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.”
Transcendence and Finitude: In Memory of Drucilla CornellRoger Berkowitz
Drucilla Cornell died on Monday, Dec 12, 2022. Drucilla was one of the most unique and self-possessed people I’ve met, someone who could laugh and cry unapologetically, often in quick succession. Her friends whom she collected and loved included academics, trainers, and people she encountered daily in shops and on the street. Her annual Christmas party was a place to witness her loving community. It was to be held this year on Dec. 16th. Sadly, we must instead mourn Drucilla’s passing. Those who knew Drucilla miss her; we all are richer for her work.
The Twitter FilesRoger Berkowitz
Since Elon Musk bought Twitter and started dismantling the company’s bureaucratic infrastructure, he has also begun a process of coming clean about Twitter’s highly idiosyncratic way of censoring posts and contributors. Instead of releasing the files at once, Musk is letting them out in parts and has tasked the journalists Matt Taibbi, Bari Weiss and others with writing about the files on Twitter itself.
The Pillars Have ShatteredFor Hannah Arendt, the rise of science, and the loss of civilization's pillars- religion, customs, and traditions- helped lead to the loss of a shared world. This process turned us inside ourselves, towards a radical subjectivization that she termed world alienation, which left us only with our own subjective truths, sealed off from any shared common sense. In a new essay, Marilynne Robinson argues for a reconciliation between science and religion. She writes that it is not simply that science deals with facts and religion with meaning; there are seeming facts of the world such as time and space that are impervious to scientific knowledge. And religion, while it offers traditions of meaningfulness, must grapple with the meaning of a scientific world aimed at progress.
Is Antisemitism a Virus?Roger Berkowitz
David Marchese interviews Tom Stoppard about the rising virus of antisemitism.
Antisemitism and White SupremacyMichael Eric Dyson has a courageous op-ed in which he moves on from acknowledging both Jewish racism and black antisemitism to recognizing “antisemitism as a toxic species of the white supremacy that threatens Black security and democracy’s future.”
The Tyranny of RankingsRoger Berkowitz
Yale and Harvard law schools have led a small movement of leading law schools refusing to participate in the corrupt practice of ranking schools led by institutions such as U.S. News & World Report. Leon Botstein, President of Bard College, explains why these rankings are not only silly, but dangerous.
A Simple Tale that Undid a Totalitarian SystemRoger Berkowitz
Robin Ashenden writes about the seismic significance of the appearance of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s first novel, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, which appeared Sixty years ago last week.
What’s the Point of Museums?Roger Berkowitz
There is a yearning for a truly non-biased and fully-inclusive museum. And since such a museum and such a show cannot exist, one group of curators have asked, "What's the Point of Museums?"