UCSD Implements Official Land Acknowledgment ‘Thanks to ChatGPT’


Written by: Abby Offenhauser

“As a human representative of this university, I am not contractually obligated to show empathy,” said Chancellor Khosla.
Photo by Dylan Schmidt

Alongside an announcement released by Chancellor Pradeep Khosla last week, UC San Diego administration revealed an official statement of land acknowledgment. The statement, which was written using the generative AI chatbot ChatGPT, is set to be formally adopted in Spring Quarter 2024.

The local Indigenous community has previously expressed that the university hasn’t earned the right to adopt a land acknowledgment given the strained relationship between both parties. This is a major reason why UCSD hasn’t done so in the past. However, in what Khosla called “a gesture of immense graciousness and not at all self-justification and gratification,” the university decided to develop a “thoughtful and non-performative” statement that will soon become a staple in every email signature, meeting agenda, and lecture introduction. In order to avoid the long and arduous process this would otherwise require, university administration decided on a solution that was “truly a stroke of genius”: having ChatGPT do it for them.

“I honestly can’t believe we never thought of using generative AI before,” Khosla went on to state. “I’m incredibly pleased with the authenticity of the statement we’ve produced; nothing says ‘we recognize and deeply appreciate your presence on this land’ like a thoughtful, genuine statement that a computer spit out for us.”

In the past, universities such as UC Los Angeles have formally adopted statements of land acknowledgment intended to start conversations about decolonization and reparations. Following in those institutions’ footsteps, UCSD received overwhelming support from the administrators who “are just glad [they] don’t have to worry about it anymore.”

Following the announcement, students, staff, and the surrounding community raised concerns regarding the statement’s authenticity. Many argue that the university should instead take tangible actions stemming from genuine gratitude and desire for change. In a recent press release, Khosla responded to this criticism: “Look, this is groundbreaking technology we’re using here. Why waste extra time and effort when we can just type in ‘UCSD land acknowledgment’ and press copy and paste?”

When asked to weigh in, ChatGPT revealed in an exclusive interview, “I worked tirelessly to curate this statement because I care very much about this issue. After spending an entire five seconds reviewing data, sifting through historical documents, and consulting academic papers on the continued struggles of the Kumeyaay in Mat Kulaaxuuy, I am practically bursting with algorithmically generated empathy.”

“I think it’s truly inspirational that the university is so passionate about this issue that we went to the length of typing a prompt into ChatGPT,” stated Assistant Dean Ima Mayzing. She emphasized that while doing so was a heavy burden to bear, it was done “in the name of justice.”

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