Collaborating Authors


Maybe We Already Have Runaway Machines

The New Yorker

Most of us aren't quite sure how we're supposed to feel about the dramatic improvement of machine capabilities--the class of tools and techniques we've collectively labelled, in shorthand, artificial intelligence. Some people can barely contain their excitement. Others are, to put it mildly, alarmed. What proponents of either extreme have in common is the conviction that the rise of A.I. will represent a radical discontinuity in human history--an event for which we have no relevant context or basis of comparison. If this is likely to be the case, nothing will have prepared us to assimilate its promise or to fortify ourselves against the worst outcomes.

What the Doomsayers Get Wrong About Deepfakes

The New Yorker

With that sentence, written by the journalist Samantha Cole for the tech site Motherboard in December, 2017, a queasy new chapter in our cultural history opened. A programmer calling himself "deepfakes" told Cole that he'd used artificial intelligence to insert Gadot's face into a pornographic video. And he'd made others: clips altered to feature Aubrey Plaza, Scarlett Johansson, Maisie Williams, and Taylor Swift. Porn, as a Times headline once proclaimed, is the "low-slung engine of progress." It can be credited with the rapid spread of VCRs, cable, and the Internet--and with several important Web technologies.

Code to Joy: Why Everyone Should Learn a Little Programming – Interview with Michael Littman


Code to Joy: Why Everyone Should Learn a Little Programming is a new book from Michael Littman, Professor of Computer Science at Brown University and a founding trustee of AIhub. We spoke to Michael about what the book covers, what inspired it, and how we are all familiar with many programming concepts in our daily lives, whether we realize it or not. The intended audience is not computer scientists, although I have been getting a very warm reception from computer scientists, which I appreciate. The idea behind the book is to try to help people understand that telling machines what to do (which is how I view much of computer science and AI) is something that is really accessible to everyone. It builds on skills and practices that people already have.

How Queer Is "Frankenstein"?

The New Yorker

When Virginia Woolf wrote this innocuous sentence in "A Room of One's Own," her foundational work of feminist criticism, she opened the door to another field, still decades in the future--that of queer literary criticism. Do not blush," Woolf cautioned her audience. "Let us admit in the privacy of our own society that these things sometimes happen. Sometimes women do like women." Chloe and Olivia are characters in a book that Woolf has invented, a mediocre novel by a writer she names Mary Carmichael. Ostensibly, the women are friends and colleagues, not lovers, but Woolf drops clues for attentive readers. At one point, she interrupts her train of thought to ask for reassurance that Sir Chartres Biron is not lurking somewhere in the room. When she gave her original talks, Biron had recently been appointed the chief magistrate in an obscenity case that had been brought against the publisher of Radclyffe Hall's "The Well of Loneliness," a novel about a girl named Stephen who wants to be ...

How Elon Musk Went from Superhero to Supervillain

The New Yorker

In 2021, Elon Musk became the world's richest man (no woman came close), and Time named him Person of the Year: "This is the man who aspires to save our planet and get us a new one to inhabit: clown, genius, edgelord, visionary, industrialist, showman, cad; a madcap hybrid of Thomas Edison, P. T. Barnum, Andrew Carnegie and Watchmen's Doctor Manhattan, the brooding, blue-skinned man-god who invents electric cars and moves to Mars." Right about when Time was preparing that giddy announcement, three women whose ovaries and uteruses were involved in passing down the madcap man-god's genes were in the maternity ward of a hospital in Austin. Musk believes a declining birth rate is a threat to civilization and, with his trademark tirelessness, is doing his visionary edgelord best to ward off that threat. Shivon Zilis, a thirty-five-year-old venture capitalist and executive at Musk's company Neuralink, was pregnant with twins, conceived with Musk by in-vitro fertilization, and was experiencing complications. "He really wants smart people to have kids, so he encouraged me to," Zilis said.

AI Can't Read Books. It's Reviewing Them Anyway


Now that we've all had experience with large language models, their limitations are all too visible. But their prose doesn't explode in the mind like the words of Jennifer Egan, Emily St. John Mandel, or David Foster Wallace do. Yes they can make music. But Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar are sleeping very well at night. And they sure can summarize history speedily and neatly, but not with the perspicacity of Barbara Tuchman or Ron Chernow.

Meta unveils new text-to-music AI tools to compete with Google's


Artificial intelligence has slowly crept into the music industry, creating viral songs, bringing back our favorite singers' voices from the dead, and even qualifying for a Grammy (sort of). Meta released new AI tools that will make using AI to generate music even easier. On Tuesday, Meta revealed AudioCraft, a set of generative AI models that can create "high-quality and realistic" music from text, according to Meta. Today we're sharing details about AudioCraft, a family of generative AI models that lets you easily generate high-quality audio and music from text. Both MusicGen and AudioGen generate sound from text, with one generating music and the latter generating specific audio and sound effects.

'Death of an Author' Prophesies the Future of AI Novels


The first time I played the tabletop game Fiasco, it wasn't the story my friends and I made that blew me away. It was the realization that I had just experienced the limitless possibilities of collaborative writing, that the novels I loved featured just one way their narratives could have played out. Alice could have transformed the Mad Tea Party into Wonderland's first organic tea shop. Don Quixote could have devolved into a windmill-killer for hire. Later I realized the similarities between tabletop games and ways novelists challenge their narrative choices, from literary constraints to automatic writing to William Burroughs' cutup method.

Catherine Lacey's Provocative Novel in Disguise

The New Yorker

The first thing that you notice about Catherine Lacey's new novel is the lack of a determiner. Nouns float, unhooked from any article. I found myself habitually inserting "The" in the title when the book came up in conversation, that brief sound of specificity, the most common word in the English language and the most wishful. Darkness lifts to reveal a second, nested title page, for a slightly different book: "Biography of X," by C. M. Lucca. Both title pages mention the same publisher, Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Now Available in Audio! 'The Velocity of Information,' Mental Health in Trying Times


MADISON, Wis., April 17, 2023 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) -- David P. Perrodin, Ph.D., collaborates with renowned actor Ben Hauck and audio streaming company Spotify to create the audio version of his book "The Velocity of Information – Human Thinking During Chaotic Times." Utilizing personal interviews and explorations of historical and contemporary events, "The Velocity of Information" gives you an expectation of how both individuals and the masses will behave during different stages of chaos. "This book provides twelve strategies to become more resilient to burnout and increase your survival chances during uncertain times," explains Dr. Perrodin. Released in 2022 in both print and eBook formats, Rowman & Littlefield published The Velocity of Information, which is now featured in distinguished libraries across the globe, including: The Library of Congress, Bavarian State Library in Munich, and The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library. Professional actor and narrator Ben Hauck jumped at the opportunity to narrate the audiobook.