We woke to the news that Jimmy Buffett had died. We were fortunate to hear him in concert. My husband introduced me to sailing, and we would listen to Buffett at some point during our excursions. I have read a couple of his fiction books and found them as upbeat as his music. “Pencil Thin Mustache” is one of my all time favorite songs, and I was able to find a live version.
I failed to mark the passing earlier this year of probably our favorite musician: Gordon Lightfoot. We heard him several times over the years and were never disappointed. I love many of his songs but my favorite is “Song for A Winter’s Night,” a quiet love ballad that he originally recorded in 1967.
I had an interesting conversation with my sister and my father when we were together last weeked to celebrate my mother’s 88th birthday. I’m working on a blog post about the changing nature of work that I will post at some point, but as I looked for data to support my ideas, I was distracted by Pew Research Center’s collection of data related to Artificial Intelligence. In particular, two recent articles seem to conflict a bit in perspective, a sign that we are in a period of real volatility when it comes to this technology.
One article provides evidence that most Americans haven’t tried ChatGPT and aren’t concerned about its impact on their lives. The other reports on the growing public concern with AI. As for the former, I am reminded of a conversation I had with an early adopter of the first widely used virtual community, Second Life. It certainly had implications for the potential of online interactions, but you couldn’t get your real life hair cut or your real life tires replaced. Local communities were still going to be important. And, even with the rise of AI, I think that continues to be true. At some point, I suppose a robot will cut my hair or replace my tires, but for the foreseeable future, it will be flesh-and-blood Olivia and Proctor who help me with those services.
As for the latter headline, I think we should be concerned when a technology that we only sort of understand undergoes such a rapid expansion. The educators I know are learning all they can about AI, especially within their own fields of study. They are also engaging in conversations with colleagues about how to use the tools for their own productivity and with their students.