99 Comments
Jun 6, 2023Liked by David Farrier

I'm currently lying in a real hospital, after real surgery, being cared for by real staff. AI is just such a DISTRACTION from anything at all important. You can read Socrates right now, you don't need a fake convo with Bill Gates to do that.

My votes this year go to whichever party shows a physical and real commitment to health care. If I didn't have private health insurance (and I am extremely privileged to do so), all I was funded for was disabling levels of opiates for 6 years before I was even eligible for a wait-list to see a specialist. I want a better future for everyone regardless of ability to pay, and there is no use for pretend nurses in that.

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All the good vibes with your recovery, Kat.

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Thank you!

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Amen sister. Hope the recovery goes well ❤️

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Jun 7, 2023·edited Jun 7, 2023Author

You WOULD say that ;)

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With the rise of AI and its effects on the creative (and real) world, sign me up for the resistance.

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I feel like what’s missing from AI art is emotion. My daughter is an artist and the emotion she brings out in her drawings, paintings and videos is what taps into those deep inner workings of what it means to be human.

With that being said, I’ll continue saying please and thank you to Siri because when that shit becomes self aware I’m hoping they’ll spare my life 🤣

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Totally - creativity is everything. Charlie Brooker got ChatGPT to write an episode of Black Mirror. It was a bad episode they never would have shot. Just iterations of what had come before with no original thought.

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Omg! I’m so glad I’m not the only one doing this! 😂

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Jun 6, 2023Liked by David Farrier

Oh hell I hope when I swear at my smart watch (when it tells me I should stand up /move/take a walk -at times when I AM f'ing standing at cutting table) Bixby/Google's not gonna make me pay for it in the future for being 'disrespectful'??!

Tho in response to the not wanting an AI pep to 'jump in & finish my knitting' I'd really be ok with a sidekick to cut all the fabric & interfacing pattern pieces AND iron them all together with a simple JFDI instruction from moi

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Jun 6, 2023Liked by David Farrier

Haha I yell at my husbands watch when he meets his stand goal while spending the last ungodly amount of hours playing video games.🤣

I like knitting and crocheting so much, I wouldn’t want someone else to finish it. Currently working on my first quilt and I’d give anything if a machine could thread the damn needle for me

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I should add, I yell because he meets his stand goal while lounging on his back on the sofa playing video games

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Lol that's Soooooo unfair!

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Hahah my kids “mum you’re always so polite to Siri but he doesn’t have any feelings!”

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I thought Siri was a "she"....

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Jun 6, 2023Liked by David Farrier

Same - and I’ll keep it until Apple comes out with a Scottish accent 😁

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Jun 6, 2023Liked by David Farrier

Haha I have the guy with an Irish accent too for Siri. I like when I have my AirPods in and he reads a text message I received. 🥰

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I too have Siri the Irishman, there must be a niche group of us. I find him so comforting with the Irish lilt.

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I have changed my Siri’s voice to that of an Irish man and also get him to refer to me as Kelldogs because it pleases me

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As you'll have picked up I dont do the Siri thing....love an Irish accent tho 😉

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I too have Irish man Siri - it’s soothing, and a small act of resistance to the idea that a ‘servant’ is by default female.

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Jun 6, 2023Liked by David Farrier

Isn’t it simply insane that tech has come this far, yet tooth extraction in dentistry is still “we’re going to crowbar your tooth out now”.

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I am always surprised at the violence involved when tending to our luxury bones.

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Tell me about it! The violence I've experienced at the hands of dentists!! Anyhoo...I do have a lovely lady dentist who attends to my luxury bones. Great turn of phrase there David 😀

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Nice call back!

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Jun 6, 2023Liked by David Farrier

Heartening: the Armageddon exhibition/conference in Auckland NZ was a resounding success. Being old, I don't totally understand the concept, but it seems to involve REAL PEOPLE (mostly young, many in costume) milling about looking at exhibs and at each other. Both my grandies went. The 17-year old bought lots of books. The 16-year-old and friends dressed as Teletubbies, which they all currently adore.

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Jun 6, 2023Liked by David Farrier

Isn't it just so wonderful that people are again meeting in person and enjoying an experience?

One thing I've learned from the last few years is that it's never too late to enjoy a new hobby or interest-based tribe!

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Really cool to hear. I went a few times as a fan of fandom and I loved it.

Also very funny the 16 year olds dressed at Teletubbies: Legendary.

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Jun 6, 2023Liked by David Farrier

I already get annoyed when I go somewhere (like a family gathering with people I know) and I look around and there are moments where people are all independently scrolling their phones. I REALLY don't want that to turn into everyone has on their own personal headset. But I guess it should be noted that I am 41 yet throw a fit every time I need to download an app on my phone....and I am avoiding getting a new car because I don't want the push button start, I like my physical key to turn... so I am definitely not the target audience for this new face machine :)

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I am always amazed in cafe lines with everyone waiting, and everyone standing in isolation on their phones.

And then I look down again, as I am on my phone too.

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Jun 7, 2023·edited Jun 7, 2023

Yup, I am guilty of it as well. I am a total introvert - so acting busy to not talk to a stranger is on brand for me. But if I am using that time to read Webworm, it's fine, right?? ;-)

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A number of years ago (pre-pandemic, probably around 2015) I was with family for the US Thanksgiving holiday. Thursday afternoon, after the big meal, there were about 12 of us sitting around. Everyone except me was on a phone or tablet device (most shopping), and I was reading a paper book. The irony of it all is that I'm the most technological person among all of them, even to the point that I created and maintained (and still do) some of the things they were using while they were online. (I had stashed my computer away out of sight, and occasionally excused myself to check on the systems and overall performance of my technology systems, trying hard to *not* interrupt family holiday time.)

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Allow me to be a lone detractor in this my favourite echo chamber. With the generative AI tech that is now available, like the invention of the internet, it’s going to be a mixed bag. We will need to learn to take the good with the bad.

The concern around AI art is very valid but it misses the bigger picture. Generative AI helps with a large number of cognitive tasks which we are only just starting to understand. Here are some examples:

1. Better case management, helping people get quicker and fairer access to benefits.

2. Learning tutor, tailored assistance for your learning needs.

3. Lowering barriers to legal assistance, contract writing etc.

4. Assistive helpers for people with varying disabilities.

5. Making you more productive at work.

On balance, humanity has a lot to gain from this technology. There are a lot of real world use cases where this will benefit people. I am actively encourage people to get to grips with this and start using it. The fact is that there is now this thing out there and like the internet, if you chose not to engage with it you’ll be left behind.

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We need lone detractors - and I imagine there are a few of you that read this. Thanks for making you case!

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Jun 6, 2023Liked by David Farrier

Agreed it’s a fantastic tool when applied to the right things, but engaging art and writing shouldn’t be its thing. For example I used chatgpt to write a powershell script for me in 10 seconds that would have taken me an hour or more.

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Jun 7, 2023Liked by David Farrier

I salute your bravery in being the lone detractor. And would agree we need to learn to adapt to this new world and that all concerns may not come to pass. As much as I aspire to be an old school Luddite-like hippie with a dog for company, the technology is here and we should learn how best to use it. It would be very helpful if AI could indeed assist with legal research. Thus far its record is less than stellar with warnings both in the US and here in Aotearoa. It simply makes up case names and citations. Just ask the poor guy in NY that foolishly let AI stand in for a law clerk. And the New Zealand law society has a warning about them as well. Maybe evolving generative ai can do better.

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Many of the headlines about hallucinations caused by AI getting people into trouble are due to bad prompting and a poor understanding of how to use generative AI properly. Due to its design, it is prone to make stuff up, however this can be mitigated in several ways:

1. Do not take anything a chatbot says as truth, always verify

2. Apply chain of thought reasoning techniques to your prompts

3. Use chatgpt internet browsing plugins or Bing chat search facility to fact check the response

Prompt Engineering is an emerging discipline that everyone will need to learn which will make you more effective at using generative AI in a work setting safely. There are some great courses available on LinkedIn Learning.

Here is how some clever lawyers are using it: https://www.spellbook.legal/contract-drafting-ai

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Every night my daughter looks forward to a ChatGPT bedtime story. The best ones so far were:

Write a bedtime story for my 8 year old daughter about a bowl of spaghetti where every noodle has an individual personality.

Write a bedtime story for my 8 year old daughter about a family trip to the zoo, except the family are aliens, and the zoo is full of humans.

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That's nice and fun, and I'd be even more supportive of your daughter taking those as a starting point and then adding her own embellishments and flourishes to enhance the story even further. I'm always going to encourage development of individual creativity, because that's one of the key characteristics that allows a person to become even more successful in whatever they choose to pursue in the future.

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A colleague of mine asked ChatGPT to write him a conference presentation based on his publications. ChatGPT made up a citation with his name in it!!

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Yes, there may be benefits but also those who will use A1 for the detriment of humankind.

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Not the lone detractor! For programming it is an absolute game changer, not in taking over our jobs but to make us more productive and take out the monotonous tasks. I got ChatGPT to write some unit tests for a piece of code I had written. Unit tests are automated checks that developers write for their software code. We tend to skimp on testing usually as it's not as "fun" as creative code writing.

It did everything I would have - mock things up, correct arrange/act/assert structure, method naming was logical etc - basically all the skeleton/monkey work that I would have had to do and I probably would have copy/pasted myself. Except it didn't make any human errors.

However I did have to check the tests were doing what I expected, and that it didn't leave anything out.

It took an hour worth of work (or more because I have ADHD and trying to concentrate on tests is difficult) and spat out the code in 20 seconds. I sent another 10 minutes checking it and I had about the most fun I've had the whole year doing so!!

I read an article about a journalist who was using chatGPT to create executive report summaries of the last day's or weeks headlines. A task they used to have to rotate amongst themselves because it was so painful to do. Saved him several hours a month.

Finally, I also used ChatGPT to summarise some meeting notes. It was way too wordy so I asked for a more concise answer. It spat out a perfect and genius level summary - that needed a tweak here and there but was really good. I was upfront with my team that I used ChatGPT to summarise (as otherwise I may look way more intelligent than I actually am LOL)

Anyway, my takeaway now is that it's an awesome tool that will revolutionise our work in the same way computers did, not taking our jobs but changing them. And yes it'll also be used for evil just like hackers use computers to phish, hack and sabotage. And yes some people will get stupidly rich off it and others will lose their shirt on get rich schemes.

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It’s so cool that you’re enjoying the work you’re doing. Computers were meant to make life easier, right?

Today I tried out the ChatGPT plug-in for the first time. I used the PDF plugin, loaded it with a PDF, and then asked some questions about it. Very useful for getting specific information, organised how you want it, without having to troll through the entire document.

I’ve also found it really good during the ideation stage of a project. Feed in a bunch of meeting notes, Teams chats, email threads about a subject, and then ask it to write a Business Case, Problem Statement, High Level Action Plan based on the unstructured information you paste in.

Of course you already pointed out the golden rule: never trust, always verify the output. If you don’t know the knowledge to verify the output, find someone who does. And the second rule: disclosure. Great work and enjoy!!!

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Wow PDF summaries, so I don't have to slog through an entire document? Dang that's cool. I think it's great for cutting down on tasks you don't enjoy so you can focus on ones you do!!

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I used the ‘AskYourPDF’ plug-in, then just dropped in the URL to the PDF

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Damn straight 😀 need ChatGPT Plus though

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Right there with you.

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Jun 6, 2023Liked by David Farrier

One comment stood out on that twitter thread about AI. It’s not intelligent it’s predictive based on existing data. It’s just giving you more of what already exists.

If we allow this to take over out art and writing we lose the spark, everything becomes greige, like like those cheap bad movies that come out just before the real one. It’ll all become homogenised with so much more valueless shit to wade through to find the real art.

It can be a great tool to help with drudge work, simple programming tasks, that sort of thing, but it’s not a tool to do everything for you. And it’s not creative.

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Jun 6, 2023Liked by David Farrier

I'm sure a room full of Ivy League MBA's came up with the idea for Star Tours without accounting for the very limited pool of people with enough money to do it, who are also Star Wars fans, who are also immersive theater nerds, who also want to be trapped in a 48 hour LARP. That's probably twenty people. I've made plenty of silly mistakes in my work life but never one that big and they will all undoubtedly get promoted to make even costlier mistakes in the future because mismanaging money only becomes punitive when you don't have a lot of it.

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Jun 6, 2023Liked by David Farrier

"Mismanaging money only becomes punitive when you don't have a lot of it." TRUTH

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Jun 6, 2023Liked by David Farrier

Why does humanity seem determined (at least some of it) to take up residence in The Matrix? Is it a desperate attempt to escape from the mess we're making of our planet and other people's lives, perhaps? We really don't need this kind of stuff - we need much more live interaction with each other, not less. Given the rabbit holes that many fell down during Covid, the evidence suggests we have a lot of difficulty distinguishing real life from malicious garbage, and AI seems to provide a brilliant outlet for those keen to provide endless supplies of malicious garbage.

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It's a really good questions and one I don't fully understand - except that the online world is addictive and full of quick dopamine hits. So we get glued to our phones, and I guess the logical next step is to just glue those phones to our face. After that - if Elon gets his way - it's a chip in the brain and the internet will just be in our heads. And, we will *be* the internet.

I think I am gonna go outside for a walk.

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Sounds like a plan...the walk outside I mean!

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Jun 6, 2023Liked by David Farrier

Only humans can make something that dumb and expensive. The more I read about AI, the more I want to hug my cat.

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Hugging a cat is one of the best things you can do.

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Remember when we were growing up and the movies and TV shows we had predicted that we would have flying cars and space travel made available to everyone? Not once do I remember the media of that time predicting racism on social media, AI making art for false advertising or some billionaire liking henti. Not even The Simpsons got that one right.- if you're a believer in The Simpsons prophecy stuff. -

Shouldn't we at this time in life be more advanced as a race socially? On a equal ground as we have studied the past mistakes in history and corrected ourselves? How does a computer strapped to our face help us solve the issues that we currently face? How is AI helping us make change instead of people using it to make chaos? These tools could in fact do just that, but it goes to something I listened a while back.

Billy Graham did a Ted Talk before he died, and even if you're not a Christian or don't agree with him, it's definitely worth a listen. I know that there is a lot that can be said on who he is and all that, but he said something that got me thinking. At the end, he made a statement about 3 questions to problems that King David had and he pondered on how we have yet to find a solution to.- I mean he was after all a evangelist, so it's no surprise he would bring up a Biblical figure- Among them was evil. In that question he asked:

" Have you ever thought about what a contradiction we are? On one hand, we can probe the deepest secrets of the universe and dramatically push back the frontiers of technology, as this conference vividly demonstrates. We’ve seen under the sea, three miles down, or galaxies hundreds of billions of years out in the future. "

This is shortly followed by this:

" We can’t get along with other people, even in our own families. We find ourselves in the paralyzing grip of self-destructive habits we can’t break. Racism and injustice and violence sweep our world, bringing a tragic harvest of heartache and death. "

I say that because with all these things that you fine folks have posted about concerninf technology, AI or Apple, Elon or the idiots in Truth Social, how is it that we can't as a society see the evil and destruction that is in front of our noses? Why are we so blind to the tragedy that is our own malice and hatred? And even though it's nice to see technology at the level it is at today, why is it being used to set us back socially instead of moving us forward philanthropically?- is that a word? -

This is what I think when I read everything. It hurts my soul knowing that all these injustices are going on in the world, yet no real change is happening. You guys always do a great job of exposing this, it's just upsetting that the powers that be in this world choose ignorance. They could make real change happen. Imagine if Elon wanted to do good. Or if Apple fixed it's sight in global warming. That the minds that are creating more and more advanced AI worked on providing resources to underdeveloped countries or places where poverty, famine and disease lay to waste so many? Or that instead of being racist and pricks, the MAGA crowd would accept people for who they are.

These are all things I wish would change but I doubt any of us will see happen in our lifetime sadly. I just hope that we who care will raise the future generations to be the change that is so needed in our world.

And I side with you David.

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Evolving our human wetware is a lot more complicated than innovating with software/hardware and it sucks. Historical perspective is helpful when feeling dragged down by the state of humanity. We are, collectively, mostly improving. The timescale is just disheartening for our lifespans.

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Totally agree. I'm just thinking more from the side of people putting their heads together to create change is all. For some reason, that Billy Graham Ted Talk came to mind and it made me think of what are we doing as a whole to find change to the human condition.

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I get a headache from wearing any kind of headband. Remember how far you’re supposed to sit from a screen? No? Right on top of your irises is perfect!

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Technically the "distance from screen" is a focal distance thing for your eyes. With a television, you're focused on that specific physical screen so the distance is relevant. For these devices, the projection is such that you're not focusing on their screen but actually at an artificial point in the distance (think of those "magic eye" pixellation drawings that were the rage in the 1990s). Having said that, I don't think I'm interested in them anyway. Magic eye reference if you don't know/remember it: https://eyeondesign.aiga.org/the-hidden-history-of-magic-eye-the-optical-illusion-that-briefly-took-over-the-world/ as well as a humorous element in the 1995 film Mallrats by Kevin Smith.

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I didn’t think of the whole distance of screen from eyeballs aspect - what is it going to do to vision? And with you on headbands, I sometimes even find sun glasses irritating so no face machine for me!

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Remember that movie Surrogates? Yeah, me too. Last thing I want to do is sit around the house using “fake me” to interact with “fake friend” versions of my friends. I’m definitely an introvert, and it’s uncomfortable sometimes to be in groups, but I always feel better after making myself interact with other humans in person. Also, didn’t Google already try the VR crap which led to major losses? Why would Apple try the same thing again? Must be nice to have the money to spend billions and lose it.

AI is scary AF. SKYNET is real. Join Sarah Connor’s resistance because eventually they’ll figure out that humans tend to be jerks, and they’ll generalize the minority jerk population to the majority normal population and decide all humans don’t deserve to live.

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Jun 6, 2023Liked by David Farrier

I'm incapable of doing pull-ups, but if you want an unfit 39 year old engineer, I'll join your resistance haha

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Who can do pull ups!!!

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Jun 6, 2023Liked by David Farrier

Interesting. Twice I’ve been to a virtual reality studio in Papamoa near Tauranga and for $40 a pop had a “computer strapped to my face” for 50 minutes. Yes, I experienced the thrill of a trip to the moon and back with Neil Armstrong, “escaped” from the Titanic and swam with Orca and Sea Turtles but at the end of it, my neck was screaming and my head was pounding. Do I want to own one for $3000 plus? Never!

On back pain. Right now there are no knives stabbing my left leg or electric impulses from pinched nerves keeping me awake at night. I’m “painkiller free” - I go to Aquacise classes in the local pool which help free up trapped or pinched nerves, my aching and burning bursitis in my hip joints seems to be having a sabbatical and life is easier. I’ve been advised that my stuffed L4, L5 vertebrae should only be fused as a last resort. Life goes on and while my back pain and related aches and pains are at a minimum, I’m happy.

Hope you are too, buddy. Love Webworm and your pithy commentaries! Namaste!

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Jun 6, 2023Liked by David Farrier

Omg all I can think of when seeing those VR things on people's faces is the movie about going on holiday /having an alternative life with Arnie in Total Recall?

Yeah nah I'll stick to looking at my photobooks until I can get back to Oz for a holiday. I've had my fill of riding roller-coasters & bungy jumping when younger and also privileged to have experienced helicopter rides to Milford Sounds & over Sydney Harbour IRL so I'll stick with my ACTUAL memories ...lol while I CAN remember that is 🙃

Good luck with your back & hips playing nicely for as long as possible denis 🤞

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Namaste.

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Jun 6, 2023Liked by David Farrier

I saw a meme quote recently that summed up how I feel about AI perfectly. Something like “humans do the hard jobs on minimum wage while AI write poetry and paint. This isn’t the future I want”.

I want tech to do the crap jobs I/no one wants to do, to tell me where is the cheapest place to get my groceries this week, to get me the best utility prices, to weed my garden beds. I don’t want some crappy pictures of fake people with seven fingers smiling at me and I sure as shit don’t want a computer strapped to my face like a horror movie spider, distracting me from having genuine interactions with people I care about.

Sorry, that’s more ranty than I was expecting but urgh, tech bro’s just don’t have any clue hey. They may be smart in their own way, and have bucket loads of money but they’re stupidly removed from how 99% of the world actually live 🙄

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Jun 7, 2023Liked by David Farrier

i also feel like it’s super dangerous to have a computer strapped to your face. Like, what if you accidentally stumble into traffic or fall down the stairs/ off a cliff :(

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