Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Blues: The Politics of Loneliness

“People often claim to hunger for truth, but seldom like the taste when it’s served up.”
 —George R.R. Martin, author

Martin McDonagh’s Brutalizing The Banshees of Inisherinis bad enough that it has convinced me that I can't trust a large number of film critics - this isn't a matter of taste, I'm convinced these people are actively lying when they say it's a great movie 🍿 
Review: The Banshees of Inisherin is a beautiful and disturbing Christmas gift

Inside the billion-dollar meeting for the mega-rich who want to live forever MIT Technology Review

‘Classifying Aging as a Disease Could Speed FDA Drug Approvals’ The Hill

Meddling Parents Hire Dating Coaches for Their Grown Children Wall Street Journal. I have always preferred getting a root canal to going on a date. Well, except a root canal has permanent physical effects and most dates don’t.

Rear window New Criterion (Anthony L). On Edward Hopper.

Bach’s accidental masterpiece New Statesman 

 You don't miss the water till the well runs dry

Prophets of ChatGPT.  And prophets of @sama.

The Politics of Loneliness

The Bulwark – Social, economic, and technological trends contribute to widespread feelings of isolation—and there’s a role for policy in making things better. by Chris Murphy: “Today’s Americans should be the least lonely in our nation’s history: More of us than ever before live in densely populated parts of the country, and technology offers us more ways than ever before to connect to friends, family, and communities with similar interests. 

But evidence from psychology and sociology show rising levels of aloneness (having fewer social contacts) in recent decades, and high levels of loneliness (feelings of isolation) as well, with disturbing spikes in the last few years during the COVID-19 pandemic. How can we feel lonelier in a world where connection to other human beings now requires only a click of a button? How can we feel isolated when linkage to the outside world is delivered via nonstop handheld stimulus? 

Connection is everywhere, and yet loneliness persists—and in certain subsets of the population grows worse, leading some observers to call the problem an “epidemic.” They are right to do so: It is an epidemic. The true cost of American loneliness is both hidden and insidious, and it’s time policymakers started taking this problem seriously. There is a complicated array of explanations for the increasing isolation of Americans—many of them exacerbated by the pandemic—but two factors stand out as demanding the attention of political and policy leaders. 

They would come as a dispiriting surprise to those who built the modern neoliberal American order of the last fifty-plus years and hoped that it would create an interconnected, interdependent culture driven by advances in technology and ever-expanding global markets.”

iai news: “The idea of an all-knowing computer program comes from science fiction and should stay there. Despite the seductive fluency of ChatGPT and other language models, they remain unsuitable as sources of knowledge. We must fight against the instinct to trust a human-sounding machine, argue Emily M. Bender & Chirag Shah. Decades of science fiction have taught us that a key feature of a high-tech future is computer systems that give us instant access to seemingly limitless collections of knowledge through an interface that takes the form of a friendly (or sometimes sinisterly detached) voice. 

The early promise of the World Wide Web was that it might be the start of that collection of knowledge. With Meta’s Galactica, OpenAI’s ChatGPT and earlier this year LaMDA from Google, it seems like the friendly language interface is just around the corner, too…”

  1. How technology plays a role in changing morality — Jeroen Hopster (Utrecht) talks with John Danaher (University College, Galway) about “Pistols, Pills, Pork and Ploughs”
  2. “To say that it is the destiny of antelopes to be torn apart by predators is like saying that it is the destiny of women to be raped” — Martha Nussbaum on human stewardship of the animal world (may require free registration)
  3. Classic classics — the classics site Antigone asks 40 writers and readers for their favorite ancient Greek and Latin texts
  4. How to mug Jeremy Bentham — a dialogue by Johan E. Gustafsson (Texas)
  5. Philosophy is the top major at Cambridge — in terms of average number of total sexual partners per student, according to Varsity
  6. “At that time, the first half of the seventeenth century, it was still a reasonable project for one man to have the idea that he can lay the foundations of all future science” — Bernard Williams talks with Bryan Magee about Descartes
  7. “Whatever story you tell about yourself, however simple and straightforward, there is endlessly more to your actual life” — don’t treat your life as a project, advises Kieran Setiya (MIT)