Ask Dr. Wobs: How do you get people to read to the bottom?

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I recently received this query from a loyal reader: In an era where merit is accorded on the basis of social media ‘likes’ and increasing numbers of TLTR [too longer to read] messages I would like to (read) your comments on how to get the audience to ‘read to the bottom.’ Good question. Is “read … Continued

Funny machines

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I’m obsessed with the question of whether machines can ever be funny. I’ve already shared how ChatGPT just “doesn’t get it” about what a joke is. It seems to understand the structure of a joke, but never quite gets what makes jokes funny. (The last of these ChatGPT jokes is so stupid that is a … Continued

The terrifying, gruesome, incriminating web searches of Brian Walshe

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Trigger warning: this post is full of gruesome stuff. The police have charged Brian Walshe of Cohasset, Massachusetts with murdering his wife Ana. They have physical evidence including blood stained items, towels, rags, a Tyvek suit, Ana’s vaccine card, a hacksaw, and cutting shears, but no body. But the Google searches on his son’s iPad … Continued

Even if phone calls are possible on airplanes, it’s still rude

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According to the Washington Post, European regulators and airlines are now investigating ways to enable 5G mobile phone calls on airplanes. Right now, you can’t do this because mobile phones on planes need to be in “airplane mode” — that is, not connected to mobile antennas. The ostensible reason is that mobile phone frequencies interfere … Continued

ChatGPT is a bullshitter

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Imagine that you had a friend who was a fairly good conversationalist but whose often got facts wrong. What would you think of such a person? Because that is what ChatGPT is. A bullshitter. This, surprisingly, is not a criticism. As it turns out, the AI required to figure out how to write a convincing … Continued

ChatGPT: AI is now a decent writer. So you need to be better.

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I’ve been playing around with ChatGPT, an AI writing tool from Open AI. It is amazing. In contrast to previous AI writing tools, which were transparently awful, this one is quite good. I am not an AI expert, so don’t ask me how it works. I am a writing expert, so my question is this: … Continued

How to respond to an annoying edit

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Actually, that headline is redundant. All edits are annoying. If you care about your writing, that means you probably thought it was pretty good. So who is this other person to come in and change it? Who do they think they are? Well, they’re the person whose job it is to make your writing the … Continued