Hello. I used to be a scholar in AI, anti-racism, and religion. Now I'm just some guy who still has a personal website.

Closeup of Will Penman
Current Projects

My hobby projects currently involve web design and ChatGPT prompting:

  • haikus.news - haikus written by ChatGPT every morning based on the day's top stories, with links to the corresponding New York Times articles. I'm delighted by this project. As a user, I enjoy waking up to new haikus. I love having poetry as an intermediary between our normal mode of being, versus the stiff impersonal language of news discourse. At a technical level, I often tweak the prompts to push ChatGPT to its creative limit.

  • Novella generation (in progress) - I've been using my writing teacher skills to prompt ChatGPT to write an entire, "in principle reproducible" novella. The plot is reflexive, in that the main character is an LLM that gains surprising new abilities and then eventually goes back to the way it was. My goal is to make the highest quality novella possible. I began during NaNoGenMo 2023, and have made it through the entire planning process, which has ended up consisting of 60 sequential conversations, where ChatGPT's decision in one conversation is fed into the next decision. My plan is to automate the drafting and spend whatever it takes through the API to get ChatGPT to generate a complete working draft of the novella.

  • How To Prompt ChatGPT Like A Science Writing Pro - A downloadable guide of prompts for students to integrate ChatGPT into their article drafting workflow. (A professional prompting project)

  • Dog Birthday Calculator, created during Covid - My first website to use extensive front-end calculations. It's a fun one-off site that fills a need, since no other site projects out to the future so you can celebrate your dog's "dog birthday." Currently, the site is over-engineered; I intend to scale it back and remove a lot of the customizations.


About

From 2018-2022, I was a Lecturer at Princeton in the Princeton Writing Program. I taught first-year undergraduate students how to design and conduct small-scale experiments about AI and then write about those experiments scientifically. At the beginning of the semester, students' experiments were focused on identifying social bias in GPT-2's output (state-of-the-art open-source LLM at the time). By the end of the semester, students selected their own AI-related research to investigate and write about. These varied by scholarly field and sophistication, but were sometimes extremely successful. For instance, one student, Arti Schmidt, compared algorithms for autonomous drone racing, and then he published it based on his work in my class. Another student, Byulorm Park, studied artists' resistance to AI face detection, and developed a theoretical framework in an independent study with me. Her essay, "Countervisuality for a Gentrifying City Center: Structuring Systems of Surveillance through Architecture," was awarded runner-up in a national research contest meant primarily for Masters students.

Now, I run a small business to coach PhD students on their writing: Composition Coaching. Scientific writing is hard and PIs often aren't trained in writing themselves, so I offer guidance, encouragement, and accountability to help students finish their articles and big projects with less stress.

I also pursue some projects as an independent researcher. My 10+ years of interdisciplinary work from teaching/coaching allows me to be nimble, insightful, very organized, and unafraid to tackle detailed projects.

Before I taught at Princeton, I earned my PhD in Rhetoric at Carnegie Mellon University. I currently live in Pittsburgh with my wife, our son, and our dog.