2 min read

Friday, March 31, 2023

Good morning and welcome to another edition of Wolmania. Our interminable indictment-watch is over. Let our interminable conviction-watch begin!

A bunch of grinning military guys who never actually existed.

We're clearly going to be hearing about AI for the foreseeable future. Anyway, someone on Medium called Jenka wrote this story about AI that's more about how AI reflects the biases of its creators and training data. Specifically, it's about how American/European cultural mores regarding 1) posing for photographs, and 2) how and when we smile, leads to the generation of "historical" images that are really ahistorical - depicting various groups grinning for the camera in ways that they never would have (setting aside the obvious point that, for example, the Aztecs didn't have selfie technology).

The immediate point is interesting and, I think, should undercut our sense of how "real" the output of these systems actually is. But the deeper point, I think, is that there are surely other, less apparent, yet equally significant ways in which what looks "right" to our modern, Western eyes can be dangerously deceptive. I'm all for amusing ourselves asking Bing to write us sonnets about the Disney legal team's use of the rule against perpetuities or whatever - but we should be very careful before we start letting AI dictate our actions in any important area.

Item 2: a list

Animal* wools, ranked

  1. Angora rabbit
  2. Cheviot sheep
  3. Merino sheep
  4. Lincoln sheep
  5. Montadale sheep
  6. Alpaca
  7. Columbia sheep
  8. Cashmere goat
  9. Dorset sheep
  10. Friesian milk sheep
  11. Hampshire sheep
  12. Romney sheep

* it’s mostly sheep

Item 3: a media recommendation

The Beatles - Eleanor Rigby (Take 2)

Item 4: word of the week


Item 5: a photograph

I don't even want to tell you what this is about. Just click through and see for yourself.

See ya!

Thanks for reading. Hope your March is going out like a lamb. See you next financial quarter!