Links and Best of Twitter, 12/9
AI breakthrough, the rarity of talent, MAGA responds to me, and more
For those who missed it, Rob and I discussed The White Lotus this week. We’ll be back next week to talk about the season finale. Also, we’re recording an episode on The Shield with Marc Andreessen soon. You won’t want to miss that.
Here’s my conversation with Michael Tracey last night.
Emotionally, the most important thing that has hit me this week is the unveiling of ChatGPT, which brings home the point that a lot of smart people think we’re all doomed before long and there isn’t much we can do about it. I’m considering dropping everything else to work on this topic. In the mean time, here’s Sam Hammond on some of the interesting implications of AI for American governance. Gary Marcus says that all ChatGPT is doing is putting words together based on their connections elsewhere and it doesn’t understand anything in any real sense. He links to his own previous article on the limits of modern AI research, which argues for switching from an exclusively neural network approach to one that combines it with symbol manipulation.
Scott Greer, a MAGA-leaning conservative, responds to my piece on conservative oppositional culture. I respond here and here. Of course you can point to scams and fake news on the Left, but the question is prominence and how important such things are on each side. You can’t really compare Occupy Democrats and that weird Dash Dobrofsky kid to Trump and Hannity.
1. Apple delays the release of its self-driving car until 2026. It’s only going to be completely self-driving on the highway, when it originally was meant to not even include a steering wheel and pedals. Had no idea that Apple even saw this as achievable. Looks like the tech for self-driving cars is getting there? Will we even have commutes in ten years? People say self-driving technology is moving slow, but this seems fast for anyone who hasn’t been paying much attention to this space and didn’t get their hopes up.
3. Secret Russian state polling shows the public is becoming less likely to believe the war was a good idea or say it is going well, but more likely to believe that they should stay the course.
4. Russian ad declares men who leave cowards for not fighting in Putin’s war, demonizing them as bankers who don’t help old ladies pick up their groceries but instead crush their oranges as they drive off to safety.
Relatedly, Lavrov on gender neutral bathrooms. As a result of the war, Russia seems to be becoming more anti-gay faster than Ukraine is becoming pro-gay, making the conflict a net loss for gayness worldwide.
5. Yglesias on what he learned founding Vox. I can relate to the point that talent is limited. CSPI does talent recruitment on a smaller scale, and there aren’t many Hananias, Lemoines, etc. One of my beliefs is that a lot of people who are brilliant are wasting away in academia, and it would be good to bring them into the public sphere. I’m against people trying to become professors, at least in the social sciences, not only because of the political bias of universities or whatever, but because making it in academia requires brains and a strong work ethic, and if you have those qualities and are interested in ideas, there are limitless opportunities out there and we need you in the real world.