Category Archives: Technology

Readings: Carl Sagan; Maggie Jackson

A 1987 Carl Sagan lecture, just published in 2022, about the protocols of science and government and the need to acknowledge uncertainty; A NYT opinion piece by Maggie Jackson about uncertainty and how to manage it; R.E.M.’s “Leave” Quillette, Steven … Continue reading

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Household and Hospital Matters

About Donald A. Norman and a mysterious error message on our stove the other evening; About a mysterious message on our TV, another problem solved by Google; About a hospital visit that didn’t go well.

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Moving Toward One Kind of Science-Fictional Future

Working from home vs. commuting, a slow social trend we thought might be temporary, but which may be inevitable, and for the good. I have a laptop connected to two big monitors, but otherwise this photo is apt. My cat … Continue reading

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Red Herrings, and AI’s effect on Capitalism

Two items today How Big Oil uses “red herring” issues to deflect attention away from the big issue Ted Chiang on the potential corrosive effect of AI on capitalism Plus, a brief reflection on the SF writers who’ve had things … Continue reading

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Theory of Mind, UFOs, and Music

Three items today. Do Chatbots have a “theory of mind”? Probably not. Why fascination about UFOs has lingered; my own brief fascination with them when I was 13; and David Brin’s current take on them; How music does not “mean” … Continue reading

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Another Chatbot Shoe Drops

The latest about chatbots, why they would be biased one way or another, and how there is now a conservative version of them; and recalling Conservapedia. Our story so far:

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Harari on the Dangers of AI

Also: reflecting on Arthur C. Clarke and John Brockman, wondering if there is a permanent limit to human cultural education. NY Times, Yuval Noah Harari, Tristan Harris, and Aza Raskin, 24 March 2023: You Can Have the Blue Pill or … Continue reading

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SF and AI in MSM

Items about Isaac Asimov and AI, Adrian Tchaikovsky and octopuses and AI, SF magazines and AI-generated stories. The Atlantic, Jeremy Dauber, 3 Mar 2023: What Isaac Asimov Can Teach Us About AI, subtitled “The science-fiction writer imagined artificial intelligence—and what … Continue reading

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More About the 747

For decades the Boeing 747 was the largest passenger airliner in the world, and it debuted (in 1968) just a few years before I had occasion to take a plane flight anywhere, or pay attention to different kinds of planes. … Continue reading

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Optimism about Science and Tech, Alternative Math, and Political Topics

Another optimistic take on part of current affairs (not politics). Plus: alternative math, and political items.

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