Mormonism, Oresteia, Colorado, Twitter, Genesis

Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

Artificial Intelligence And LDS Cosmology

Jeremiah | We Are Not Saved | 8th October 2016

Mormon theologian illuminates ethical questions about artificial intelligence by reframing them in religious terms. “You can imagine the most benevolent researcher possible, and he won’t let a superintelligent AI out unless he is certain it can be trusted. What does he do with an AI who he suspects cannot be trusted? He can destroy it, but more benevolent not to. If he keeps it around, it has to remain closed off from the wider world. When compared with the AI’s potential, is not that Hell?” (3,100 words)

The Atreides vs The Ancient Greeks

Ann Finkbeiner | Last Word On Nothing | 17th July 2017

We revere the Ancient Greeks. We revere their literature. But what does the bloodthirsty Oresteia say about Greek values? “I started to wonder about the strange discrepancy between these revenge-addled murderers and the rational, educated ancient Greeks. Maybe the ancient Greeks told these stories as a way for intelligent, perceptive, civilized people to remember the lethality of their heritage, to not forget that the alternative to law and rationality is real, alive, and always present” (710 words)

Under Siege

Lois Beckett | Guardian | 14th July 2017

In the Colorado mining town of Nucla, locals “still talk fondly” of the town’s dog-shooting contest in 1990, which attracted “dozens of animal rights activists and made the pages of People magazine”. After Sandy Hook, while America agonised over gun control, Nucla passed a law requiring every household to own a gun. Why so? Part of the answer lies an hour down the road: The ski-town of Telluride is a redoubt of billionaire liberalism. Nucla is everything that Telluride is not (5,100 words)

Unfight Club

Ian Leslie | Medium | 14th July 2017

Seven rules for civilising Twitter. Worth doing, because Twitter is our modern version of the Athenian Agora, which brings diverse voices together, sharpens our thinking through argument, and humanises members of other tribes. “That fat Tory bastard you hate turns out to make you chuckle on a daily basis”. So: Listen to your opponents, stand up for your them, address their arguments, and beware the “moral surge” which comes from condemning class enemies. Viciousness is never a virtue (1,600 words)

Translating Genesis

Sam Bray | Volokh Conspiracy | 17th July 2017

Law professor discusses problems of translation, with particular reference to the Book of Genesis. The temptation is always to enrich the text by using synonyms to avoid repetition and replacing bland words such as “have” and “be” with more purposeful ones. But doing so risks losing the structure and music of the original. When Genesis says, “All the flying things after their kind, all birds, all winged things”, we hear in the tautology the “exuberant delight in the abundance of flying things” (1,150 words)

Video of the day: A SIngle Life

What to expect:

Animation. What if life was a vinyl record, and you could move the needle? (2’17”)

Thought for the day

Growing old is like being increasingly penalised for a crime you haven’t committed
Anthony Powell

Join 150,000+ curious readers who grow with us every day

No spam. No nonsense. Unsubscribe anytime.

Great! Check your inbox and click the link to confirm your subscription
Please enter a valid email address!
You've successfully subscribed to The Browser
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in
Could not sign in! Login link expired. Click here to retry
Cookies must be enabled in your browser to sign in