Thursday, July 27, 2023


  A Grazie Sophia Christie essay.  On envy, but many other things 

What ‘Oppenheimer’ leaves out Responsible Statecraft

*Oppenheimer*, the movie

Well, you know how the story ends so there are no real spoilers.  I will say I found about thirty minutes of excellent movie in a three hour experience.  The best material starts when the test bomb goes off.  There is remarkably little about the social, intellectual, or scientific excitement at Los Alamos — a serial Netflix installment would have done a better job with that.  The dialogue is choppy and poor throughout.  Most of all, the movie spends about two hours fleshing out McCarthyite themes in what I found to be a very repetitive and uninsightful manner.  I have seen what — five?? — movies that do the same.  Even Woody Allen did a better job of this in his The Front.  The various male-female relations all seem so hurried.  There was too much music.

So I give this one a thumbs down.  I do like that it forces the viewer to think more about nuclear weapons, and I am sure many people will learn some history from it.  The movie definitely has its uses, but overall I enjoyed Mission Impossible 7 more.

14 free tools: Obscure yet helpful software from Adobe, Microsoft, and more

PC World: “Many of the biggest software makers are known for their expensive, but nevertheless popular purchase programs. Yet many of these companies also offer free software with some surprisingly useful features. Yes, even giants like Adobe and Microsoft. 

This article will introduce you to these mostly unknown free gems. It’s important to note that the free programs from Adobe and Ashampoo are best downloaded via their own software platforms — Adobe Creative Cloud and Ashampoo Connect, respectively — which require you to create an account before you’re given access to the freebies. For even more no-cost stunners, be sure to check out our roundup of the best free software for your PC…”

A computer scientist explains how to tame AI instead. Professor Emilio Ferrara supports the position that removing bias from AI is a laudable goal, but blindly eliminating biases can have unintended consequences. Instead he suggests that bias in AI can be controlled to achieve a higher goal: fairness

Your employer is (probably) unprepared for AI

The Economist [free link] – “Turn your thoughts to the humble tractor. No one quite knows who invented it or when, but all agree that it took a surprisingly long time for such a productivity-enhancing device to make a mark. As late as the 1950s, less than half of American farms reported having the things. Looking at the sluggish rate at which firms adopt new technologies, my colleagues suspect that something similar may one day be said of artificial intelligence. Companies that grasp the opportunities of AI are likely to reap huge benefits; others (and their employees) may be left in the dust. Speculation about the consequences of ai—for jobs, productivity and quality of life—is at fever pitch.

The tech is awe-inspiring. And yet ai’s economic impact will be muted unless millions of firms beyond Silicon Valley adopt it. That would mean far more than using the odd chatbot. Instead, it would involve the full-scale reorganisation of businesses and their in-house data. “The diffusion of technological improvements”, argues Nancy Stokey of the University of Chicago, “is arguably as critical as innovation for long-run growth.”