"You may also like..."

Justin E. H. Smith for The Point — “It is one thing to target infants with material that presumes no well-constituted human subject as its viewer; it is quite another when thirty-somethings with Ph.D.s are content to debate the merits of the Marvel vs. the DC Comics universe or whatever. If I were an algorithm, and I encountered an adult human happily watching Spiderman, I would greet that human with a “You may also like…” offer to next watch “Johnny Johnny Yes Papa” on a ten-hour loop. That is how worthless and stunting I think this particular genre of cultural production is.”

Further reading: Smith’s follow-up to critics.

The café: not to be noticed, but remembered

“What is yet unpredicted has to consolidate into something obvious, so obvious that the guest may ask: for this you really needed an architect? Which indeed is the greatest compliment possible. After all, a café is not to be noticed, but remembered. It should be precisely to the point, and not annoy by pretentious ambitions.”

—Hermann Czech, in Christoph Grafe and Franziska Bollerey (Ed.): Cafés and Bars. The Architecture of Public Display; New York-London (Routledge) 2007, p. 94-96.

Nietzsche on the New Year

From Die fröhliche Wissenschaft — "I still live, I still think; I must still live, for I must still think. Sum, ergo cogito: cogito, ergo sum. Today everyone takes the liberty of expressing his wish and his favourite thought: well, I also mean to tell what I have wished for myself to day, and what thought first crossed my mind this year, a thought which ought to be the basis, the pledge and the sweetening of all my future life! I want more and more to perceive the necessary characters in things as the beautiful: I shall thus be one of those who beautify things. Amor fati: let that henceforth be my love! I do not want to wage war with the ugly. I do not want to accuse, I do not want even to accuse the accusers. Looking aside, let that be my sole negation! And all in all, to sum up: I wish to be at any time hereafter only a yes sayer!"

"At 58, Bobby Fischer is frighteningly strong at blitz."

From Martin Krabbé’s open chess diary, 2001. Fischer is supposed to have given up chess long before 2000; rumors have circulated that Fischer secretly competed online against highly ranked opponents.

Nothing more refreshing than a change of opinions, or as a friend of mine says: "I take back everything I said and claim the opposite." 

There were two candidates who could be the mysterious guest who beats masters and grandmasters with his sick openings - Fischer and a computer. In item 134, I said he couldn't be Fischer, but in the meantime, I found convincing evidence that he is not a computer. 

I found this evidence in a series of twenty-five 3-minute blitz games that 'guest71' played on 24 April 2001 against 'Beber', the French IM Robert Fontaine, who had then an ICC rating of 2827, and who has now a FIDE-rating of 2452. guest71, always with absurd openings, won 20 games, lost 3, and two games were drawn. 


To think that a computerized impostor would sometimes take a minute for a forced move to suggest that he's Bobby Fischer, would be too far-fetched. He must be Fischer, and he does this kind of thing to increase the odds he's already giving with his openings; he's also known to have added time to his opponents' clocks.

At 58, Bobby Fischer is frighteningly strong at blitz.


Anatomy of a Midwesternism:

“Honestly, ope is barely a word, and more of a guttural reaction; it almost sounds like a tiny heave. It effectively translates to, “I don’t mean to bother you or anyone around me, ever, but I’ve noticed…” Ope is less of a word, and more of a reflex. It can communicate excitement or awkwardness or surprise or an apology or even urgency. It’s an interruption in the most discreet way possible. Where the Italians have prego as their linguistically fluid go-to word, we have ope.”

(Grace Perry, Chicago Magazine)

Horowitz on intellect, heart, and technique

For me, the intellect is always the guide but not the goal of the performance. Three things have to be coordinated and not one must stick out. Not too much intellect because it can become scholastic. Not too much heart because it can become schmaltz. Not too much technique because you become a mechanic. Always there should be a little mistake here and there—I am for it. The people who don't do mistakes are cold like ice. It takes risk to make a mistake. If you don't take risk, you are boring. These youngsters who win a competition are like the assembly line. Every trill is so perfect but everyone is the same and in 10 minutes you will be bored and go home.

—Vladimir Horowitz, 1978

The first piece of AI-generated art to come to auction

Art made by The Discriminator and CAN artificial intelligence agents

‘I am surprised by the output every time I run it,’ says Elgammal. ‘An interesting question is: why is so much of the CAN’s art abstract? I think it is because the algorithm has grasped that art progresses in a certain trajectory. If it wants to make something novel, then it cannot go back and produce figurative works as existed before the 20th century. It has to move forward. The network has learned that it finds more solutions when it tends toward abstraction: that is where there is the space for novelty.’

Making = Letting, Making vs. Letting

From the Evasion-English Dictionary by Maggie Balistreri:

Technology doesn’t make me do anything, it lets me do anything. It enables me to see someone face-to-face and it spares me from seeing someone face-to-face. It lets me connect or avoid. . . . Half the people in my life have never used a keyboard. They aren’t necessarily better at conversation than the rest of us are.

Stan Carey's commentary on the above:

This discussion comes in the chapter making = letting, which then offers a series of choice examples: ‘Social media is making us become self-obsessed narcissists’; ‘The availability of online shopping is making people shop less in brick-and-mortar stores’. Inviting us to replace one word with the other – the evasive with the evaded – is a fun way to illustrate and reinforce the point.