George Mobiot gets it exactly right:
"Using the industry’s own figures, it shows that burning the oil, gas and coal in the fields and mines that is already either in production or being developed, is likely to take the global temperature rise beyond 2C. And even if all coal mining were to be shut down today, the oil and gas lined up so far would take it past 1.5C. The notion that we can open any new reserves, whether by fracking for gas, drilling for oil or digging for coal, without scuppering the Paris commitments is simply untenable."
By design (evolution), nature is not unaware...
"Plants that heard caterpillar sounds released more mustard oils, which are unappealing to caterpillars and thus ward them off. What is remarkable is that the plants exposed to different vibrations, including those made by a gentle wind or different insect sounds that share some acoustic features with caterpillar feeding vibrations did not increase their chemical defenses. This indicates that the plants are able to distinguish feeding vibrations from other common sources of environmental vibration.'"
Project Iceworm... how diabolically clever to hide the murder weapon in a block of ice. Naturally the culprit never considered that the ice would melt when the global aircon kicked off.
Trump does not win in a million years, unless ghosts have won. Guess I am one of those "not doomed to repeat ourselves" people. If anyone forgets who to vote for, stick this on Youtube on repeat:
Followed by "Google swallows 11,000 novels to improve AI's conversation." To which I quipped on the Books Go Social Authors Group:
I forecast that we will have our first bestseller written (with maybe some human editing) by AI before the decade is out. And it will capture the zeitgeist so well it will be made into an HBO miniseries.
When asked why I found this interesting, I replied:
1) None of these authors sampled for Google's potentially highly profitable AI language work were compensated and
2) For a significant percentage of young people hooked into devices and believing that technology birthed them, the human hand may no longer matter. Think of a James Patterson scenario in which, instead of paid assistants to ghost write for him, he possessed really advanced bots. He would simply provide the finishing edits to the algorithmically produced materials and give it his imprimatur of authorship. Caveat: I am considering this scenario for EVEN.
1. None of the authors were compensated because it's unquestionably fair use under US law. They are not entitled to special compensation.
2. The unique, recognizable content produced by any one author — the intellectual property at the heart of copyright — is not being reproduced in any way.
3. This is a proof of concept, not a commercial product.
4. The technophobes at Authors Guild have a longstanding grudge against Google, so they're eager to seize on something like this as proof that the world is coming to an end.
5. Experiments in AI-written content have been dismal failures. We have a long way to go before that content is viable, much less in competition with human authors.
I do like the comparison to James Patterson churning out ghostwritten titles, and I think that's a little closer to what we may see in the future: works roughly assembled by AI, then polished by human authors. That authentic human voice is something that computers have not been able to reproduce, and likely won't for a quarter century or more.
Damon Shulenberger: Imagine if the "proof of concept" work resulted in a loss of a profession for many writers down the line. As you said, a quarter of a century (I think it will be 10 years max). A blink of the eye.
John Doppler: Change is inevitable, but the strength of indie authors lies in our ability to adapt to and exploit that change. If the rise of AI authorship presents competition — and I remain skeptical — perhaps the "handcrafted" aspect of a traditionally-written title will become the selling point that lifts human authors above the mass-produced stories.
Additionally, readers are loyal to their favorite authors. Can a synthetic author attract and hold a fan base? Again, I'm skeptical.
In any event, if AIs become competition, we'll just have to step up our game as authors have done in response to every other disruptive technology. Ebooks, print on demand, easy self-publishing, Kindle Unlimited, scamphlet fraud... we adapt to these challenges or perish.
Damon Shulenberger: I am thinking of having my penultimate work written strictly on leatherbound acid-free hemp, far from the threat of bots and data loss––first I need acolytes.
It is kind of like when someone pretends to be bluffing and yet has all his money on the table.