2024-05-05 Links

My online reading consumption dropped significantly the last few weeks. I drifted towards listening to podcasts while doing other things but that also meant I kept no daily notes or record. I’m going to try pacing myself and sharing at least one piece of content that resonated strongly with me, in whatever form I consumed it in.

For now, a link dump of everything I’ve consumed over the course of this last week, and maybe a few days prior too..

Link dump:

The articles I read this week that caught my attention are in [[2024-05-04 | yesterday’s]] incoming.

  • Bruce Schneier: The Rise of Large Language Model Optimisation. There’s also a more fundamental issue here that gets back to the reason we create: to communicate with other people. Being paid for one’s work is of course important. But many of the best works—whether a thought-provoking essay, a bizarre TikTok video, or meticulous hiking directions—are motivated by the desire to connect with a human audience, to have an effect on others.

  • Richard Merrick: Harnessing our inner dolphins

  • Tracy Durnell, commenting on Ed Yong’s post on birding in the New Yorker: I endorse the perspective that doing things that enliven you is important, even if no one else sees them as productive.

  • Zach Seward: AI is not a person Anthropomorphizing AI not only misleads, but suggests we are on equal footing with, even subservient to, this technology, and there’s nothing we can do about it. You see it all the time in headlines that proclaim what AI is "coming for" next: musicians, fortune cookies, your children.

  • Two links from Gaping Void: In All Contracts are Psychological has the story of [[Ben Franklin]] getting the US what it wanted. In Find Your Art, an astute observation, and a call to action: Find your Art. Do more of it.

  • Ryan Holiday: The accomplishment that matters most At the end of your career and your life, you’re going to look back and be proud of your accomplishments. If these were achieved selfishly or solitarily though, it will seem empty and sad. At the end, you’ll be thinking about people. You’re going to think about what your kids have been able to do. You’ll be just as proud of what other people have done, what you’ve been a part of and connected to.

  • I missed reading Gary Klein’s touching note on Daniel Kahneman. I am inspired by the whole process of adversarial collaboration. In contrast to Socrates’s enduring influence—he attempted to demean and expose his debate adversaries—Danny took the opposite stance, a generous stance of trying to learn and make discoveries together. For me, Danny is a far superior role model for philosophical debate than Socrates.


The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.
-Niccolo Machiavelli


Richard Smith performing at Frank & Syvlie’s House Concert