Make It Stop

A blog post I saw at Mefi the other day gave me the unsettling sensation, like so much web copy nowadays, that it had been written by AI. Perhaps it was auto-translated from another first language, or perhaps it’s AI all the way down. The blog as a whole gave no hints of any human or humans who might be behind it, no About page or first post introducing the project or anything like that. It made odd turns of phrase like “a truly emotionally gripping experience of this modern classic” land even more oddly.

It feels wrong to be told what to feel about a piece of music by a predictive text algorithm—if that’s what it is. That’s the trouble: you can’t trust that anything on the web is actually human now.

On that depressing yet increasingly familiar note: AI-generated obituaries are turning private individuals into clickbait, whether they’re dead or not (via Mefi).

Film Crit Hulk argues that the internet is an empty labyrinth.

But wait, there’s more techno-grimness.

The rise of techno-authoritarianism (archived).

Elon Musk and his biographer. Reviewer Sam Kriss has his problems, but he sure can turn a phrase (I loved “mashed-potatoey thought”, and “What else was he supposed to do? Follow the demands of human dignity even in the face of mild, non-life-threatening opposition? Don’t be ridiculous”). Kriss, by the way, is another critic who’s argued that the internet is already over.

A rare glimmer of techno-hope: tackling single-use electronics with paper RFID tags (via Mefi). This has such huge potential—and, having grown up hearing all the dismissive jokes about art school (because Dad worked in one), I love that it came from a group of design grads from the Royal College of Art.

Speaking of artists, does wanting to be one nowadays mean having to start a TikTok? Mefi had some good thoughts.

12 February 2024 · Infotech