Chatbots are boring. They aren’t AI.

You know I’m a bit sour on the whole artificial intelligence thing. It’s not that I think natural intelligences are anything more than natural constructions, or that I think building a machine that thinks is impossible — it’s that most of the stories from AI researchers sound like jokes. Jon Ronson takes a tour of the state of the art in chatbots, which is entertaining and revealing.

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This must be a rage blog

This afternoon I got a strange tweet.

Say what? I thought. That’s really weird; I don’t follow Barbara Drescher, I have no idea what she’s talking about here; I haven’t commented on anything she’s written in quite some time. But apparently she dreads the idea that I might notice something she has posted publicly, so I looked to see what it was about.

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David Niose v. Tucker Carlson

Do you recognize this description of the American Humanist Association?

The American Humanist Association, which hates all religion with much fire and brimstone, has launched a national campaign to inspire Americans to refuse to say the entire Pledge of Allegiance everywhere, all the time until Congress officially removes the famous phrase “under God” from the patriotic, 31-word oath.

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Thus, reddit and 4chan

I learned something this evening that explains a lot of human phenomena.

People are stupid. Young people in self-reinforcing groups are especially stupid. Would you believe that teenagers are taking something called the “fire challenge”: they douse themselves with an accelerant, like rubbing alcohol or gasoline, and set themselves on fire. This is egregiously idiotic — kids have suffered serious burns and even died playing this game. At least his is people harming themselves, although if you’re someone who has taunted friends into risking severe injury, you are a very bad person.

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