'Twelve Rules for Life'
By Jordan fucking Peterson
Which, if I remember correctly, is about
Keeping your room tidy, whilst being a dick about it.'


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Dear colleagues, please keep an eye on German academia. The German gov proposes to slap down the postdoc period from 6 to 3 years. Wo didn't make tenure will most likely be unemployed and unemployable afterwards. The outrage is far louder on twitter. We need your support.

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This article, ostensibly a printer recommendation, is actuality a perfect expression of the zeitgeist.

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Welp here we fuckin go. GPT-4 is launched.

Back in the run-up to this release, four whole days ago, a bunch of people were talking over on the birdsite about their reactions to the pronouncements of those who'd gotten beta access, and MSFT's own discussions of what they believed it was going to be like.

Everybody in the gpt-4 trend was talking about how much faster it's reported to be, how many more things it can supposedly be applied to, all while blithely glossing over the fact that MSFT itself said that it is *Still Very Often Wrong* (rockingrobots.com/gpt-4-to-be-).

And that? That is the problem with our technoculture, in a nutshell.

And today, as seen in the image below, we have have these just… incredible scenes, live from OpenAI's GPT-4, where, when Chris Nicholson asked GPT-4 to give him a syllabus and mnemonics for learning Spanish pronunciation, not only did GPT-4 *Get Most Of The Pronunciations Wrong*, but— and I genuinely do not know which of these is worse— *the New York Times Reprinted The Exchange Without Calling This Out*.

I just… Holy shit y'all.

And then add to ALL of that the fact that MSFT just laid off their entire "Ethical A.I." team, in favour of their increasing the workload and making increasingly nebulous the remit of their "Office of Responsible A.I." And they did this right before this the GPT-4 release announcement went wide, specifically citing the pace of development as the reason they were laying their ethicists off (gizmodo.com/microsoft-ai-ethic).

Let me say that again:

Microsoft is laying off their whole "ethical A.I." team specifically BECAUSE they are increasing the range of integrations of their "A.I." tool throughout their *Widely-Used-By-The-U.S.-Government* product ecosystem.

…Which tells me they woefully misunderstand both "Ethics" and "A.I."

I mean this is damn near beyond parody at this point. If I were going to craft a list of shit to absolutely NOT DO in a time like this, it would look pretty much exactly like what OpenAI and MSFT are doing, right now.

Things are about to get real bad, real fast, and you can feel free to quote me on that.

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Spotify: 25000 people listened to your album, we’ll never tell you who they are and how they found you! Here’s $1.74.

Bandcamp: 30 people bought your album and left a comment! Here’s $250.

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If I could change one thing about the way we talk about copyright, it would be to replace "protected" with "encumbered," at least in the library context. An out-of-print book from 1950 with a dead author and a defunct publisher is not "protected" by copyright; it's encumbered. 60-year-old newspaper articles, 10-year-old political ads, on and on - vast swaths of in-copyright material with no commercial life but some remaining intellectual value aren't protected by copyright. They're encumbered.

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I have a theory that, while LLMs (Large language models, like ChatGPT) don't really reflect how most people think, reason, and write

However, they do reflect how VCs tend to think, reason and write: they don't actually understand what they are saying or what they are doing, and their abilities are largely an illusion based on a mix of having a staggering number of resources at their disposal, and also on vacuuming up other people's work and claiming it as their own

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'We will stop at literally nothing, including rendering our infrastructure completely unusable and inaccessible, to protect our university’s digital resources.' 🙃


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"I" before "E," except when your foreign neighbour Keith receives eight counterfeit beige sleighs from weird feisty caffeinated weightlifters.

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#aiethics #nlp If you want to read ONE book about AI ethics, I recommend: "Automating inequalities", by Virginia Eubanks. She led a very thorough study of the impact of 3 systems (mainly predictive) used in the US (child-care, housing, etc). She also provides some recommendations on what to do/not to do when you decide to develop such a system. My advice: don't.

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A new study about seabirds and offshore wind turbines may surprise you.

A two-year, €3 million study of seabirds at an offshore wind farm off Scotland combined radar data with cameras to identify the species of seabird and create a three-dimensional image of birds’ flight patterns and how they avoid offshore wind turbines’ rotor blades.

The study’s findings: Not a single collision between a bird and a rotor blade was recorded.


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Extremely minor accomplishment today:

I got the journal Philosophy of Science to change the nationality option of "Taiwan, Province of China" to "Republic of China (Taiwan)". It's not my preference, but it's better.

Thanks to the journal for their prompt response.

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It’s late and probably too long, but I’ve submitted my Cambridge Element ‘Probability and Inductive Logic’. Get in touch if you’d like to read the draft.

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“The reason most public transportation is seen as ‘losing’ money is precisely because it charges for trips. If you don't charge fares, suddenly it can't ‘lose’ money. It just costs money, the same as the roads.”

This random comment has given me my new favourite argument for removing fares from public transit.

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