Phil Christman: “A certain man went down from Athens to Atlanta, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain conservative megachurch head pastor that way….”
Clive Thompson: “The problem is that while we moderns desperately need exposure to nature, it sure doesn’t need exposure to us.”
Oh cool: Journals having to suspend accepting submissions because they’re being overwhelmed by pieces written by LLM bots.
Abraham M. Nussbaum: “We have all become accustomed to the gun violence plaguing our congregate spaces. Comforting each other after another shooting is, sadly, what we all do. I thought again about my daughter’s texted comment. Just stressful day. She, like all of us, has become accustomed to school as a place where school administrators and teachers are shot, where seventeen-year-olds are killed, and where each new day could be another lockdown.”
Taken in 2004 with what was even then a cheap digital camera on a trail on Mount Seymour, above Vancouver. Might’ve been an interesting shot with a decent camera.
“Robot roll call!”
Finished reading: The Spirit of Early Christian Thought by Robert Louis Wilken. I should probably re-read this magnificent book every year. 📚
Rory Smith: “Manchester City has the air of a machine, both in the way the project has been constructed and the manner in which the team plays. It should not be a surprise, then, that it should elicit roughly the same emotional response.”
Here I creep a little closer to what a genuine theology of culture might look like.
But language-only models such as the original ChatGPT are now giving way to machines that can also process images, audio, and even sensory data from robots. The new approach might reflect a more human understanding of intelligence, an early attempt to approximate how a child learns by existing in and observing the world. It might also help companies build AI that can do more stuff and therefore be packaged into more products.
Because that’s the fulfillment of human destiny: more products packaged with more stuff.
Very pleased that my buddy Sara Hendren ( @ablerism ) has joined us here on micro.blog. Check out all the cool stuff she does.
I managed to write a few halting words about Tim Keller.
Charlie Warzel: “When I look at a future dominated by generative-AI tools that are embedded in every nook and cranny of industry, I fear the coming grind. I see inboxes crushed under the weight of robot responses and rapid-generated slide decks. A sea of forgettable, lorem-ipsum emails whose sole purpose is to trigger other robots to reply to their polite, authoritative MBA-speak. I see creative industries strip-mined of their humanity in order to create content at the vertiginous scale of a generative-AI internet.” I think “grind” is precisely the right word.
Glad to see that my buddy Austin Kleon enjoyed my recitation!
Finished reading: The Metaphysical Club by Louis Menand. A brilliant book — I should have read it years ago. 📚
Hit up some used-record stores in Austin today – all these from the 3-dollar bins!
Gary Saul Morson: “The Gulag Archipelago: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, published 50 years ago, was much more than a detailed account compiled from the testimonies of hundreds of people; it was also arguably the 20th century’s greatest piece of nonfiction prose." At the moment I’m thinking that its primary competition for that title is Rebecca West’s Black Lamb and Grey Falcon and Claude Levi-Strauss’s Tristes Tropiques.
I read and annotated that new Tara Isabella Burton essay on postrationalism in Silicon Valley.
From William James’s speech at the dedication of a memorial in Boston to a soldier named Robert Gould Shaw (1887):
The deadliest enemies of nations are not their foreign foes; they always dwell within their borders. And from these internal enemies civilization is always in need of being saved. The nation blest above all nations is she in whom the civic genius of the people does the saving day by day, by acts without external picturesqueness; by speaking, writing, voting reasonably; by smiting corruption swiftly; by good temper between parties; by the people knowing true men when they see them, and preferring them as leaders to rabid partisans or empty quacks. Such nations have no need of wars to save them. Their accounts with righteousness are always even; and God’s judgments do not have to overtake them fitfully in bloody spasms and convulsions of the race.
Currently reading: The Metaphysical Club by Louis Menand 📚
Finished reading: Richard Hofstadter: Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, The Paranoid Style in American Politics, Uncollected Essays 1956-1965 (LOA #330) by Richard Hofstadter. Eerily relevant to our moment. 📚
Tara Isabella Burton’s essay about post-rationalism in Silicon Valley is a vital read.