Taking Shortcuts

Hey all. Here’s Digitally Literate, issue #351.

Last week I worked on the following:

Please subscribe if you would like this newsletter to show up in your inbox. Reach out and say hello at hello@digitallyliterate.net.

Is This The Future of Note-Taking? | GPT-3 for Studying and Writing

While at NCTE, Will Fassbender and Brad Robinson presented some incredible sessions on using GPT-3 from OpenAI in your writing. Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 (GPT3) is an autoregressive language model that uses deep learning to produce human-like text. Put simply, you give the machine learning program some starter text, and it generates large volumes of relevant and sophisticated machine-generated text.

I’m not ready to use this for writing blog posts, this newsletter, or other publications. But inject this into my note-taking systems?!?! Absolutely. ˚ʚ♡ɞ˚

The Rise of ‘Luxury Surveillance’

Chris Gilliard (@hypervisible) indicating that surveillance isn’t just imposed on people: Many of us buy into it willingly. These “smart” devices all fall under the umbrella of what Gilliard and David Golumbia call “luxury surveillance”—that is, surveillance that people pay for and whose tracking, monitoring, and quantification features are understood by the user as benefits. 

Hidden below all of this is the normalization of surveillance that consistently targets marginalized communities. The difference between a smartwatch and an ankle monitor is, in many ways, a matter of context: Who wears one for purported betterment, and who wears one because they are having state power enacted against them? 

Keep this idea of surveillance in mind as you buy holiday gifts this year…or think about stories like this.


How Sam Bankman-Fried’s Crypto Empire Collapsed

In less than a week, the cryptocurrency billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried went from industry leader to industry villain, lost most of his fortune, saw his $32 billion company plunge into bankruptcy and became the target of investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department.

On Monday, November 7th, 2022, Sam Bankman-Fried, the chief executive of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, took to Twitter to reassure his customers: “FTX is fine. Assets are fine.”

By Friday of that week, FTX announced that it was filing for bankruptcy, capping an extraordinary week of corporate drama that has upended crypto markets, sent shock waves through an industry struggling to gain mainstream credibility and sparked government investigations that could lead to more damaging revelations or even criminal charges.

This is a big story that will take us some to make sense of. This is important for those that may be interested in…and not interested in cryptocurrencies. More info to come in future issues of DL.


Who’s left out of the learning loss debate?

One of the hot button discussions that we’ve been having as we move on to a post-COVID educational landscape is this idea of learning loss.

As Ron Berger indicates, youth lost a lot (as did we all) throughout the global pandemic. They experienced physical and mental health setbacks. They also sat front and center as families experienced financial strains. And…they also experienced academic setbacks.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor with an excellent long form piece on the school closures, remote instruction, teacher shortages, political battles, and millions of dollars at the root of this problem.


Things could be better

Adam Mastroianni and Ethan Ludwin-Peery studied what might be a fundamental and universal bias in human imagination. People usually think things should be better.

Mastroianni and Ludwin-Perry published this research on Substack and submitted it as a pre-print of their work to PsyArXiv, the free pre-print service for the psychological sciences. They also uploaded and shared all of their data here for your reference. This is all very important so that this work counts as scholarship for academics.

The research suggests that if humans can imagine ways that something could be done better, it must not be good. These judgments are usually based on comparisons that we make about what bad and worse mean. This is important as we think about technologies, relationships, and people.

In addition to the research findings, I’m also interested in how the scholars submitted and disseminated their work. Bravo!!! (๑ò◊ó ノ )ノ


Mozilla’s *Privacy Not Included buyer’s guide

Preparing to purchase some items for loved ones this holiday season?

Use this resource to make smart choices to protect your privacy. Search for products. Read expert reviews. Get tips and tricks.

The SIMPLE Digital Minimalism Guide (for normal people)

In this video, the Robert Creating YouTube channel shares a few tricks to keep your devices clean and minimal and organize your digital spaces.

There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.

Beverly Sills

In literacy education, particularly for developing writers, instructors are looking for the level of desirable difficulty, or the point at which you are working yourself just as hard so that you don’t break but you also improve. Finding the right, appropriate level of desirable difficulty level of instruction makes their capacity to write grow. So if you are doing compensation techniques that go beyond finding that level of desirable difficulty and instructing at that place, then you’re not helping them grow as a writer.

A much bigger story than just students cheating. Sounds more like using machine learning to assist human cognition. ヽ(・∀・)ノ

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