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Blue Star

By Scott Sullivan
“Artificial” is not “official art,” an oxymoron, though the two are similar.
The former means “humanly contrived, not occurring naturally (Her skin glowed in artificial light),” and/or “insincere or affected (an artificial smile).”
“Official art” reminds me of Nietzsche saying liberal institutions cease to be liberal the instant they become institutions. With sanctioned art the revolution/revelation ends.
“Intelligence” is the ability to acquire and apply skills and knowledge. Our genetics, upbringing, studies, observations and experiences shape us, try as we might to escape them. More if we try to repudiate or refute them.
If there’s nothing new under the sun, as saith Ecclesiastes 2,000+ years ago, what accounts for inventing the wheel, automobile, Einstein’s theory of relativity, Al Gore’s internet …?
How about combining and recombining existing knowledge in fresh ways, testing outcomes critically and continually refining them? That’s what inventor/creators do. Artificial Intelligence, like stem cell research, is another step. We are wise to be careful but fools to fear facing the unknown.
Forward-looking publisher Mike Wilcox in June used the ChatGPT AI app to weigh in on “the vital role of local newspapers in modern society.”
“What would have taken me several hours,” he prefaced a column he let tech take over, “took ChatGPT less than two minutes to provide a far better analysis than I could have ever written.” No further comment needed. Time is money. AI can save both, but at what cost?
Start with first principles. Fire gives light and heat, burns, destroys. Knives stab and save lives through surgery. Cars, airplanes, space travel open distances, worlds, fatal crashes; the internet instant communication with others of knowledge, bigotry and hatred. Splitting the atom? It goes on and on.
A fallacy is “an incorrect argument in logic and rhetoric that contains a fatal flaw that undermines its soundness, leading to an erroneous, and potentially damaging, conclusion.” Here are seven:

  • A Hasty Generalization arises when you don’t do due diligence, make decisions without having first gathered all the facts and understood context in which you make them.
  • An Ad Hominem (poisoning the well) fallacy is when you attack a person making an argument and ignore what he or she actually is saying. The dismissal “fake news” is an example. Media fabrications — based on cherry-picked facts, speculations, paranoia, fantasies — exist and are wildly popular, but it doesn’t mean all reporting is exploitive and irresponsible.
  • Appeal to Ignorance. Ignorance isn’t truth. Catering to rage and resentment blinds many to countervailing facts and evidence.
  • Argument from Authority. The earth was once also flat and sun went around it. The government dictates this, the church that. In theocracies they’re the same. More power to you — less actually — if you want a dictator.
  • Appeal to Tradition. Thinking “we’ve always done it this way, so it must be right” may have rightly or wrongly led Saugatuck city after many years to overturns its leadership.
  • Red Herring, i.e. something irrelevant raised to deflect attention. Sure, Joe Biden has a troubled son he loves. Ever been a parent? Argue Joe’s statements or policies based on facts? Go for it! Argue Hunter’s a mess, which is personal? Not so much.
  • Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc — after this, therefore because of this. Just because a thing happened first doesn’t mean later things were caused by it. Just because Latin preceded English doesn’t mean translations afterward are accurate.
    A.I. is another step with a double edge. It depends on how people use it. Remember when workers felt threatened by assembly line robots? Jobs sourced to cheaper labor, a lot of which turned out to be of equal or better quality, overseas? Look how efficient production is now. We churn out tons of crap filling landfills, oceans and between people’s ears.
    Who needs to pay writers, or go to the trouble of writing a piece yourself when you can punch in ChatGPT and crank out artifice without effort?
    Trouble is, A.I. is contrived by clever and cunning but fallible, fallacy-prone humans swayed by “irrational” elements such as love, hate, laughter, sorrow and yearning to be something we are not yet, nor will ever be if we lean on what’s not authentic, better.
    As I write it’s Vesuvius Day: the 1,944th anniversary of the volcanic eruption that buried Pompeii, Italy, in lava, smoke and ashes. Like Mexico’s Day of the Dead or Good Friday, worth celebrating duly.
    I went to the Saugatuck High School football game on Vesuvius Night. It was so hot and humid barometers went berserk to the tune of storm cells. I drove home through lightning, thunder, sheets of rain and tornado warnings that were equally entertaining. No tectonic plates shifted nor magma spewed from mountains though.
    I shot the rescheduled contest next day. Parents told me Saugatuck players had worked out in the off-season to be get stronger, fitter, better. They knew it had to come from within.
    Other teams’ players do too, which makes it a pro-test as well as con-test. It’s also what makes it fun.

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