Lang (president, Authors Guild), author Hari Kunzru, and author Steven Levy, this panel will engage questions at the bleeding edge of the AI debate.

Writing and storytelling has defined humanity for millennia. The ability to write, record, and express individual and collective experiences is the foundation of human culture. What does the rise of generative AI technologies, capable of “writing,” mean for this quintessentially human faculty? How will machine-written narratives change the literary arts? Can AI truly replicate human creativity and speak to human experiences? As algorithms reshape publishing and unlock new possibilities for literature, what will authorship look like in 10 years?

Learn more and register on the BPL website.


Mary Rasenberger is the Chief Executive Officer of the Authors Guild and Authors Guild Foundation. Prior to joining the Guild in November 2014, Mary practiced law for over 25 years in the areas of intellectual property, media and technology, with special expertise in copyright law. Most recently, Mary was a partner at Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard where she counseled publishing, media, entertainment, internet, and other technology companies, as well as authors and artists in all areas of copyright and related rights, including licensing, litigation, infringement analysis, policy, enforcement and digital rights. From 2002 to 2008 Mary worked for the U.S. Copyright Office and Library of Congress as senior policy advisor and program director for the National Digital Preservation Program. Mary has worked at other major New York law firms and for a major record company. Photo credit Beowulf Sheehan

Maya Shanbhag Lang is the author of What We Carry, named a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and a “Best Of 2020” by Amazon. She is also the author of The Sixteenth of June, a modern reinterpretation of Ulysses that was long listed for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize.

Lang’s essays have been widely published and anthologized. The American Civil Rights Museum named her a “Woman You Should Know.” Winner of the Neil Shepard Prize in Fiction, she serves as President of the Authors Guild.

After graduating magna cum laude from Swarthmore College, Lang earned her M.A. from NYU and her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from SUNY Stony Brook. Her dissertation, “The Hypochondriac: Bodies in Protest from Herman Melville to Toni Morrison,” won the Mildred and Herbert Weisinger Award. A passionate teacher, editor, and author advocate, she enjoys working with established and aspiring writers alike.

Lang is the daughter of South Asian immigrants and lives outside of New York City with her daughter. She is also a competitive-class weightlifter. Photo credit Beowulf Sheehan

Steven Levy has been covering the digital revolution since the early 1980s. He is currently Editor at Large at WIRED magazine, where he was one of its founding writers. During the height of the internet boom, he was the columnist and chief technology correspondent for Newsweek. He also wrote columns for Rolling Stone and Macworld.  

His first book was the iconic history of computer culture Hackers (1984). His coverage of Apple includes Insanely Great (1994), the history of Apple’s Macintosh computer; and The Perfect Thing (2006), the story of the iPod. Years before Bitcoin and the crypto explosion, Levy wrote Crypto (2001), the story behind that transformative technology. His definitive book on Google, In the Plex (2011), was a New York Times bestseller and Amazon’s business book of the year. He also wrote a true-crime book, The Unicorn’s Secret (1988), which was adapted into an NBC mini-series. Levy’s most recent book, Facebook: The Inside Story, is the definitive story of the company that connected the world and reaped the consequences. 

Earlier in his career, Levy interviewed Bob Marley and found Einstein’s brain, but not for the same story. He lives in New York City with his wife, Pulitzer prize-winning writer Teresa Carpenter. Photo credit Andrew Levy

Hari Kunzru is the author of seven novels, Red PillWhite TearsGods Without MenMy RevolutionsTransmissionThe Impressionist, and Blue Ruin, which will be published in May. The recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy in Berlin and the Cullman Center at the New York Public Library, he is a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books and writes the “Easy Chair” column for Harper’s Magazine. He lives in Brooklyn and teaches in the Creative Writing Program at New York University. Photo credit Clayton Cubitt