Virtual Talk with Maximilian Weber


In November 2022, the release of ChatGPT and other large language models (LLMs) marked a new era in the widespread use of artificial intelligence and natural language processing applications. In my presentation, I'll explore how the discourse surrounding LLMs evolved following the release of ChatGPT, which had been a topic of discussion in both traditional and social media. While some individuals lauded the benefits of LLMs, others raised concerns about potential negative impacts, such as spreading false information, perpetuating biases, affecting the job market, and compromising privacy. This raises the question of how social and traditional media discussions evolved after the launch of LLMs to a wider public and whether they were addressed differently by different news outlets and different social groups regarding a positive or negative manner. In addition to the primary research question —Which factors affect perceptions of the risks associated with NLP technologies in social media posts and traditional media? — the talk addresses several other key questions reading the associated potential risks with the widespread adoption of LLMs in society.


Maximilian Weber studied Sociology and Computer Science in Darmstadt, Toulouse, and Frankfurt. He holds a Master’s degree in Sociology from Goethe University Frankfurt and a Master’s degree in Computer Science from TU Darmstadt. In February 2023, he defended his dissertation in Sociology at Goethe University. In his dissertation, he focused on social stratification and text-as-data methods. He combined these two areas by analyzing how the form and content of written individual future perceptions vary by social positions, e.g., (parental) social class, (parental) educational level, and gender. In addition, he examined how written language use in childhood is related to later educational attainment by conducting predictive modeling. In the context of applied text-as-data methods, he has also conducted research using tweets, group messages, and documents from educational institutions. In this work, various social science questions are addressed and answered through the use of natural language processing (NLP) techniques. Currently, he is a visiting fellow at the European University Institute.

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