Month: October 2023

  • Capitalism Cannot Save the Internet

    There is a very good article in the MIT Technology Review that discuss how to fix the internet. The theme is a bit of a misnomer, as the “fixing” portion of the article is both wrong and very short. But the piece does do a good job of highlighting the internet’s original sin: personalized advertising.…

  • It Is Not Your Duty to Lay Down and Die: A Review of Blood in the Machine

    Blood in the Machine by Brian Merchant is an excellent book that everyone should read. Readers of my reviews know that I tend to be picky in my evaluations, highlighting the good and the bad. And this book is not perfect (I will get to its minor flaws), but it is as close to required…

  • In perhaps the least surprising news ever, Cruise, the automated vehicle arm of General Motors (though GM apparently grants it great deal of autonomy) was caught lying to regulators about a serious accident. A Cruise vehicle dragged a pedestrian it could not avoid running over for about twenty feet. Cruise didn’t show the entire vide…

  • The Two Naomis, Liberals, Leftists, and Killing Mockingbirds

    Namoi Klein has had a weird couple of years. She has been constantly confused for Namoi Wolf, a former feminist who has gone, not to put too fine a point on it, cuckoo for coco puffs. There is hardly a right-wing conspiracy theory that Wolf has not embraced, from COVID denialism to Qanon. Klein has…

  • There is No “Tech” to be Optimistic About

    It looks like we are going to do another round of “tech will save us, if you let rich people do what they want!” nonsense, and it is all so, so tiresome. The latest trigger for this is Marc Andreessen’s five thousand word Reader’s Digest version of Atlas Shrugged Techno Optimist Manifesto. It is nothing…

  • The Classics are Just Books, Meant to Be Read First

    Not going to be a ton of material this week, as I am travelling, but a bit of a kerfuffle on the twitter machines caught my eye. There are people suggesting that they read fan fic instead of classics because fan fic is meant to be enjoyed and classics are meant to be studied. Now,…

  • The NHL Wants to Be For Bigots, Not Everyone

    The NHL has banned players from using Pride colored stick tape as part of its new policies to attempt to keep controversy from its game. (For non-hockey fans, players wrap portions of their hockey sticks in tape to improve their grip and comfort when holding the stick). This is bigotry, pure and simple. Until last…

  • The Future of AI Assistants is Lies for Free, Money for Trurth

    The Washington Post highlights that Alexa is telling lies about the 2020 election. If you ask it about election fraud, it will lie to you and tell you that the election was stolen and that there was unprecedented fraud. It does this because it uses for sources conservative and alt-right news sources such as random…

  • The Moral Culpability of Tesla

    The Washington Post has an excellent article about a crash involving Tesla’s autopilot. It is astonishing and depressing to me how much we have allowed Tesla to escape accountability for their actions. It is clear from reading the article that Tesla deliberately attempts to make people believe that their autopilot is safer than the evidence…

  • Lighter and more self-indulgent fare today. It is no secret that I am a failed, in the sense of not being successfully published or agented, writer. While writing this commentary on how imitative AI can be detrimental to culture at large, I mentioned that my fantasy writing has a tendency to be deeply influenced by…