Subtle Cues

Welcome to Digitally Literate, issue #358.

I posted the following this week:

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Fight the Power: How HipHop Changed the World

Hip-Hop turned 50 this week, and it still looks great.

Fight the Power: How Hip Hop Changed the World is an incredible narrative of struggle, triumph and resistance that will be brought to life through the lens of an art form that has chronicled the emotions, experiences and expressions of Black and Brown communities: Hip Hop. In the aftermath of America’s racial and political reckoning in 2020, the perspectives and stories shared in Hip Hop are key to understanding injustice in the U.S. over the last half-century.

Episode One and Episode Two are now out. Episodes Three and Four are on their way over the upcoming weeks.

Americans Flunked This Test on Online Privacy

Many people in the United States would like to control the information that companies can learn about them online. Yet when presented with a series of true-or-false questions about how digital devices and services track users, most Americans struggled to answer them, according to a report published on Tuesday by the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.

Why this matters. The survey results expose a stark knowledge gap among Americans as the Federal Trade Commission is poised to curb online consumer tracking by companies — or, as regulators have termed it, “commercial surveillance.” Researchers and regulators say apps and sites often use long and sometimes unintelligible privacy policies to nudge people into agreeing to tracking practices that they may not understand.

Why Microsoft’s CEO is ready to take on Google with ChatGPT

This week, Microsoft announced that the next version of the Bing search engine would be powered by OpenAI, the company that makes ChatGPT. There’s also a new version of the Edge web browser with OpenAI chat tech in a window that can help you browse and understand web pages. There’s also rumors that these tools will soon start flowing into Microsoft Office products as well. The interview below (22;13) with Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, is super interesting,

In a related story, Google apparently called a code red to get some sort of AI tool pushed out to consumers. This week Google tried to short-circuit the Microsoft announcement by announcing their tool, Bard, which is built using their Language Model for Dialogue Applications (or LaMDA for short). An underwhelming launch event and an error in an ad put Google and Bard on the defensive and caused Alphabet (Google’s parent company) to tumble by $100 Billion.

Why this matters. I’m looking forward to seeing how Microsoft, Google, and others battle over the coming years in these spaces. I’m not willing to count out Alphabet/Google, but I wasn’t really interested or excited in some of the initial renders of Bard. Still waiting to see what they roll out.

The most important thing to understand is that all of the individuals and groups that are terrified by AI and virtual assistants, and ask for it to be blocked will be circumvented. These tools and products will be modular, and plugged into almost everywhere you connect to the Internet.

At This School, Computer Science Class Now Includes Critiquing Chatbots

Natasha Singer reports on schools asking student programmers to think critically about rapid advances in artificial intelligence by going toe to toe with chatbots and generative adversarial networks.

The aim, these educators say, is to train the next generation of technology creators and consumers in “critical computing.” That is an analytical approach in which understanding how to critique computer algorithms is as important as — or more important than — knowing how to program computers.

Why this matters. It’s important for students to know about how AI works because their data is being scraped, their user activity is being used to train these tools.

In The Age Of AI Search, Will We Still Be Curious?

Great post from Kevin Hodgson that has me thinking over the last couple of days. The post is inspired by a piece by Emily Bender and Chirag Shah titled All-knowing machines are a fantasy. Bender and Shah suggest that the age of AI Chat inside the search algorithms might hinder our curiosity, one of the things that make us human in the pursuit of information.

Why this matters. In one of the posts I shared above, I have been thinking about who made who as we work with AI virtual assistants. As Hodgson suggests, how creativity and serendipity will look in the future?

The Brief, Wondrous Life of Little Leo

This long-form piece by Lewann Babler shares the explorations she and her partner had with their son Leo. When Leo Babler was born with a rare and deadly genetic disorder, his parents reshaped their lives, moving to the mountains, building out an adventure van, and making sure their son experienced the most beautiful wild places in the country during the time they had.

Why this matters. A good reminder about paying attention to subtle cues like tears or smiles and laughter.

You’re as old as your joints

At the start of December, I was in some incredible pain in my right leg for a week or so. I’ve been looking for a reason to spend more time focusing on overall body strength and flexibility. This was it. I continue to ride the Peloton 4 to 5 days a week. But, I also started weight lifting again and I need to continue the following steps:

  • Drink more water
  • Don’t let extra pounds overtax your joints
  • Always warm up and cool down
  • Listen to your body

Because we fail to listen to each other’s stories, we are becoming a fragmented human race.

Madeleine L’Engle

Social media users seem to mostly ignore platform prompts around sharing potentially false or misleading posts, per EU reports cited by Bloomberg. For example, EU TikTok users continued to share 71% of flagged posts, while FB users shared 75%. (ノ≧∀≦)ノ・‥…炎炎炎炎炎炎炎炎

Cover image Ian × DALL·E, CC BY-SA

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