NBN Newsletter #7: Artificial Intelligence
Featuring a curated playlist, an episode spotlight, and a Q+A with Professor Michael A. Genovese
Welcome to newsletter #7. This, week’s theme is artificial intelligence or AI.
Chatting with ChatGPT
Input: Can you explain what artificial intelligence is in two paragraphs?
Output: Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think and act like humans. These intelligent machines can be trained to perform a wide range of tasks, from recognizing speech and images, to making decisions and solving problems.
AI systems are designed to learn and adapt to new information, allowing them to improve their performance over time. This learning ability allows AI to perform tasks that would be difficult or impossible for a human to do, such as analyzing large amounts of data or recognizing complex patterns. AI has the potential to revolutionize many industries, from healthcare and transportation, to finance and education…
This week’s playlist features 15 fascinating episodes about artificial intelligence. Enjoy!
Michael A. Genovese is Professor of Political Science, Director of the Institute for Leadership Studies, and President of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University.
Q: What are you reading right now?
A: I've been working my way through the LA-based crime novels of Michael Connelly (three more to go!), and just started Dahlia Lithwick's Lady Justice: Women, the Law, and the Battle to Save America.
Q: What is your favorite book or essay to give to people and why?
A: Depending on the "who" and their age: Amor Towles’ A Gentleman in Moscow (beautifully written), Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince (for children of all ages), Erich Fromm's The Art of Loving, Mitch Albom's Tuesdays with Morrie, and Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.
Q: Is there a book you read as a student that had a particularly profound impact on your trajectory as a scholar?
A: Maugham's The Razor’s Edge floored me as a college student, and in graduate school, Postman's Teaching as a Subversive Activity alerted me to the possibilities of great teaching.
Q: Which deceased writer would you most like to meet and why?
A: Shakespeare is the easy answer. His insights into human nature beg for deep discussion. I would also love to spend a few evenings with Machiavelli (which I have already done in my book, Me and Mach, but need to pick his brain more), and Richard Nixon because I've spent almost fifty years trying to come to grips with this complex and consequential man.
Q: What’s the best book you’ve read in the past year?
A: If I can stretch "a year" back a bit, two books really stand out: Candice Millard's The River of Doubt (about the "madness" of Theodore Roosevelt) and Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City.
Q: Have you seen any films, documentaries, or museum exhibitions that left an impression on you recently?
A: Two recent documentaries have impressed me greatly: Frank Lloyd Wright: The Man Who Built America and The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley on the Elizabeth Holmes fiasco.
Q: What do you plan on reading next?
I have a huge stack of books just waiting for me. At the top are Maggie Haberman's Confidence Man and Nina Totenberg's Dinners with Ruth.
The Future of … with Owen Bennett-Jones
What exactly can artificial intelligence do? It’s an issue some professions are grappling with right now. On the face of it, the law is an area that appears to rest on fine human judgment; however, many of the tasks it involves can be performed by AI. Daniel Susskind of Oxford University discusses his book, co-written with Richard Susskind, The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the World of Human Experts, with journalist Owen Bennett-Jones.
New Books, Links, and Other Things
MIT Press: “When a robot writes a book”
Chris Miller, Chip War: The Fight for the World's Most Critical Technology (Scribner, 2022)
Kate Crawford, Atlas of AI: Power, Politics, and the Planetary Costs of Artificial Intelligence (Yale UP, 2022)
Heather A. Haveman, The Power of Organizations: A New Approach to Organizational Theory (Princeton UP, 2022)
(If you’ve just finished an exceptionally engrossing book, listened to a great NBN episode, discovered a new podcast, or stumbled across an interesting website, please email firstname.lastname@example.org)