Some level of mainstream machine learning has been present in the lives of ordinary folks like you and me since iPhoto first did facial recognition well over a decade ago. Other AI or AI-like tech has become increasingly pervasive, but quite limited. Now, a flood of “experience this now” machine learning is drowning out past years’ “imagine if this were just a bit better” tech. Two tools to utilize such tech are worth your attention right now.
I remember a number of years ago, I was working in a storage warehouse at the university I was teaching at with one of my work study students. We were going through boxes trying to find something when a storm came through. We didn't even know there was a storm because there weren't any windows — we were completely dependent on lightbulbs for light. And then those lights went out. And it was dark. It was really dark.
The Zippy Crew speeds through a bunch of sports related topics — including the return of baseball — and then turns to the “He Gets Us” campaign, the Asbury Revival and controversy around the old praise song “Above All.”
Today is Ash Wednesday, the start of the season of Lent. Countless Christians around the world will receive ashes in the shape of a cross on their forehead to mark the beginning of this time of reflection and repentance. Yet, for those who do not observe the season, this can look an awful lot like legalistic rule keeping or, even worse, an attempt to receive outward praise for superficial humility.
Early in the baseball season last year, I heard a curious commercial on the radio. It was talking about a man rejected by his friends and suddenly ended with “He Gets Us. All of Us.” A few more airings and I realized it was a series of ads about Jesus, describing how his experiences on earth were like our own. Like Jesus Himself, the ads have managed to anger a wide variety of different folks. Jesus gets us, but once again, we struggle to get Him.
I’ve been on Facebook since 2006 and Twitter since 2009. I decidedly don’t quit social networks because I decide this or that moderation policy isn’t leaning in my political direction. But, as of a week ago, I joined the push for a relatively new alternative social network, Mastodon, and I hope you will too.
I’ve never lost the excitement of snow days. Remember anxiously anticipating the moment when school was called off thanks to that wonderful, fluffy white ice of freedom? Though “inclement weather” may do little to change my obligations now that class schedules are a distant memory, there’s still nothing like the feeling of being snowed in.
The AI revolution is a threat for artist and information gatherer alike. Like a speeding train, machine learning threatens to disrupt the work of a huge number of workers, and thus the “R” word has started to appear with increasing frequency: regulation. Such does not bode well for the futures of any of us.
My good friend and fellow OFB writer Dennis E. Powell and I met years ago on a group that championed Free/Open Source software, much for the same sorts of reasons he advocates for his new phone configuration over Apple’s offerings. OFB itself was founded, in fact, to promote such open software, especially Linux, so why would I defend locked down systems from Apple? That’s a story that started 19 years ago, before the iPhone even existed.
Most people love to revisit certain stories at Christmastime. In fact, my friend Dennis E. Powell revisits a beloved Christmas story of his in this week’s the View from Mudsock Heights column, which struck me as I had been thinking a great deal about revisited stories this week thanks to what had occupied my time ahead of Christmas. We need to hear stories told and told again; they give meaning and shape how we understand life.