There’s a fresh warning from technology leaders about the impending demise of mankind from AI. But on the other hand folks like Tyler Cowen believe that artificial intelligence will usher in a golden age of civilization. Both sides make good points. I’m not sure what to believe. The stakes are high and there doesn’t seem to be any middle ground in the discussions so far.
All that aside, but also AI-related, I’ve been using the new Photoshop AI generative fill feature. It is absolutely amazing on a technical level. But the implications for photography as we know it are massive. I won’t be using it for everyday processing, and if I do—for some sort of special project—I will label the image as altered by AI. But not everyone will do that. Who knows how it will all work out.
I suppose I could ask an expert, so that’s what I did; I asked ChatGPT. Here’s what it had to say on the subject:
Al-powered retouching has revolutionized the world of photography, offering enhanced efficiency, consistent results, and increased accessibility. However, the implications of using Al in photography retouching go beyond the technical aspects. It is vital for photographers to navigate the ethical considerations and preserve the authenticity of their work. By using Al responsibly and mindfully, photographers can leverage this technology to unlock new creative possibilities while maintaining the integrity of the art form.
Ok, then. Kind of upbeat, even considering the source. Let’s see how that ‘maintaining the integrity of the art form’ thing pans out over time.
Last night I ran across this excellent studio performance by a band from Moscow doing a cover of Chicago’s ironic protest song Dialogue (Part I & II). In this case the two singers going back and forth are from Russia and Ukraine. The video is from 2019 but resonates strongly today, especially since one of the two singers, Serge Tiagnyriadno, is now on the ground defending Kyiv.
It’s budget season in these parts. Boston’s budget is pretty practical. Lots of necessary facility and infrastructure upgrades. Personnel costs dominate. Status quo. That’s not a bad thing. At the State House, despite overflowing coffers, the Governor’s plan for tax relief for for seniors, low earners, renters, and parents of dependent children was put off by legislators. Speaker Ron Mariano told Commonwealth Magazine that those tax cuts “weren’t necessary.”
There were lots of allegations of voting shenanigans investigated after the last presidential election and some were actually found to be legitimate.
Russia is blustering over Sweden and Finland joining NATO, throwing out the threat of moving nuclear weapons closer to the border. As if close to the border is worse.
This is worth reading. It’s depressing… but it’s worth reading.
First the Globe refused to comment on allegations of misleading scientists quoted in a story sponsored by Phillip Morris. But then, after having time to get their defenses together, the paper retorted and now the scientists at the center of the story are unavailable for comment. Welcome to the era of sponsored content and post-journalistic journalism.
Francisco González, founding member of Los Lobos, has died.
Press Watch to the NYT over its editorial on free speech: Shut up.
In the invasion of Ukraine, cyber warfare has been conspicuous by its absence. Or has it? Thomas Rid: “Some of the most consequential computer network breaches may stay covert for years, even decades. Cyberwar is here, but we don’t always know who is launching the shots.”
Kyle Chayka wonders if the cameras on the newer iPhones are just a little too good… so good they’re bad.
Military analysts continue to be surprised at the ineffectiveness of the Russian military. Also, John Ismay writes about how Ukrainian soldiers are using shoulder fired missiles to great effect, notably the NLAW, a British weapon made in Sweden by SAAB.
The Washington Post introduces us to this generation’s much nicer version of Zukerberg and Saverin at Harvard. (Remember when the Globe had the resources and network to source a story like this?)
Peace is something Europeans have been taking for granted. Until now. German Lopez on theEU’s new assertiveness.
Andrei Kolesnikov writes aboutlife in Moscow as sanctions kick in. Many Russians are still in denial. Others blame the West. But it will be hard going back to a Soviet-era economy after decades of “merry global consumption.”
The electric car revolution is coming. But only 8% of the batteries needed for it are produced in the US. China is responsible for 76%. We seem to be at a slight disadvantage.
The Brookline Police Department is in crisis. Union leaders complain that they are being reformed into the ground and micromanaged by elected officials. Danny McDonald reports that a member of one of the two reform task forces promotes moving “toward not needing an armed police force,” which would be municipal malpractice. Meanwhile, criminologists grappling to explain the dramatic rise in murders nationwide are narrowing on three factors: Covid, more guns and policing. In Boston and Brookline murders are down, not up. We have Covid. The guns are out there. That leaves policing as the critical differentiator.
Everyone has a phone camera. But not everyone has a 90’s-era digicam. So if you want to stand out on Instagram, apparently you need to post low quality images taken with a crappy camera.
Getting unemployment benefits out the door when Covid hit was a huge and critical challenge and done mostly successfully. But $2.7 billion in overpayments is a big amount and it won’t be easy to get it all back.
And when it comes to Covid shots, third time’s a charm. Four… is too much.
Evan Allenplays Clarice Starling to Anthony Pledger’s Hannibal Lecter in this strange but beautifully written Globe story.
They probably won’t win in the court of public opinion but public safety unions are pushing back at Mayor Wu’s vaccine mandate. Wu doesn’t appear to be backing down. This battle will likely set the tone for the administration’s upcoming labor negotiations with police and firefighters.
Axios and Google Trends provide a nice visualization of our collective attention span over the past year.
On the Covid front, the numbers are looking bad (21,137!) but there’salso some potentially good news. And this is also interesting: “For most people, an Omicron positive case will feel much more like the common cold, starting with a sore throat, runny nose and a headache,” said an epidemiologist at King’s College in London. Cross off lack of smell and taste from the list of characteristic symptoms.