Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Opinion AI onions 🧅


“Let's think the unthinkable, let's do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.” - Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (The Netflix series )


Almost a Decade Old - Malchkeon has been with Dendy for twenty years and thirty years with Tony’s Palace Cinemas 

Kinos are entertaining




At 68, Beard has lately taken compulsory retirement from 40 years of teaching classics to undergraduates at her Cambridge college; now she is concentrating full time on illuminating the ancient world for the rest of us. In the days before we meet, I’ve been catching up on her required-reading blog, A Don’s Life. In it she uses the example of Marcus Licinius Crassus, one of the despised super-rich of the first century BC, to examine Nadhim Zahawi’s shocking tax affairs; she has compared the response to a devastating earthquake on the Turkish/Syrian borders 2,000 years ago – the emperor Trajan ploughed central funds into improved rebuilding schemes – with the planning failures of the recent disaster; and she has examined the Scottish prisons controversy in light of Roman attitudes to incarceration. In a world defined by what she calls “presentism”, a blinkered obsession with the here and now, Beard offers a spirited, repeated reminder that there is nothing new under the sun.

That is the message of a series of short filmsshe has just made for schools, which open up for teenagers “culture war” questions of free speech. Beard has lived on the frontline of that conflict for some time – cheerfully strapped to the mast as she navigates those rough seas between outrage and woke. “I don’t think university campuses are quite the nightmare of terror some newspapers want to make them,” she says. “But I think, too, it is probably easier for teachers to talk to kids about Socrates than about [social media]. He may have died 2,500 years ago, but it turns out he had quite a few of these ideas worked out. If you can encourage kids to think about the issues historically you have made a start. The ancient world can be a classic safe space.”

 Mary Beard: ‘Everyone is policing everything, and the left are just as bad as the right’


Washington Post: “…editing tools powered by algorithms and machine learning models have made scrubbing these things out of pictures almost shockingly easy. In some cases, all it takes is a few taps on a screen, and at their best, these tools produce images that look pretty true to the moment. But here’s the catch: these tools don’t always produce picture-perfect results, so expect to see your fair share of blurry bits and surreal geometry. 

There are a handful of options you could easily get started with, each with their own quirks. We’ve put together a list of a few you may want to try for yourself, and to really get a sense of how well they work, I ran Coy’s photo of Veronica on the shore through each of them. Here’s how these tools work and how much you can expect to pay if you want to algorithmically touch up your own, almost-perfect photos…”



DEMOCRACY REPORT 2023 #Defiance in the Face of #Autocratization. “Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) produces the largest global dataset on #democracy with over 31 million data points for 202 countries from 1789 to 2022. Involving almost 4,000 scholars and other country experts, V-Dem measures hundreds of different attributes of democracy.

 V-Dem enables new ways to study the nature, causes, and consequences of democracy embracing its multiple meanings. THE FIRST SECTION of the report shows global levels of democ- racy sliding back and advances made over the past 35 years diminishing. Most of the drastic changes have taken place within the last ten years, while there are large regional variations in relation to the levels of democracy people experience. The second section offers analyses on the geographies and population sizes of democratizing and autocratizing countries. In the third section we focus on the countries undergoing autocratization, and on the indicators deteriorating the most, including in relation to media censorship, repression of civil society organizations, and academic freedom. While disinformation, polarization, and autocratization reinforce each other, democracies reduce the spread of disinformation. 

This is a sign of hope, of better times ahead. And this is precisely the message carried forward in the fourth section, where we switch our focus to examples of countries that managed to push back and where democracy resurfaces again. Scattered over the world, these success stories share common elements that may bear implications for international democracy support and protection efforts. 

The final section of this year’s report offers a new perspective on shifting global balances of economic and trade power as a result of autocratization.”


Opinionate.io

Opinionate.io – Let AI debate your own topic or press Generate topic. Two debaters and a moderator. You indicate how many arguments each debater should present. I posited, “why should the abortion pill be available at all pharmacies in America?” The arguments were cogent and well articulatedWe