AI and the future of humanity

The question posed to me was whether there’s cause to be optimistic about AI. My answer is that that’s an oversimplification almost to the point of farce. To be clear, I’m not anti-AI. Also to be clear, I am talking about AI in the classic sense, rather than the kinds of algorithmic “intelligence” that get so-labeled today. I am referring to a genuinely creative machine … Continue reading AI and the future of humanity

Babylon Eternal

“The Bible tells us that after the kingdom of Solomon was divided and so fell to the Babylonians, the author of the prophetic Book of Daniel was taken captive, along with a number of other Hebrew youths from many notable families — hostages you might say, to insure against future revolt. They were sent to study the Babylonian sciences — what the Hebrews called ‘the black arts’ — under King Nebuchadnezzar … Continue reading Babylon Eternal

The link between digital art and hegemony

This is “Splash goat” by Zhelong Xu. It’s not pottery. It’s computer generated. It was made by a Chinese artist and it beautifully illustrates how easy it will be to fake just about everything. I expect forgery will make a comeback, only rather than forging “lost” works of art, talented artists will be paid by nation-states, media outlets, and criminal syndicates to forge reality itself … Continue reading The link between digital art and hegemony

In the Beginning: a very short history of religious thought

It starts with a crisis, the singular belief that defines the religious history of our species: that this world, full of suffering, where the race does not go to the swift nor food to the hungry, cannot be all there is. That there must be something more. So it is, the divine singularity, the unity of creation, shatters. And mankind is left separated from the … Continue reading In the Beginning: a very short history of religious thought

Understanding Our Century: How We Got Here (in two short acts)

Originally posted on Serum:
The American Presidency is a fascinating institution and one that has grown and changed over its two-and-a-quarter centuries. Like any complex social phenomenon, it has both manifest and latent functions. We all learn in school, for example, that the president is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, as specified in the Constitution, but did you also know he is the chief… Continue reading Understanding Our Century: How We Got Here (in two short acts)

What do you call the end of the end? (the world since the Cold War)

I think a lot of the angst in the English-speaking world, from Trump to Brexit and everything in between, comes from the disillusionment that inevitably followed the unwarranted optimism of the early 21st century, by which I mean since 1989. For those who don’t follow history, generally scholars divide the modern era into a long 19th century, stretching from the French Revolution to the end … Continue reading What do you call the end of the end? (the world since the Cold War)

I’m in love with Schrödinger’s cat

While this is taken from the philosophy of G.W. Leibniz, it represents a kind of late-medieval/early-modern periodic table, with the four elements at the cardinal directions, and the four states between, along with their relations. What’s interesting is that we still believe in binary relations (attract or repel) and four fundamental states of matter; we just call them liquid, solid, gas, and plasma rather than … Continue reading I’m in love with Schrödinger’s cat

Why I don’t argue on the internet

Here the women met them, swords and axes in their hands, and with hideous shrieks of rage tried to drive back fugitives and pursuers alike, the fugitives as traitors, and the pursuers as foes; they mixed themselves up with the combatants, with bare hands tore away the shields of the Romans or grasped their swords, and endured wounds and mutilations… I recently discovered this quote … Continue reading Why I don’t argue on the internet

There’s No Writer Better Than You

There’s no objective ranking of writers, despite that it subjectively feels as if there is. I’ve probably had three conversations in the last nine months or so about this. I have strong feelings about it, to the point that I’ve probably come across way too strong. But it’s true. We all like what we like, of course, and don’t like what we don’t, and sometimes … Continue reading There’s No Writer Better Than You