A Particularly Troublesome Cocktail

Welcome to Digitally Literate, issue #361. I’ve been working on some stuff in the background. More to come soon. 🙂

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Timothee Chalamet replaced by Elmo in Dune

Elmo attempts the Gom Jabbar.

The Space Witch is not amused. (* ^ ω ^)

Democracy and Technology: Allies or Enemies?

A special issue of the journal Democracy considers how technology is changing how people engage with the world, and tech’s complicated intersections with democratic values.

I really enjoyed this piece from Alexandra Givens on the possibility of a democratic digital age and Suresh Venkatasubramanian on repairing the algorithmic lens.

Why this matters. With all of these changes happening in technology, we need to look for opportunities to foster human flourishing.

How to Fix the TikTok Problem

As you may have heard, the United States government is again in the midst of a full-on panic about TikTok, the Chinese-owned video app. Julia Angwin points out that banning TikTok won’t keep us safe. Angwin suggests that a better solution would be to pass laws that force all of our tech to serve us better.

For more on this story, read this post from Noah Smith.

Why this matters. As we spend more and more time uploading our lives into these systems, we have little to no control or understanding of how these systems work.

Climate Change Is Speeding Toward Catastrophe. The Next Decade Is Crucial, U.N. Panel Says.

Climate Change Is Speeding Toward Catastrophe. The Next Decade Is Crucial, U.N. Panel Says.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), made up of the world’s leading climate scientists, set out the final part of its mammoth sixth assessment report this week.

Why this matters. The climate timebomb is ticking. But today’s report is a how-to guide to defuse the climate timebomb. It is a survival guide for humanity. – U. N. Secretary General António Guterres

The Age of AI has begun

Bill Gates is thinking a lot about how AI can reduce some of the world’s worst inequities.

Gates provides an overview of how the Gates Foundation views AI, and opportunities to help empower people at work, save lives, and improve education.

Why this matters. Any new technology or advancement is going to elicit some hyperbole and hysteria. This is definitely true with AI. There are many deep discussions that we need to have as a global community. As Gates states, “The Age of AI is filled with opportunities and responsibilities.”

The genie escapes: Stanford copies the ChatGPT AI for less than $600

Stanford’s Alpaca AI performs similarly to the astonishing ChatGPT (GPT 3.5) on many tasks – but it’s built on an open-source language model and cost less than $600 (US) to train.

It seems like Stanford’s researchers took down their Alpaca AI almost as quickly as they spun it up due to ‘hallucinations’ and rising costs.

Why this matters. With the advances in AI, especially the GPT series from OpenAI, it seems like we can do more with less. It’s also important that developers, researchers, and the public try to make sure these technologies don’t get into nefarious hands. It looks like that might be more challenging than we may think.

Auto-generated flashcards to make studying a breeze

Wisdolia is a cool AI-powered browser extension that will allow you to receive question & answer flashcards automatically drawn from text as you read online to help you remember more of what you consume.

Our choices will reverberate for hundreds, maybe even thousands, or years.

Hoesung Lee

Deepak P with a deep post about how ChatGPT copes (or doesn’t) with differences in data densities across topics, and how it treats users. “The confluence of data biases and evidence-free information delivery within an epistemic service that has an anthropomorphized veneer makes ChatGPT a particularly troublesome cocktail.”

Cover Photo CC BY using DALL·E.

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