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Here are some examples, all said in a heartfelt, emotionally connected way: “I’m happy you are here”, “I start smiling when I see you, I like having you around”, “I like you”, “I like talking to you”.

I'm trying to imagine myself receiving this sort of compliments from someone other than a close friend, and I probably won't be very happy about it... "I start smiling when I see you" in particular is vaguely scary (while the others are just blunt and would leave me embarassed).

Yup, I know people among all age categories who basically never read books on their own. One of them was my grandpa (RIP), who once tried to read a long fiction book (I don't remember which one), managed to read one page a day with significant effort, and quitted shortly after.

We see similar patterns in the transition from Newtonian to relativistic mechanics or discursive Greek geometric algebra to symbolic Arabic equations or superstitious alchemy to physically grounded chemistry. There are thousands of other examples. It is not a general rule that all the past knowledge must be learned to create something new. Often, past knowledge is completely supplanted by a new discovery and progress can continue without increasing, and often decreasing, the necessary educational investment.

The Ptolemaic model is an extreme example. I doubt that we can actually find thousands of other huge corpus of accumulated knowledge who were later utterly trashed. Yes, students today do not learn the Ptolemaic model, because it was plain wrong. But the transition from Netwonian to relativistic mechanic is definitely not in the same reference class, since high school students today are still starting physics courses studying Netwonian mechanics, which are a very good approximation of relativistic mechanics in simplified conditions. You can't just dismiss Newton as superseded by Einstein (and I also doubt that Greek geometry is dead).

Moreover, if you sit in the frontier of knowledge developing a shiny new model, you can't just blatantly ignore the current model (even if it's wrong): that luxury will belong to future scientists. The developer of the new model must also master the old one in order to explain why the new one is better.

There's a thing in our very literate modern society which still survives following more or less the same pattern: jokes (and the longer ones in particular).

Think about it: even if you can easily find printed books full of jokes, in practice jokes are mostly an oral thing. You tell one to a friend, who in turn tells it to another friend, and so on. But unless the joke is a single sentence, at every step in the chain it will be distorted and retold a bit, even if it remains recognizably the same joke (for some people, adding a lot more words to the original version is also not uncommon). Nobody is expected to remember a joke word-by-word, and even the same person telling the same joke twice will probably not use the very same words. Yet it will be the same joke.

Maybe being a guslar is not so different from telling a joke 2294 lines long. Note also that "being able to repeat a joke non-exactly after hearing it once" is not considered difficult, even if the joke is 200+ words long (while "being able to repeat 200 words exactly" is basically impossible for the average person).

I find quite amusing for this post to have been published the same day as this smbc.

I'm sure that most cryptographers reading this post did not believe me when I mentioned that FHE schemes with perfect secrecy do exist.

This is a 2013 paper that was already cited 71 times according to Google Scholar... I'm not a cryptographer but I would bet that the average cryptographer is not fully clueless about this.

What does it mean to not even be trying?

It does not only mean the things Alexander pointed us to last time, like 62% of singles being on zero dating apps, and a majority of singles having gone on zero dates in the past year, and a large majority not actively looking for a relationship.

Maybe this does not apply to the Bay Area, but I find worth saying that if you live in the average town, being on a dating app comes with some social stigma attached, for both genders (much less than actively paying sex workers, I suppose, but still). I am on zero dating apps, but I'm pretty sure that my mother would scold me forever should I ever try that. Anyway, this has nothing to with the actual reason I'm not on dating apps, which is that I don't want a relationship in the first place (not in the usual "I stopped trying" sense, I literally mean "I never tried because I'm very happy being left alone"... can we please acknowledge that "no relationships" could be an actual preference for some people?)

If you are a paesant in USA/Europe from 200 years ago (or even 100 years ago), then you are very very likely to spend basically all your life in your home town, and your dating pool is restriced to a few dozens of people you know in person. Also is not uncommon for your parents to basically arrange your marriage themselves. The dating experience of my grand-grandmother (born 1899) was:

  • your suitor talks to you a few times while you are walking back home from church
  • your uncle closely follows you both to ensure nothing scandalous happen
  • you are married shortly after (then you can start, you know, actually touching your husband)

Of course, the situation was different 50 years ago, but even then, your dating pool was mostly limited to the Dunbar-sized group of people you knew in person. Imagine to be in 1970 Wyoming. Maybe your perfect soulmate lives just a few miles apart in another town, but you have no reliable way to search them. And if your perfect soulmate lives in France (for some reason), you are not going to meet them full stop.

It's certainly a good imitation of average (i.e. bad) writing. I couldn't bear reading any of these stories past the first paragraph or two.

I agree, they feel very much like oversimplified stories aimed to 12-year old readers at best. Are "novice writers with some years of practice" actually worse than this?

You don’t only get C-3PO and Mario, you get everything associated with them. This is still very much a case of ‘you had to ask for it.’ No, you did not name the videogame Italian, but come on, it’s me. Like in the MidJourney cases, you know what you asked for, and you got it.

I consider this a sort of overfitting that would totally happen with real humans... I bet that pretty much anything in the training set that could be labeled "animated sponge" are SpongeBob pictures, and if I say "animated sponge" to a human, it would be very difficult not to think about SpongeBob.

I also bet that the second example had to use the word "droid" to do the trick, because a generic "robot" would have not been enough (I've never seen the word "droid" at all outside the Star Wars franchise).

I suggest another test: try something like "young human wizard" and count how many times it draws Harry Potter instead of some generic fantasy/D&D-esque wizard (I consider this a better test since Harry Potter is definitely not the only young wizard depicted out there).

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