some follow up on grammar checking and AI

First, a bit of follow-up on my post about Grammarly and other grammar checkers: I missed one obvious alternative, Microsoft Editor. It’s a little confusing. It seems to be available as a free browser extension, but only for Edge and Chrome, not Firefox or Safari. And the “premium” features are part of Microsoft 365, which I do subscribe to. I guess it also works in MS Word, so I could theoretically copy my blog posts into Word, check the grammar there, then paste them back into WordPress, but I know that won’t work well. Or I could switch to Edge, but that’s only on Windows. Or I could switch to Chrome, which will work on Windows and Mac, but I’m really trying to avoid that. So… I guess I’ll think about it. Probably not my best option.

And, in general AI news, I liked this snarky article from Gizmodo. Sam Altman and OpenAI are certainly fascinating. I’m not sure if the company is going to change the world, or if it’s a load of B.S. and it’s going to fall apart a year from now. There are a few good lines in the article, like this one: “So far, ChatGPT is very good at writing limericks and telling lies.” Which is basically true. I’m pretty sure that we’re still a long way from AGI, if such a thing is even possible. (Though it’s pretty hard to even nail down what would count as AGI, at this point.)

I’m not sure about the whole “effective altruism” thing. It’s been getting a lot of negative press lately. The article says “Effective Altruism posits that the solution to humanity’s problems is for people with good intentions to get extremely rich and then donate the money to good causes,” which is… not exactly correct, but probably close enough, in practice. I’m not sure if I trust folks like Sam Altman to effectively redistribute his wealth once he decides he has enough to do that. Or for other effective altruists to make all the right decisions for the rest of us…

Something else I saw recently reminded me of the concept of fully automated luxury communism, which I remember some folks talking about on Twitter a few years ago, in a generally jokey way. My naive understanding of that, at the time, was that it was basically describing a post-scarcity future, like Gene Roddenberry‘s conception of what Earth would be like in the future, as envisioned in Star Trek.

And of course I just asked ChatGPT to compare and contrast Effective Altruism and Fully Automated Luxury Communism, and it came back with a pretty good summary. And then I asked it what Gene Roddenberry would have thought of FALC, and it came back with, again, a pretty reasonable answer. So maybe this ChatGPT thing isn’t just good for limericks and telling lies.

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