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A worthwhile read by Dan McQuillan: We come to bury ChatGPT, not to praise it. I’ve played with ChatGPT a bit, and it’s kind of cool and interesting, albeit with a lot of obvious flaws, but so many people seem to be enamored of the new, shiny thing—or perhaps the chance to get rich off the new, shiny thing—without considering the harms it can cause.

Commentary that claims ‘ChatGPT is here to stay and we just need to learn to live with it’ are embracing the hopelessness of what I call ‘AI Realism’. The compulsion to show ‘balance’ by always referring to AI’s alleged potential for good should be dropped by acknowledging that the social benefits are still speculative while the harms have been empirically demonstrated.

For the record, I’m not saying we should abandon the technology or take sledgehammers to the servers, just that there should be more attention paid to the ethical implications of its use. (But like that’s going to happen when there’s money to be made.)

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I’ve been playing with Raycast on my Mac and have quickly become a huge fan; it’s seamlessly replaced Magnet and LaunchBar (which are both fantastic pieces of software!) for me.

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I missed this in the swirl of other stuff going last week, but Boeing has delivered the final 747 to roll off the production line. The flight path for the maiden flight of the last “Queen of the Skies” to be built was a nice touch.

A section of the flight path for the last Boeing 747 to be delivered, showing '747' spelled out

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Ben asked “What’s the last book you read and loved?” — for me, Becky Chambers’ The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is the most recent standout… given everything going on in the world right now, the optimism and humanity in her writing is just what I need.

(Although I don’t think “humanity” is the right word when talking about a book with mostly alien characters? 🤷🏻‍♂️)

Posted in reply to “What’s the last book you read and ...

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Filed under No shit, Sherlock—“Americans are increasingly disgruntled at work”.

Of note: Workers who were in jobs that could be done remotely, but were forced to work on-site saw an increase of 7 points in active disengagement.

Is anyone surprised by this? Anyone? Yeah, me neither. (And I say that as someone who actually enjoys the time I spend in the office.)

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I would probably class myself as “metaverse skeptical”… I am not strongly anti-, but I don’t think that the visions coming out of the big tech companies are compelling enough in any meaningful way to gain widespread adoption among non-tech folks, and think that making NFTs a “core component” of whatever the metaverse ends up being is a truly horrific idea. Having said that, I generally agree with the critiques raised in Gian Volpicelli’s article in WIRED, especially this bit:

The idea that everyone wants to make money—and spend money—while playing a video-game surely sounds attractive to the people making those games and selling digital tchotkes; some gamers beg to differ.

There’s a parallel here to the idea of car manufacturers making customers take out subscriptions to use features in the cars they’ve bought. If I’m paying for a game/car, I want to be able to fully utilize that game/car without being nickel-and-dimed to death.

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Setting aside the center-aligned text (🤢), the shipping notification email I received just now leaves a lot to be desired in terms of how informative it is.

Screen capture of an email that reads "Estimated delivery date: soon"

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WTF’ingF? This is bonkers, in the best possible way.

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Interesting comparison of ChatGPT and Claude, two generative “AI” assistants. Definite strengths and weaknesses to both; both appear to be fairly good at reasoning/logic, ChatGPT seems to be stronger at responding to mathematical and coding prompts, and Claude responds a bit more naturally to broader questions.

The bit where they were asked to summarize Lost made me laugh, too:

It appears that, like most human viewers of the show, both ChatGPT’s and Claude’s memory of Lost is hazy at best.

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Oh, shit. 😱

A screen capture of my acceptance into the RBC Brooklyn Half Marathon

Looks like I’m going to need to start running again.

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Whoa! Loving these renders of unbuilt Frank Lloyd Wright buildings by Spanish architect David Romero… The Illinois is just 🤯.

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Excited! Andor is still the high-water mark for non-original-trilogy Star Wars, but I’ve enjoyed the previous seasons of The Mandalorian and am keen to see what direction the story takes.

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I started reading WIRED after stumbling across it in my university library back in the mid 90s, and got myself a personal subscription—which I still have—as soon as I could afford it (the subs used to be expensive, especially in Australia!), so looking through A WIRED compendium by Dave Karpf at some of the highlights is a fun blast-from-the-past experience. Very glad to see my all-time favorite article made the list.

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If you have a MasterClass subscription, I would highly recommend checking out Neil Gaiman talking about J.R.R. Tolkien—as fascinating as the subject matter is, it’s just as much Gaiman’s passion for and reverence of Tolkien that makes this a worthwhile use of 26-ish minutes of your time.

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I used to live not far from this bridge, and also drove under it a half dozen times when I was in Melbourne a couple of weeks ago.

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I’ve just started (re-)reading Nick Earls’ Brisbane Rewound Trilogy (Bachelor Kisses, Zigzag Street, Perfect Skin)… as a kid who grew up in Brisbane in the 80s, pretty much everywhere in these books is somewhere I recognize. It’s a fun little nostalgia trip, but having been in Brisbane recently it’s also more than a little sad to see how much of it has disappeared.

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Jetlagged AF. But on the upside, I used my 3am wake up to finish Becky Chambers’ The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet—I’ve only recently started reading her work, but have become a huge fan pretty quickly.

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Also, while I was home, I went walking on grass with bare feet every day. Can’t remember the last time I did that.

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Heading back Stateside after (a far too quick!) two weeks home in Australia and prepping myself for a larger-than-normal dose of the post-vacation blues… after being away for five years, it was hard to get packed and ready to leave again this morning. And as an added bit of bonus emotional baggage, I have I Still Call Australia Home stuck in my head. 🙄

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I have been in Australia for four days now. I have eaten Vegemite on toast for breakfast five times since getting here (if you count the “second breakfast” I had yesterday).