David Brooks

Ephemera, 08/04/23

Iain McGilchrist, in describing the left hemisphere of the brain, could just as easily be describing ChatGPT based on multiple reported experiences with the LLM, which is somehow worrying: “It is demonstrably self-deceiving and confabulates — makes up a story, when it cannot understand something, and tells it with conviction … It is not reasonable. It is angry when challenged, dismisses evidence it doesn’t like or can’t understand, and is unreasonably sure of its own rightness. It is not good at understanding the world. Its attention is narrow, its vision myopic, and it can’t see how the parts fit together. It is good for only one thing – manipulating the world.” (The Divided Brain and the Search for Meaning)

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David Brooks asks, “What if we’re the bad guys here?” I think a better question might be, What if none of us are the good guys here?

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“Was this how everybody wrote fiction? It needed work, a good bit of work, but once you gave up trying to be deep, writing was a lot easier and a lot more fun. And what a relief to blame your fantasies and your nightmares on fictional characters.” (John L’Heureux, The Handmaid of Desire) (He wrote better novels when he was trying to be deep, tbh.)