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    1. A casual chat with ChatGPT about the prosperity of humanity

      I was in a silly mood and wanted to fleece a socialist opinion out of the ChatGPT. For what it's worth it's nice to see the creators of the system aim for an unbiased answering machine. Poking a...

      I was in a silly mood and wanted to fleece a socialist opinion out of the ChatGPT. For what it's worth it's nice to see the creators of the system aim for an unbiased answering machine. Poking a little further and through a self-proclaimed "simulated opinion", I was allowed to take a peek behind its curtains.

      A few prompts later and I asked:

      What would you say is the ideal goal for humanity to steer towards?

      To which ChatGPT replied:

      Achieving the ideal goals of prosperity, equity, sustainability, and ethical responsibility requires concerted efforts across multiple fronts, involving governments, businesses, civil society, and individuals. Here are some strategies for accomplishing these goals:

      1. Policy Frameworks: Governments play a crucial role in setting policy frameworks and regulations that promote inclusive growth, social justice, and environmental sustainability. This includes implementing progressive taxation policies, investing in education and healthcare, and enacting environmental regulations to mitigate climate change and protect natural resources.

      2. Investment in Education and Skills Development: Investing in education and skills development is essential for equipping individuals with the knowledge, capabilities, and adaptability needed to thrive in a rapidly changing economy. This includes promoting STEM education, vocational training, and lifelong learning opportunities to empower individuals to participate fully in the digital economy.

      3. Inclusive Economic Development: Promoting inclusive economic development involves creating opportunities for all members of society to participate in and benefit from economic growth. This includes supporting small businesses, entrepreneurs, and marginalized communities, as well as implementing policies to reduce income inequality and promote social mobility.

      4. Technology for Good: Encouraging the responsible development and use of technology, including AI, can help harness its potential for positive impact. This includes investing in research and innovation to develop AI solutions that address pressing societal challenges, such as healthcare, education, climate change, and social equity.

      5. Corporate Social Responsibility: Businesses have a responsibility to operate ethically and sustainably, considering the social and environmental impacts of their operations. Embracing corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices, including fair labor practices, environmental stewardship, and community engagement, can contribute to building a more equitable and sustainable economy.

      6. Global Cooperation: Addressing global challenges such as climate change and inequality requires international cooperation and collaboration. Countries must work together to set ambitious climate targets, promote trade and economic integration, and support development initiatives that prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable populations.

      7. Public Awareness and Engagement: Fostering public awareness and engagement is essential for building support for policies and initiatives that advance the ideal goals of prosperity, equity, sustainability, and ethical responsibility. This includes educating the public about the benefits and risks of AI and technology, promoting civic participation, and empowering individuals to advocate for positive change.

      By implementing these strategies and fostering collaboration across sectors and stakeholders, we can work towards realizing the ideal goals of prosperity, equity, sustainability, and ethical responsibility, creating a better future for all members of society.

      To which I responded:

      Those all sounds very socialistic :D

      ChatGPT in return said:

      Indeed, many of the strategies outlined for achieving the ideal goals of prosperity, equity, sustainability, and ethical responsibility align with principles commonly associated with socialism, such as a focus on social justice, collective welfare, and government intervention to address market failures and promote the common good.

      Socialist ideologies often emphasize the importance of equitable distribution of resources, public ownership of key industries, and government intervention in the economy to ensure that basic needs are met and that everyone has access to essential services such as healthcare, education, and social support.

      While not all the strategies mentioned are exclusively socialist in nature, there is often overlap between socialist principles and policies aimed at promoting inclusive economic development, environmental sustainability, and ethical governance. In practice, countries may adopt a mix of socialist and capitalist policies to address complex socio-economic challenges, drawing on a range of ideological perspectives and pragmatic considerations.

      Ultimately, the goal is to find a balance that maximizes the benefits of economic growth and innovation while ensuring that the gains are shared equitably and that the well-being of people and the planet is safeguarded for future generations.

      I'm not sure where I want to head with this little musing. I just found it interesting enough to share. Thanks for reading!

      2 votes
    2. "The One Who Is". Who on Tildes recently called God by this name?

      I was recently on a topic and a commenter referred to God this way. I can't seem to find it now. If it was you, or you know anything about this, I'm curious why that phrase? What does it mean? Is...

      I was recently on a topic and a commenter referred to God this way. I can't seem to find it now. If it was you, or you know anything about this, I'm curious why that phrase? What does it mean? Is it associated with a particular tradition?

      Also, is there a way to search for specific text on Tildes?

      22 votes
    3. Anyone have any interesting facts or wild stories to share about strange characters in history? I can start - with Marquis de Sade.

      My contribution: It's 2:17am on a school night, you're a teenager, and you're googling "most disturbing movie ever made" - because you can. Among mentions of films like A Serbian Film and...

      My contribution:

      It's 2:17am on a school night, you're a teenager, and you're googling "most disturbing movie ever made" - because you can. Among mentions of films like A Serbian Film and Audition, you also notice that a film with two names is commonly mentioned: Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom. Huh, even the name sounds creepy. After looking behind you to make sure no one's watching, a brief glance at a summary of the movie explains enough to make you want to forget about the whole thing forever. Regardless, you fall further down the Wikipedia hole... (or in my case, you really do forget about it for 10 years, only to unfortunately stumble across it again yesterday.)

      Salò was made in 1975 and is based on a novel written by Marquis de Sade in 1785. It is known as one of the most disturbing films ever made, but as I learned recently, the film and novel somewhat pale in comparison to the real life of the author. Sade was a French guy who committed all manners of wild, outrageous, and terrible behavior throughout his life, and his Wikipedia page is a crazy ride. You know the word "sadism?" This man is literally the etymological origin of sadism. (Also, practically his whole existence requires a content warning. In this case, it seems that the art has never been separate from the artist.)

      In 1763, Sade was charged with "outrage to public morals, blasphemy and profanation of the image of Christ," which at first makes him seem pretty cool. Alas, it all goes downhill from here, as he was known as a nuisance and danger to every community he lived in.

      TW: Sadism, sexual abuse, physical abuse, child sexual abuse

      He once locked a woman in a room and went on a ultra-cringe atheist tirade that would make even the most condescending neckbeard blush, screaming about how God doesn't exist while simultaneously masturbating, urinating on things, stomping on a crucifix, and ordering the woman to beat and whip him. He locked another woman in his home, whipped her, and poured hot wax in the wounds. He was arrested, then let out of jail because he wrote letters and whined to the King about it. He was such a creep that the local police started warning sex workers not to visit him. He fell in love with his wife's sister when she was 13, and eventually ran away with her. He committed absurd acts of pedophilia, including forcing groups of children to perform "erotic plays" while trapped in his home for weeks on end.

      Later, when Napoleon Bonaparte issued a warrant for his arrest after being offended by his novels, Sade was imprisoned, then had to transfer prisons because he was being such a disgusting sex pest to other prisoners at the first one. His family had him declared insane and moved to an insane asylum. While in the asylum, he was permitted to direct and perform his plays, using the other patients as actors. Somehow, even when living amongst the most underprivileged members of society in prisons or insane asylums, it seems that Sade was never fully prevented from promoting his ideas and art to the world, even though the subjects he explored were universally horrifying to society - then, as well as now. I found this fascinating.

      TW: child sexual abuse

      This man spent his whole life committing weird, gross, violent sex crimes at every turn, and no one ever really stopped him from doing that either. His life is one long cycle of rapes, arrests, assaults, kidnappings, and imprisonments, and he keeps on going until the very end. When he was 70, he entered a four year long sexual "relationship" with a 14 year old daughter of one of the asylum employees, and then died at the age of 74.

      Sade wrote The 120 Days of Sodom on scraps of paper while in an insane asylum in 1785, and lost it in the Storming of Bastille during the French Revolution. It was somehow rescued (eternally unbeknownst to him,) and was finally published in 1904, to eventually be adapted into the film that sent me down this whole rabbit hole.

      While reading about Sade's life, I was surprised not only by the major events in history he was present for, but the lasting impact he had on philosophy, art, and culture. As mentioned above, the word "sadism" has its roots in his name. The Surrealists adopted him as an inspiration in the 1920s, dubbing him the "Divine Marquis" and praising his ideas about "sexual freedom." (Side note: I love surrealism, but I swear, I never stop discovering new, unsettling facts about Dali and his ilk.) Along with Surrealism, he is said to have had great influence over Modernist art. Some consider his work to be a precursor of nihilism. Sade also influenced Sigmund Freud, Friedrich Nietzsche, and at least one serial killer.


      Learning about this guy left me astounded, and I just needed to share with someone. Could I have just posted the Wikipedia article? Yes, but that's not as fun as writing down this crazy story and some of my feelings about it. (Note: I did not link sources excessively in this post, as it generally follows the structure of the Wikipedia article and sources can be found there.)

      I couldn't believe I didn't already know about Marquis de Sade before today (maybe because I've never taken a philosophy class?) It also got me thinking that I'd like to hear about any other outrageous, controversial, or just plain strange characters in history that you might know of. Even the other historical figures mentioned above have pretty wild lives themselves. (And on the other hand, I suppose there's so much here to chew on that we may just discuss Sade in general. If so, have at it. I'm particularly fascinated by how such a sick individual has heavily influenced significant parts of our culture, and how to feel about that.)

      Fun facts are welcome, considering I certainly didn't bring any.

      66 votes
    4. A new way to learn vocabulary. A story about a word nerd and AI. And a call for help.

      Hi logophiles! I am a total word nerd. Over the last six years--mostly accidently--I ended up creating a bunch of vocabulary learning materials and spent way too much time thinking deeply about...

      Hi logophiles! I am a total word nerd. Over the last six years--mostly accidently--I ended up creating a bunch of vocabulary learning materials and spent way too much time thinking deeply about how we learn new vocab and how to teach it. My story: basically, via word of mouth, people with kids taking the SSAT and the SAT kept asking me for my materials which I continually iterated on as I got feedback. It wasn't my day job, lol, it wasn't even a side hustle.... just an obsession :) As I shared my "system", I kept dreaming of even better ways to make vocab learning effective, easy, and fun.

      Some interesting things about learning vocab. The "keyword method" is extremely effective. (The keyword method is associating a target word with a similar-sounding word (the "keyword") and then creating a vivid mental image connecting the keyword with the target word.) [Ávila & Sadoski, 1996; Shapiro & Waters, 2005]. Further, connecting the new word and its meaning to your own personal experience is much effective than rote memorization. ("...engaging in deeper semantic processing and relating information to personal experiences can activate distinct neural circuits compared to those involved in rote memorization." [Andreasen, O'Leary, Cizadlo, Arndt, Rezai, Watkins, Ponto, & Hichwa, 1995]).

      There are a lot of other cool things I discovered on my (research-obsessive) path to make learning vocab radically easier. A core driver for me has always been thinking about the epistemology of word-learning. What does it mean to "know" a word? "Knowing" a definition is different from truly knowing a word, where you can deploy it effortlessly when the context is right. That led to endless rabbit holes of learning about polysemy, colocations, and a whole lot more.

      The first day I saw Dalle my jaw dropped. This was it! This was the missing piece for learning vocab 2x, 3x, 4x(?) more efficiently than has ever been possible. The image generation AI tools can make a custom image that packs in your own favorite keyword mnemonic and your own personal story into a cool image. Whoa! Because what has been my total obsession could finally be created in the real world, I teamed up with two good friends with the technical chops to build what had been percolating in my brain for six years. We've built a beta version over the last four months and it is ready to test!

      I love Tildes, and I don't want to self-promote, so I am not going to drop the app name / website, but I am here with an ask. We want feedback! We want to make this the dream app for anyone who is serious about growing their (English) vocab. We want you in our beta test group.

      The commitment I'm asking of our beta testers is a bit onerous. I want to hop on a zoom call with you while you use the app for an hour or so and have you tell me what you love and hate. I want to ask you a bunch of questions about what you want to see in your dream learning app. Then I want to give you the app for a month a two; hopefully you'll use it and learn a bunch of words; then I want to hop on a 20 minute call with you and get your hot take on the whole thing.

      It is such an intense passion project for me; I want to make the app just rock-your-world-awesome. That's why I want to do live user interviews. (Which is a little out of the ordinary for sure.) And I can't do that without talking to real people who care about growing their vocab who are willing to hang out with me for an hour or two. :)

      As a thanks for your help, when we go to the paid version, you'll get three months free, and a massive lifetime "friends and family" discount. But more than that, you'll really impact what we build next, and how we can make it better. While it's maybe a little idealistic, or might even sound silly to some, I feel like better vocab = better communication = better relationships. So I am all-in, fervently devoted, and hopeful that you'll come along for the ride and help me make it epic.

      Who is it for? Studying for standardized tests? Oh yeah. This will help a lot. Want to raise the ceiling on what you can read. Let's go! Want to improve your English skills? This is for you. Love words. Yep! I'd love to meet you! Basically, if you love words, and/or have something coming up that requires that you know more words, I really hope you'll be part of our test!

      More interesting stuff about vocabulary:
      --Average high school graduate has a vocab size of 16,000 words
      --Average college grad, 20,000 words
      --Average PhD. 28,000 words

      Tildes is a very smart and well read group, so I' bet the average vocab size around here is 25,000 to 35,000. Want to know your (approximate) vocab size. One of the best (easy and fast) tests is here:
      (I have nothing to do with that site or company, and do not endorse them. It's just that their vocab size estimator is really well done.)

      Want to be a beta tester, or just talk more about vocab, shoot me a message!

      11 votes