The Crack Where the Light Comes InRoger Berkowitz
Jaron Lanier is “the godfather of virtual reality.” Always one of the most original thinkers on technology, Lanier takes on the recent obsession about Chat GPT and other “large language models” by arguing, provocatively, that AI does not exist: .”My attitude is that there is no AI. What is called AI is a mystification, behind which there is the reality of a new kind of social collaboration facilitated by computers. A new way to mash up our writing and art.”
A World Arendt Would RecognizeRoger Berkowitz
The Folio Society has just published the first-ever illustrated edition of Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism. This two-volume set includes famous propaganda images and documentary photography from the USSR and the Third Reich and also a new introduction by Anne Applebaum.
The Social Justice SnitchRoger Berkowitz
When Laura Kipnis first read about the downfall of Mark Schlissel, “fired after an anonymous complaint about his consensual though “inappropriate” relationship with a subordinate,” she asked herself: Who was the snitch? Amidst her inquiry, Kipnis considers one particular kind of snitching that is rampant today: The Social-Justice snitch.
The Politics of InevitabilityRoger Berkowitz
In a conversation with Ezra Klein, Timothy Snyder speaks about the politics of inevitability. When pundits and prophets tell us that this or that is going to happen, we are caught up in a means-ends rationality that seduces us to ignore facts that might lead to other conclusions. In such a world, social science analysis can actually influence what happens by making predictions seem inevitable.
Can the Internet be Kind?Tobias Hess
Wordle is a simple daily word game that has captivated the internet's attention and fostered an earnest community of players who obsess and bond over the game's unique challenge. Its creator, Josh Wardle, has had a long career trying to foster online communities that promote collaboration, play and kindness rather than division and hate.
The Independent Legislator TheoryRoger Berkowitz
Zach Montellaro looks at a theory increasingly embraced by Republican state legislators and four Supreme Court Justices that would allow state legislatures to have near absolute authority to determine which candidate for President to award that states’ electoral votes.
David Remnick interviews Stephen Kotkin about Russian History and its influence on Vladimir Putin. He asks, “What is Putinism?” and why do the special characteristics of Putinism lead to the invasion of Ukraine.
What Shall Finally Happen to the JewsRoger Berkowitz
It is widely believed that the Final Solution began in German at the Wannsee Conference led by Reinhard Heydrich, deputy to SS Chief Heinrich Himmler and superior to Adolf Eichmann. Christopher R. Browning argues that the Wannsee Conference was only one step in an often conflicted and unclear Nazi effort to make good on Hitler’s promise to make all of Europe Judenrein, free of Jews.
Peter Maguire reminisces about his time at Bard when his “teachers cared about my education, they did not care about my ego.” Maguire reprints some of the comments he received on the end of term criteria sheets that Bard professors still fill out for every student.
A Decade in a WeekRoger Berkowitz
It was Vladimir Lenin who said, “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” And now it is Vladimir Putin who has punctuated Lenin’s remarks. Our world has changed.