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.”
The Hazard of Public LettersRoger Berkowitz
The editors at the Journal of Free Black Thought asked John Wood Jr. to sign a public letter “The Letter of Dream Coalition 828” to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech. Wood Jr. declined and this has led to an exciting and thought provoking exchange between Wood Jr. and the lead author of the letter Andrew Gutman.
Reconciliation and Justifying the WorldRoger Berkowitz
The locution “Amor Mundi” was Hannah Arendt’s shorthand for the effort and at times the failure—but above all the ambition—to learn to love the world as a gift of fortune in spite of the evil and tragedy that inform that world. In Arendt’s writing, the question of how and whether to love the world goes by the title reconciliation.
Pay AttentionRoger Berkowitz
Elliot Holt picks a poem on the first day of every month and reads it every day that month. He reads it aloud. Often he memorizes the poem. For Holt, this daily meditation on the same poem for a month allows him to move from reading the poem to embodying the poem.
Diversity MathematicsRoger Berkowitz
Three leading mathematicians Percy Deift, Svetlana Jitomirskaya, and Sergiu Klainerman argue that the United States is falling behind in mathematics and other fields in large part because of its rejection of a pedagogy based on merit. The three mathematicians embrace efforts to improve math education for all and claim that this is the best way to support non-immigrant black and hispanic citizens.
Institutional ValuesRoger Berkowitz
James Kirchick writes about Matthias Döpfner, the CEO of the German publisher Axel Springer, who recently ordered that the Israeli flag be flown for a week at corporate headquarters in solidarity with both Israel and European Jews after a spate of anti-semitic attacks in Germany. When some Springer employees complained and accused Döpfner of taking sides in a geopolitical conflict, Dopfner responded sternly...
Unprincipled PowerRoger Berkowitz
Alexei Navalny was poisoned and almost murdered by Vladimir Putin and the Russian government. Languishing in a Russian prison, Navalny has a front row seat to witness the depravities of the Putin regime. The real danger of contemporary authoritarians, Navalny argues, is corruption.
Masters Degrees and the Bureaucratic Boom in Bullshit JobsRoger Berkowitz
William Deresiewicz asks after the boom in Masters programs--“From 1991 to 2019, the number of master’s degrees awarded rose by 143 percent. That’s 70 percent faster than bachelor’s degrees and 84 percent faster than doctorates.” These programs are cash cows for universities and are frequently financed by huge amounts of debt by students seeking to invest in their futures.
The College PyramidRoger Berkowitz
Rebecca Gordon asks about the ethics of teaching in Universities where students increasingly graduate with immense debt and few meaningful prospects. She notes that “The average number of doctorates earned over the last decade is almost 53,000 annually. In other words, we're talking about nearly 530,000 PhDs produced by American higher education in those 10 years alone.