I'm a citizen of Lexington, Kentucky, the United States, the world, and the digital sphere. Politically, I care about equality (and changing structures to support it), elections (that is, making them more fair and representative), and electronics (or, rather, their impact on society).
I am a believing agnostic in Community of Christ with a (mostly) cherished past as a (mostly) literalist Mormon.
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🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Disinformation Researchers Raise Alarms About A.I. Chatbots - The New York Times'
Important to keep an eye on this. link to ‘Disinformation Researchers Raise Alarms About A.I. Chatbots - The New York Times’
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Conservatives Are Obsessed With Getting ChatGPT to Say the N-Word'
Of all the dumb responses to perfectly legitimate content moderation, this is perhaps the dumbest. link to ‘Conservatives Are Obsessed With Getting ChatGPT to Say the N-Word’
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on '4chan users embrace AI voice clone tool to generate celebrity hatespeech - The Verge'
Why… why don’t we better anticipate better misuses like this? Are technological “progress” and market opportunities more important than these side effects? link to ‘4chan users embrace AI voice clone tool to generate celebrity hatespeech - The Verge’
📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Walkaway, by Cory Doctorow
I bounced pretty hard off of Walkaway a year or so ago, but I recently decided to give it another try. I felt like I needed a boost of hopeful thinking, and I’d seen Doctorow post about the book as being hopeful. Did it ever deliver! Walkaway is hopeful on a nearly religious level, and it was exactly what I needed. The book is not naïvely optimistic but rather tenacious in its belief that we can still make this a better workd.
Doctrine & Covenants feat. Doctorow: An unexpected paired text
As I’ve written elsewhere, I am currently giving Cory Doctorow’s Walkaway another try after bouncing off of it a while ago. Because I bounced off of it so hard the last time, I’m surprised by how much it’s resonating off of me as I give it another go. This past week, I’ve been listening to a lot of Walkaway on top of doing a lot of religious reading: assignments for the Ministry of the Disciple class I’m taking through the Community of Christ Seminary’s Center for Innovation in Ministry and Missino, Gérard Siegwalt’s Reinventing God’s name [La réinvention du nom de Dieu], and various scriptures for today’s liturgical readings.
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'In The End, Trump Will Screw Over Anyone: Including His ‘Own’ Social Media Company | Techdirt'
Welp, all the more reason to leave birdsite behind. link to ‘In The End, Trump Will Screw Over Anyone: Including His ‘Own’ Social Media Company | Techdirt’
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Madison Square Garden's facial recognition policy ignites debate over the tech : NPR'
Glad this story is still getting attention, because it so neatly demonstrates why facial recognition is scary. We shouldn’t tolerate this level of surveillance—by private or public actors. link to ‘Madison Square Garden’s facial recognition policy ignites debate over the tech : NPR’
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'OpenAI Used Kenyan Workers on Less Than $2 Per Hour: Exclusive | Time'
Looks like the job of AI training is as awful as the job of content moderation. link to ‘OpenAI Used Kenyan Workers on Less Than $2 Per Hour: Exclusive | Time’
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Twitter says it’s intentionally blocking apps like Tweetbot - The Verge'
Ah, the kind of answer that only raises more questions. link to ‘Twitter says it’s intentionally blocking apps like Tweetbot - The Verge’
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'CNET Defends Use of AI Blogger After Embarrassing 163-Word Correction: ‘Humans Make Mistakes, Too’'
Here, as with autocorrect and citation managers, my personal opinion is that any human who knows enough to use the tool critically knows enough to do the job themself. Maybe slower, sure, but slower isn’t always bad. link to ‘CNET Defends Use of AI Blogger After Embarrassing 163-Word Correction: ‘Humans Make Mistakes, Too’’
'licensed, not sold, to you'
As I’ve blogged about a couple of times recently, I’m currently reading R. Sikoryak’s Terms and Conditions, a graphic novel adaptation of the 2015 iTunes Terms and Conditions document, which no one ever reads. I was struck (if not surprised) by something stated explicitly in the document, which appears on p. 59 of Sikoryak’s volume: The software products made available through the Mac App Store and App Store (collectively, the “App Store Products”) are licensed, not sold, to you.
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'How ‘radioactive data’ could help reveal malicious AIs - The Verge'
Fascinating read on potential threats posed by AI—and potential solutions. link to ‘How ‘radioactive data’ could help reveal malicious AIs - The Verge’
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Indigenous tech group asks Apache Foundation to change its name | Ars Technica'
Ashamed to admit that until this week, I ’d never really thought about the origins of this name. This seems like a pretty straightforward argument, though, and I can’t think of any compelling reason not to change the name. link to ‘Indigenous tech group asks Apache Foundation to change its name | Ars Technica’
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Public Library Budgets Are Being Slashed. Police Have More Cash Than Ever'
Libraries are perhaps the most important public institution out there. We can’t afford to cut their budgets. link to ‘Public Library Budgets Are Being Slashed. Police Have More Cash Than Ever’
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Mouse Jigglers, Fake PowerPoints: Workers Foil Bosses’ Surveillance Attempts - WSJ'
Hey, look, workplace surveillance doesn’t work. link to ‘Mouse Jigglers, Fake PowerPoints: Workers Foil Bosses’ Surveillance Attempts - WSJ’
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Iran to use facial recognition to identify women without hijabs | Ars Technica'
I’m skeptical of many technologies, most of which I can concede have some real value. In contrast, I have a lot of trouble seeing any value in facial recognition that outweighs the obvious, large-scale harms that can come from it. link to ‘Iran to use facial recognition to identify women without hijabs | Ars Technica’
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'As Elon Fires More Trust & Safety Staff, Twitter’s Moderation Efforts Fall Apart | Techdirt'
Repeat after me: Content moderation is a good thing. link to ‘As Elon Fires More Trust & Safety Staff, Twitter’s Moderation Efforts Fall Apart | Techdirt’
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Chokepoint Capitalism can break you free from big tech and big content - The Verge'
It’s a long interview, so I didn’t read the whole thing, but what I did read made me want to read this book even more. I have a copy, I just need to open it up. link to ‘Chokepoint Capitalism can break you free from big tech and big content - The Verge’
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Researchers Could Track the GPS Location of All of California’s New Digital License Plates'
A good reminder that analog is often better. Digital often benefits others (including bad actors) more than ourselves. link to ‘Researchers Could Track the GPS Location of All of California’s New Digital License Plates’
📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Heike's Void, by Steven Peck
What a weird, profound, and beautiful book. This is a very Mormon novel, and in all the best ways. It takes Mormonism seriously—even literally—but not uncritically. I’d wager that Peck has read Grant Hardy, and my favorite bit in an amazing book is a throwaway joke about farewell expressions in French in a way that only someone who knows and loves the Book of Mormon would do. More than all of that, it is a profound and optimistic (but never naïve) story about redemption knowing no bounds.
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'ChatGPT is enabling script kiddies to write functional malware | Ars Technica'
I’ve been making a real effort to be less pessimistic about ChatGPT, and I imagine this makes a better headline than actual threat, but this is still the sort of thing that makes me wonder about AI. What is missing from our world that ChatGPT fills? And is it worth these increased risks? link to ‘ChatGPT is enabling script kiddies to write functional malware | Ars Technica’
on Epiphany and insurrection
I grew up in a faith tradition that—with the exception of major holidays like Christmas and Easter—didn’t follow the Christian liturgical calendar. So, shortly after I began attending Community of Christ regularly (and, given the circumstances, virtually) in 2020, I decided I was going to learn more all of the seasons and holidays that I wasn’t familiar with. A few months earlier, I’d heard an interview with the Swiss abbot Urban Federer on the Babel podcast by Radio Télévision Suisse.
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'January 6 Report: 11 Details You May Have Missed | WIRED'
Two years later, and we’re still learning just how bad this event was. Only two years later, and large parts of the country are ready to sweep it all under the rug. link to ‘January 6 Report: 11 Details You May Have Missed | WIRED’
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on '531 | Cuppa Joe | Historic Sites Foundation | Divergent Paths of the Community of Christ: The Past One Hundred Years – Project Zion Podcast'
Steve Shields does good work and has an interesting perspective on things. It’s fun to hear from him. link to ‘531 | Cuppa Joe | Historic Sites Foundation | Divergent Paths of the Community of Christ: The Past One Hundred Years – Project Zion Podcast’
📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for A Short Stay in Hell, by Steven Peck
I’ve read this short novella at least four times already, but I received a physical copy for Christmas and couldn’t help but give it another read. Despite being existentially horrifying, it’s one of my favorite books of all time. The protagonist is a Mormon man who dies and wakes up to his surprise in hell. This hell is specifically promised to be finite, but it’s a vast kind of finite: It’s a Borges-inspired library that consists of every possible book (as if written by monkeys on typewriters), and once you find the book that tells your life story, you get out of hell.
Disciples' Generous Response for 1 January 2023
A member of my Community of Christ congregation recently asked if I would lead the Disciples’ Generous Response portion of tomorrow’s worship service (where donations and tithes are collected). I’ve done this for previous services, but more than any other way I’ve contributed to a Community of Christ service, this is the one that takes the most practice. In Latter-day Saint services, there’s never this kind of collection, and this was honestly one of the hardest things to get used to as I began regularly attending Community of Christ services.
on faith transition and letting go of LDS modesty worship
I’ve mentioned before that I support the Salt Lake Tribune’s Mormon Land podcast on Patreon, one of the perks of which is that I get access to the Tribune’s Mormon coverage without having to subscribe to the whole paper (which would be a lot of money for someone who doesn’t care about Jazz coverage or Utah politics). Thanks to this Patreon perk, I read a lot of news about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and between that and over three decades that I spent as an active member of that church, you’d think that nothing would surprise me anymore.
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Musk asks in poll if he should step down as Twitter CEO, users vote yes : NPR'
What a weird week it has been in Twitterland. link to ‘Musk asks in poll if he should step down as Twitter CEO, users vote yes : NPR’
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Twitter abruptly bans all links to Instagram, Mastodon, and other competitors - The Verge'
Just when you thought this couldn’t get any worse. Will be really interested to see if Dorsey gets banned. link to ‘Twitter abruptly bans all links to Instagram, Mastodon, and other competitors - The Verge’