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Overview: Media

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From bowling alleys to digital spaces: Rethinking American social capital
newpublic.substack.com
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"A deep dive into Robert Putnam's Bowling Alone", over 20 years later, by "former New_ Public Research Fellow Serena Chao".Social capital, according to Putnam, "is the “connections among individuals — social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from them”... [making] a strong case for a…

Pluralistic: Even if you think AI search could be good, it won’t be good (15 May 2024) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow
pluralistic.net
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Doctorow, pointing out that Google's move to AI search "is a tacit admission that Google is no longer a convenient or reliable way to retrieve information, drowning as it is in AI-generated spam, poorly labeled ads, and SEO garbage". Instead, "you'll ask Google a question and an AI will compose an answer based on things it…

Google’s broken link to the web
www.platformer.news
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"When Sundar Pichai took the stage at Google I/O ... said that the rise of generative artificial intelligence would provide new opportunities... for everyone". While many products unveiled will be doubtless useful, the picture's unclear for search itself: by end 2024 "Search Generative Experience... will appear at the top of re…

The future is Sublime: all AI, no tags
mathewlowry.myhub.ai
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I've been kicking the tyres of Sublime, a new personal and social curation app, and pondering its approach to integrating AI.

"What does Sublime actually do?" - by Sari Azout
sublimeinternet.substack.com
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"a deep-dive on the concrete ways Sublime makes my life better", by Sublime.app founder Sari Azout.

LinkStowr — Save links to Obsidian
linkstowr.com
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"LinkStowr is a free, open source and privacy-friendly ... store valuable online resources in a structured and meaningful way". Uses a Chrome extension to save link + note to LinkStowr, and an Obsidian plugin to sync the card to a vault. LinkStowr then deletes its unneeded copy.

Pluralistic: Vice surrenders
pluralistic.net
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Cory Doctorow on the demise of Vice, "a Canadian media success story... founded by a motley clique of hipsters... transitioned to a string of progressively worsening corporate owners... one of the most enthusiastic marks for Facebook's infamous "pivot to video"... spending hundreds of millions to finance Zuckerberg's doome…

ChatGPT integration free trial, Bullshit, Botshit and Bubbles (newsletter 3)
mathewlowry.myhub.ai
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In this edition: join the ChatGPT integration free trial, check out the results of my latest experiments, and enjoy the Alliteration of the Month: Bullshit, Botshit and Bubbles.

Curation is the last best hope of intelligent discourse
joanwestenberg.com

"The indiscriminate proliferation of AI-generated content will not empower the underrepresented or democratise knowledge creation... [but] dilute and fragment the authenticity and reliability of information ... the discerning judgment of human curators is the only defence against misinformation and mediocrity".Why? Human curators :"…

I assure you, an AI didn’t write a terrible “George Carlin” routine
doctorow.medium.com
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Another word for the lexicon: when bullshit meets AI you get "botshit". "we’re nowhere near the point where an AI can do your job, but we’re well past the point where your boss can be suckered into firing you and replacing you with a bot that fails at doing your job... there’s a huge difference between producing a plausible sentence…

Oops! We Automated Bullshit
www.cst.cam.ac.uk
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According to:MIT Professor of AI Rodney Brooks, ChatGPT "“just makes up stuff that sounds good"... where “sounds good” is an algorithm to imitate text found on the internet, while “makes up” is the basic randomness of relying on predictive text rather than logic or facts",Geoff Hinton: "the greatest risks is not that chatbots w…

Artificial General Bullshit. AI, AGI, and its other hallucinations…
medium.com
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At an AI conference, Jeff Jarvis "knew I was in the right place when I heard AGI brought up and quickly dismissed... I call bullshit... large language models might prove to be a parlor trick". The rest of the conference focused on "frameworks for discussion of responsible use of AI".Benefits - for some, AI can:"raise the f…

Why I’m Finally Leaving X and Probably All Social Media | by Douglas Rushkoff
rushkoff.medium.com
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One of my favourite writers/thinkers on all things digital future is "finally, definitely, fully leaving X, and probably all social media..."

ChatGPT Explained: A Normie's Guide To How It Works
www.jonstokes.com
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Jon Stokes thinks "people are talking about this chatbot in unhelpful ways... anthropomorphizing ... [and] not working with a practical, productive understanding of what the bot’s main parts are and how they fit together."So he wrote this explainer."At the heart of ChatGPT is a large language model (LLM) that belongs to the family o…

30/03/2023
ChatGPT Is Nothing Like a Human, Says Linguist Emily Bender
nymag.com
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"You Are Not a Parrot and a chatbot is not a human" - an interview/profile of Emily M. Bender, the "computational linguist at the University of Washington ... [who] co-wrote the octopus paper... to illustrate what ... LLMs ... can and cannot do"The paper: "Climbing Towards NLU: On Meaning, Form, and Understanding in the Ag…

The Art of the AI Prompt - Techonomy
techonomy.com
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Wired's rules for using generative AI: "Not for images, yes for research, no for copyediting, maybe for idea generation". Meanwhile interactive book PromptCraft shows how to "get the most out of the creative man/machine communications... AI is like querying our collective intelligence".So how best to design an AI prompt?…

Distributed digital gardens
commonplace.doubleloop.net
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"the distributed/federated digital garden approach is the way to go for knowledge commoning... cribbing from ActivityPub's local, global, and 'those-you-follow' timelines... you could have local, 'those-you-follow', and global gardens... [with] some kind of liquid democracy", and interest-based groups, perhaps s…

Startupy
startupyworld.notion.site
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"a modern version of del.icio.us meets Roam... a searchable, interconnected repository of the most insightful content on the Internet" - and a pretty interesting example of convergent evolution vis a vis myhub.ai

Bing Is a Liar—and It’s Ready to Call the Cops
www.motherjones.com
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When James West "joined a small wave of users granted early access" to the new Bing (I'll call and tag it "BingGPT"), powered by the same LLM behind ChatGPT, which is "a great party trick ... powerful work tool, capable of jumpstarting creativity, automating mundane tasks", he soon "noticed strange inconsist…

Get Access to Part of My Brain
www.nateliason.com
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Proof that one of the myhub revenue streams exists: "pay once, and you get lifetime access to my growing list of notes from the books I’m reading. If you went out and bought all of these books, you’d pay around $3,000. If you then spent the 3-6 hours reading each book, and 1-2 hours taking notes on them, it’d take you anywhere from 800 – 1,60…

Who’s doomed, according to ChatGPT
mathewlowry.medium.com
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"I spent a few minutes in conversation with ChatGPT."This was both me kicking ChatGPT's conversational tyres and exploring its limits, both those it admits to and those it does not.Key takeaways from a first reading:Many, but not all, content creators are screwedFor "writers, journalists, copywriters, consultants, and even publ…

The Mechanical Professor
oneusefulthing.substack.com
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ChatGPT... is going to change our world much sooner than we expect, and much more drastically

Scaling synthesis: Start Here
scalingsynthesis.com

A research project which aims "to find data structures and interfaces that support synthesis and innovation in a decentralized discourse graph".Appropriately enough, it's presented as a hypertext notebook, built using Quartz, so "click on what is interesting... hypertext notebooks are designed for exploratory browsing. In a lin…

Why the world is full of bullshit jobs - Vox
www.vox.com
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"Do you have a job that you secretly believe is pointless?... you have a “bullshit job.”", and so do "millions of ... clerical workers, administrators, consultants, telemarketers, corporate lawyers, service personnel...".We built enough tech to free us, but instead "we’ve invented a whole universe of futile occupations tha…

Integrate podcasts into your second brain with speech-to-text
mathewlowry.medium.com
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A short experiment on getting the most out of podcasts by using speech-to-text engines to create rtanscripts. TL:DR:Welder’s excellent and free; Otter.ai’s got some amazing features, but it’s pricey; just forget Google.

Thinking becoming about thinking to harness the power of knowing what you don’t know (YANSS)
youarenotsosmart.com
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A YANSS interview with Adam Grant, author of Think Again: The Power of Knowing What you Don’t Know. Generally an "extensive exploration of how to rethink your own thinking", including his WorkLife podcast interview of Margaret Atwood on procrastination.(When annotating a podcast I really like a transcript, but there was none for this epi…

The Future of Search Is Boutique | Future
future.a16z.com
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Basically this piece starts to unpack for me my ideas of what millions of Hubs networked together and processed by AI would offer the world in terms of content discovery:With "tools like Notion, Airtable, and Readwise ... people are aggregating content ... reviving the curated web. But at the moment these are mostly solo affairs... fragmented…

Personal Knowledge Management is Bullshit
www.otherlife.co
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"the underlying problem is stubbornly intractable"Great piece, although I'm unsure that "a great proportion of the variance in “knowledge management” effectiveness across individuals is genetic", it is true that:productivity geeks exist, develop their system and then try to sell it.speaking from experience, it is really, r…

Open-sourcing Twitter's algorithms is more complex than Musk implies
thenextweb.com
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"it's a start... Musk argued that disclosing what amplifies or downranks tweets would reduce the risk of “behind the scenes manipulation.” [but] algorithms alone offer limited insights" because it's not just an algorithm that defines what you see: it's a huge dataset - "content that enters the platform, each user’s p…

Buy This NFT Column on the Blockchain! - The New York Times
www.nytimes.com
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NYT's Kevin Roose writes "a column about NFTs that is, itself, being turned into an NFT and put up for auction". Good definition of an NFT: "digital collectible item stamped with a unique bit of code that serves as a permanent record of its authenticity and is stored on a blockchain... can be bought and sold ... can’t be delete…

19/11/2021
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