Liberalism, AI, Martina Navratilova, Theatre, Publicity

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John Gray | TLS | 27th March 2018

Should liberalism tolerate illiberalism? It may be a long-standing contradiction in theory, but in practice it is being resolved in favour of illiberalism — with a twist. Western liberals are silencing views that they consider illiberal, thus becoming illiberals themselves. We are witnessing a triumph of August Comte over J.S. Mill within the liberal tradition. Comte wanted “an intellectual orthodoxy with the power to impose itself on society”, a dogma which horrified the pluralist Mill (4,110 words)

We Are Here To Create

Kai-Fu Lee | Edge | 26th March 2018

Overview of the development of artificial intelligence. Attempts to build rule-based AI in the 1960s and 1970s proved a dead end. The first neural-network models were developed in the 1980s, but failed for want of enough training data. When very big data arrived in the past decade thanks mainly to Google, neural networks made a great leap forward. We now have weak AI. That is one great leap in 50 years. It does not imply exponential progress towards superhuman AI (5,900 words)

Martina Navratilova On Shaping Herself

Tyler Cowen | Conversations with Tyler | 28th March 2018

Interview. Topics include the evolution of tennis, the sporting life, gender, pay-parity, communism, parenting, coming out, being Czech, being American, diet. Interesting throughout. “The biggest thing in doubles is, cover the middle. People cover the line too much, and you may get passed once or twice down the line, but you will get 15 balls go through the middle. You can always blame it on your partner, right? So people guard the line with their life, and they leave the middle too open” (12,400 words)

Breaking Down In The West End

Richard Howle | Stage | 28th March 2018

Deep dive into the financials of staging a big musical in London. Your show will cost about £3.5 million to create, financed by angel investors, and £250,000 a week to run. At eight performances a week in a 1,500-seat theatre you could break even by selling all 12,000 tickets for an average of £28, but with no returns to investors. If you price tickets at up to £100, with a view to selling most of them at £70, then with a 60% house your investors get their money back after 18 months (2,700 words)

I’m Looking To Hire A Publicist

Paul Bogaards | On Public Relations | 28th March 2018

Satire, but only just, marvelling at the qualities expected in a book publicist. “The ideal candidate for this position will have had previous experience working as a magician. You will be given books to work on that have no possibility of becoming bestsellers, and yet the operating expectation is that all of them will list. You will live a life of sadness and defeat. You will learn to cry. The director is looking for someone to step into his role because he is tired of weeping” (2,240 words)

Video of the day The Preciousness Of Time

What to expect:

Tribute to Stephen Hawking, produced by John Boswell

Thought for the day

Writing was invented by accountants
Philip Hensher

Podcast of the day A Crane With A Crush | Sidedoor

Conversation with Chris Crowe, keeper of birds at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
(23m 24s)

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