Generative AI refers to the technology that can generate new content such as text, images, music, or videos. Like any technology, it has its advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the pros and cons of generative AI:
Creativity: Generative AI can generate new and creative content that can be used in various fields, including music, art, and advertising. It can come up with novel ideas that humans might not have thought of.
Efficiency: Generative AI can create content much faster than humans can. For example, it can generate thousands of images or pieces of text in just a few minutes.
Personalization: Generative AI can create content that is personalized to the user’s preferences. For example, it can generate music or art that is tailored to the user’s tastes.
Automation: Generative AI can automate repetitive tasks that would otherwise require human intervention. This can save time and resources, especially in industries such as marketing or content creation.
Quality: The quality of content generated by generative AI can vary widely, depending on the quality of the data used to train the model. The content may be low-quality or even nonsensical.
Bias: Generative AI can perpetuate biases that exist in the data used to train it. For example, a generative AI trained on a biased dataset may generate content that is discriminatory or offensive.
Ethical concerns: Generative AI can be used to create deepfake videos or other content that can be used to spread misinformation or deceive people.
Intellectual property: Generative AI can create content that may infringe on intellectual property rights, such as copyright or trademark.
Lack of human touch: While generative AI can create content quickly and efficiently, it lacks the human touch that makes content truly unique and memorable.
In summary, generative AI has many potential benefits, but it also comes with significant risks and challenges. As with any technology, it is important to weigh the pros and cons carefully and use it responsibly.
Note: This special guest post was created in its entirety other than the title by ChatGPT.
This will be a bit messier and less polished than my normal work. It’s timely and a moment is upon us. I may edit or add to this later, but I want to share it now.
It was a curious Christmas Eve. Somewhat out of the blue, an antisemitic leaflet was left outside our house. It referenced a claim that, “Every single aspect of the media is Jewish” and that “6 Jewish corporations own 96% of the media.” Even more curious, in smaller print it also stated that, “These flyers were distributed randomly without malicious intent.”
None of that requires much in the way of interpretation. The flyer was placed in a plastic bag anchored with small pebbles so it could be tossed from a passing car window (my guess) and not blow away. The cowardice of that free speech exercise is apparent.
As a matter of course I reported it to the local police, who informed me that many of these had been distributed in the neighborhood and my home was not singled out. That didn’t make it better, but it did give me reason to believe something more threatening was unlikely to follow. Remember, these are cowards who operate in the shadows. For me, free speech only has gravitas when it has a clear author willing to stand by the expression of their considered thoughts.
None of that is why I write this on Christmas Day. I write this because emerging from that heinous expression of bigotry was a mitzvah, a blessing of goodness. You see, as an author, I have been pounding out these posts for years and years, alongside three published novels, all of which likely add up to a somewhat progressive worldview. You might expect as much from the later generation of an immigrant family that sought freedom, opportunity, and acceptance in this imperfect but still idealistic place called America.
Well, guess what, I have all I wanted. The cowards lost. I won.
Shortly after I received the ugly missive of antisemitism, I posted a photo of it on social media. You know that old expression, “sunlight is the best disinfectant.” It’s true.
I guess I wanted to warn others in my area that bad actors were doing malicious deeds on the seventh day of Hanukkah, which also happened to be Christmas Eve. I also wanted to share outrage with my community, as if to wonder how on such a sacred day that speaks to joy and peace, someone took it upon themselves to exploit that occasion for fear and hate.
I didn’t expect much response. I write a lot and never quite know how it lands. That’s the thing about being on this side of the screen. You compose thoughts, share them, sometimes you get a response, more often than not you don’t hear from people you know. They are busy. They get accustomed to seeing your posts and only occasionally comment.
If you write a lot, you do receive a fair amount of criticism from people you don’t know. Some of it is warranted. Some of it helps me to be a better writer. Sometimes it comes in the same form as the antisemitic leaflet delivered on Christmas Eve. If you offer a public point of view, incoming invective comes with the territory. The worst of it is anonymous, more cowardice, and you become largely immune to it. I had excellent teachers on this topic.
I don’t write for a response. As I’ve said many times, I write to breathe. The written word is air to me. It’s my breathing pattern. Whether you hear me or not, I still need to breathe.
To my surprise on this one, on busy Christmas Eve, you heard me. You responded, full-throated and magnificent. You reminded me that it matters to many of you that I do this, that I type these words, why each breath matters.
Here’s a sample of what you said on social media:
You know, there are many hundreds of us who have your back.
We are standing with you.
Oh no. No no no,
That’s awful, I’m sorry, Please keep safe.
Love to you and your family.
Wishing you much peace and safety.
May your light shine bright this Hanukkah season.
These heartening comments are still coming in and probably will be for a while. That’s because there are shared values we can count on in the circles we travel, and when one of us blows the whistle on malfeasance, our communities rise together in response.
When do we know we have made a difference? When friends rally.
To know there is a community standing in solidarity together is to know that one’s voice is being heard. We are not alone when we are attacked for race, gender, ethnicity, origin, age, preference, or any other identity trait that makes us who we are. We stand on that platform of diversity, acceptance, kindness, and reject all who stand against our freedom to embrace our living history and self-define without ignorant critique.
You heard my voice. I heard yours. You acknowledged me as someone who matters. The cowards drift into irrelevance.
Our community is strong. Our community is ours.
Isn’t that the message of the day, that in this world of constant conflict, the voice of love is the platform we celebrate? Yes, we celebrate the idea of peace—the peace that begins in our hearts, resonates through our community, repels the ignorance that would undermine our shared compassion, and returns to our hearts to rekindle the flame.
We light the menorah to remind us there is light in the world. The candles are iconic, a visual metaphor of commemoration. We are the light when we choose to be, when we empower each other, when we stand by each other, when we commit to build a better day as the reason for the season.
I deeply, profoundly thank you for reminding me what is too easy to forget, that our work is never done. It is best done together when we show each other how much we care.
I believe it’s one part coincidence and one part fate that today is both Christmas and the eighth night of Hanukkah. Whatever you are celebrating, or even if you’re not celebrating but just contemplating the potential for good in our troubled world, I write today to assure you it’s there if you look hard. People will surprise you out of nowhere if you let them.
So let that be.
As I wrote to my social media community: Stay vigilant, teach all who come your way the beauty of diversity, the power of compassion, and the healing strength of love.
I spend a lot of time in airports. If you look around the airport, endless dramas are playing out. People coming, going, hugging, saying goodbye sometimes forever, welcoming home friends and family gone who knows how long. When I look at so many strangers, I often wonder about the ideas that bond and separate us as co-inhabitants of cities, states, and our nation. That often leads me to think about our common ideas of trust.
Why trust at the airport? If you get on as many planes as I do, trust is implicit in the experience. I don’t know the pilots. I don’t know the state of the equipment I’m boarding. I don’t know who else is going to populate that airborne metal tube for the next several hours at 30,000 or more feet above sea level.
A few weeks ago my flight was delayed more than ten hours in a reasonably bad storm. It happened to be Election Day. When they finally let us board, I walked onto the plane and took my seat as quickly as I could. I looked out the window and saw a wet runway and dark sky hurling rain and wind. I didn’t ask to exit. I didn’t ask for reassurance that the crew was rested. I trusted everyone involved in the decision that it was safe to fly.
Since you’re reading this blog post, you can presume that wasn’t a fateful choice on my part. It surely could have been, but somehow trust in people I didn’t know, a company that employs them, and a government division assigned to oversee the activity carried the day. Other than thinking I wanted to write about it, I didn’t think much about it at all.
Is trust a form of absurdity or is some form of it necessary for us to share common spaces?
Perhaps it is both.
It isn’t a coincidence that I write this immediately following an election. Somehow over the past few elections, it has become vogue in certain circles to simply dismiss the reported, monitored, and validated results of an election as fraudulent. If one’s candidate loses an election, especially by a narrow margin, there is no easier way to declare victory than to declare a lack of trust in the voting process. It doesn’t even require evidence to attack the fairness of the vote count. We all can say what we want, and if we want to say our candidate lost because the election was compromised by fraud, we have the freedom to say that.
To summarize: I can trust the strangers controlling the jet airliner I’m going to fly with four hundred other strangers through a storm, but I can’t trust the civil servants whose job it is to count votes accurately. That one seems tough to reconcile.
Some say that democracy itself was on the last ballot, with the outstanding question of whether the tallied results would result in the winning candidates being lawfully seated. Again, just typing that sentence makes my fingers tremble. Democracy has been at the core of my personal values for as long as I can remember. I presume as a citizen of this nation I get to vote along with everyone else and the counted votes will direct an outcome. I don’t think about it any more than getting on the plane in the storm.
That doesn’t mean I don’t want expert monitors overseeing the transportation industry or our voting booths. If I can’t trust either one of those, I can’t fly and I can’t agree to follow laws passed by legislators. When we throw in the towel on trust, our ability to function in shared spaces is dramatically curtailed. Without some presumed notion of trust, I am not sure we can function at all.
Before you write to let me know what a mark I am likely to be for targeted scams, let me assure you my trust is not easily won. If you’ve worked with me, you know this emphatically. If you’ve ever sold me something of substance and been paid cash money for it, you know it even more. Even then I am wildly understating the difficulty to win my personal trust, but it can be won. If it can’t, we can’t do great things together. We can’t do anything at all.
Do I worry trust is abused? More than you can imagine. Baby boomers know a thing or two about trust. We were raised with the Vietnam War. We were raised with Kent State. We were raised with Richard Nixon. One of our most memorable anthems declared, “We won’t get fooled again.”
It sickens me when trust is blatantly abused.
It sickens me that people trusted FTX and its once-celebrated CEO to help them navigate the already shaky world of cryptocurrency. If you trusted FTX as an investment, you likely lost all your money.
It sickens me that people trusted a night out with friends at an LGBTQ dance club in Colorado Springs and five of them didn’t return home, with as many as 25 others injured in the semiautomatic weapon assault. If you were someone who put trust in diversity and acceptance that night, your trust was forever violated.
It sickens me that the federal government offered much-needed financial aid to individuals and small businesses through the CARES act, and billions of these dollars were diverted to fraudulent claims. If you needed Paycheck Protection Program dollars and didn’t get any when they ran out, there’s a good chance you trusted the custodians of these funds to be ahead of con artists, and they weren’t.
Does that mean we going to stop investing, going to clubs, or filing applications for government programs? It can’t, any more than we should consider not flying or accepting the results of certified elections.
Trust in some shape or form is always going to be violated, which is why we must continue to insist on as many reasonable safeguards against these violations as technical and process engineering can muster. I don’t know anyone in the FAA, but if I don’t trust that agency to do its job, or I don’t support proper legal action to correct its performance should it fail, my time at the airport is done.
If I don’t trust the vast majority of fellow citizens to behave civilly in public, I can no longer go out and presume I am coming home as healthy as I left.
If I don’t trust my doctor to perform a procedure when I am under anesthesia, I can’t have the procedure.
And if we can’t trust the certified results of a routine election, then we can’t have a democracy. We didn’t protest against all the attacks on civil liberties this past half century to give up our democracy. We did it to enhance and preserve this incomparable gift of sharing spaces, agreeing to disagree, and believing that if we didn’t get our choice in the last election, the next one will be coming soon. That next election has to be a certainty or the experiment is over. I’m calling the experiment alive if not perfectly well, but necessary and enduring.
There might be an absurdity underlying the notion of trust. If that kind of trust is what it takes to get me on the next scheduled flight, call me absurd. I’ll see you at the airport and at the ballot box.
It’s easy to convince yourself not to vote. While the 2020 presidential election had a record high turnout for the 21st century, that still represented just 66.8% of citizens 18 years and older who participated. Midterm elections tend to yield significantly fewer voters. In many other nations around the globe, people still die for the right to play a role in free and fair elections. If you’ve managed to convince yourself that you needn’t exercise your right to vote, here is a laundry list of bad excuses that might talk you off the bench.
1) My single vote is just that; it hardly matters in a nation of millions.
Well, maybe, but what if the millions feel the same as you? There go the millions. Have a look at how close some of the vote counts have been in a number of highly contested races and you are likely to change your mind. Your vote matters.
2) I’m really busy and I don’t have the time to vote.
Well, maybe, but think about something you could trade for the time that you won’t miss, perhaps an hour of social media scrolling, television reality shows, or arguing with others about their poor election choices.
3) Voting is so inconvenient.
Well, maybe, but if going to a physical voting booth is not your thing, in almost every state there is some form of a mail-in ballot you can fill out anywhere and drop in a mailbox. If you need assistance getting to the polls, there are free or reduced-cost transportation resources available in many municipalities.
4) Most of the candidates fall into two parties and I don’t like either of them.
Well, maybe, but no rule says you have to vote strictly along party lines. Vote for the individual who best aligns with your needs, choices, and values.
5) Those ballot initiatives are too complicated and are meant to trick people.
Well, maybe, but there are plain language summaries of every initiative published online, in local newspapers, and in widely distributed brochures that can help you cut through the foggy language.
6) I don’t trust the election establishment and think fraud is deeply embedded in the system.
Well, maybe, but if you study the research, there is scant evidence of widespread election fraud, and the best way to overcome the possibility of fraud is for elections to be won decisively with huge turnouts.
7) I like identifying as being outside the system and not part of corruption.
Well, maybe, but if you live in the same nation as those who vote and you choose not to vote, the same laws apply to you. Your outsider status doesn’t exclude you from compliance with the laws others make. Letting those who vote elect officials to make laws for those who don’t vote seems like an awful concession. Where voter intimidation is in play, standing up for your right to vote seems more consequential than ever.
8) The candidates are idiots and I don’t want to endorse idiots.
Well, maybe, but even if the candidates aren’t up to your standards, you still might want to offer a stack ranking. Your opinion of relative competence can only be included in outcomes if you submit a ballot.
9) Campaign commercials, lawn signs, and debates are just icky, meaningless rhetoric.
Well, maybe, but choosing not to vote when you’re offended doesn’t give voice to your offense, it just rewards those behind the ickiness by silencing your repulsion.
10) I just don’t feel valued as a voter and don’t think elections matter to my everyday life.
Well, maybe, but if that kind of apathy becomes widespread, it becomes much easier for autocrats to seize control and take away the choices you may someday regret losing.
The right to vote should never be taken for granted. Wars have been fought and lives sacrificed to protect this sacred right. You will be compelled to pay taxes, but you won’t be compelled to vote. They sort of go together, so don’t give up your right willingly. Those who allocate your financial resources will still send you a tax bill whether or not you like how they spend your money.
Voting may seem bothersome, abstract, or elusive in representing your point of view, but it always matters and can never be surrendered. Rational and heartfelt thinking are the main hopes we have for transforming bad behavior into good behavior. Listening and learning are all part of the process of bringing positive change. Sitting on the sidelines doesn’t make a statement, it avoids one. If it doesn’t go your way this time around, there’s always next time, and the time after that, and the time after that.
Never give up hope. Protect your right by exercising it every time you can. Please, get out the vote.