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The world of AI, Oct 28

John Bennett <frogdownstairs@gmail.com>

Wed, 27 Oct, 18:36 (23 hours ago)

Hi
I should be at your place about, approx 10.51am after my skin cancer check.
Let us know if that suits you.
>> All good, see you then.
(I thought I had updated my Gmail photograph.)

28 Oct

This year Dr Dan saw nothing suspicious, took no ounce of flesh for a biopsy, so I drove straight up towards the banana plantations. As I walked down the drive I checked the time.

Hi!

Shoes off? Face mask? I am so anal about time, can you Adam and Eve it, it’s 10.51.

I find you on your laptop, removing bugs from a game you developed. I am so pleased, say that’s great.

You are ensconced on your version of an ottoman with everything organised around you. You can barely move, your hips are riddled. A rescue kitten called Jasper is biting my ankles. You keep him in at night.

I ask questions gently. No, with all the chemicals no pain. Yes, short term memory is messed. Not eating much. Can’t complain, the doctors and nurses all come here, it’s easy.

You adjust the fan, the hottest day of the year, 32 outside. I say that’s what I recall coming to visit, walking up the steep driveway, always seemed bloody hot. When your brother-in-law visits, he comes marching in, pissed usually, asking, ‘How long have you got?’ And not just the once. I forgot to ask how your crop is doing.

You have two Alexas, I have encountered her once before, a few years ago in mid-Wales when she was being uncooperative. You ask for the weather forecast. She goes on a bit, ending with, ‘have a lovely morning’. I try, ‘Alexis, will you keep quiet.’ She replies, ‘Keep Quiet is a 2016 biographical documentary film about Hungarian politician Csanád Szegedi, known for his anti-semitic comments and membership in the radical nationalist party Jobbik, who later discovered he was Jewish.’ I thought I must record this. Got my phone out and repeated, ‘Alexis will you keep quiet’. Silence. She doesn’t like being laughed at.

An hour passes in no time, I have to go. Was going to hug you, a first. You hold out his hand.

I’m writing this as the sun goes down, take a photograph, another one. That’s how we met. You helped me with my work, creating diptychs and combining images. You enjoyed the challenge and had the skills. I used to buy your vodka.

The day starts and ends, that’s how everything works.

Sunset, Blue Poles, 28 Oct

I began this morning with a post about the weather and mentioned AI, never thinking I would mention it again later.

I am on my first ever Zoom call, for the launch of the anthology ‘Poetry for the Planet’, and enjoyed the thoughtful introduction by Amanda Anastasi. I realised that when I texted – my name came up as ‘me’, and I am the only one with just a Christian name and stuck on the top row, always in view. I leave after 30 minutes, virtual poems don’t really work for me. I check the news.

Poetry for the Planet

Facebook, who I have always distrusted, announced today it is changing its name to Meta, with big ambitions to reimagine the internet. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, ‘We believe the metaverse will be the successor to the mobile internet, we’ll be able to feel present – like we’re right there with people no matter how far apart we actually are.’[i]

We know from the cache of material released last month by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, how people are torn apart as well as brought together by the social networking site, and Instagram’s disastrous impact on the mental health of teenage girls in particular. It has also been stirring up ethnic violence in various countries, allowing hate speech.

Of course, AI is already here, we just don’t realise it, just as how technology has infiltrated every aspect our our daily lives by stealth. ‘Digital innovation spurred by Covid-19 has put AI and analytics at the center of business operations. AI and analytics are boosting productivity, delivering new products and services, addressing supply chain issues, and fuelling new startups.’ [ii] I have no idea what ‘accentuating corporate values’ means, but I know enough to mistrust the phrase ‘corporate values’.

 

[i] Dan Milmo, ‘Enter the metaverse: the digital future Mark Zuckerberg is steering us toward’, The Guardian, 28 Oct 2021. ‘Across Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger and, of course, its eponymous platform, Facebook generated a net income – a US measure of profit – of $29bn last year from its 2.8 billion daily users.’

[ii] Joe McKendrick, ‘AI Adoption Skyrocketed Over the Last 18 Months’, Harvard Business Review, September 27, 2021

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