All posts filed under: Web/Tech

The Human in AI – Comment Magazine

Current Affairs / Religion / Web/Tech

Having co-written a piece with Kirk Smith on some practical ways that AI might be useful in small church ministry; I feel like I should point people to this longer, much more thoughtful article by Prof. Walter J. Scheirer on how AI might impact what it is to be a human being in the years to come: The Human in AI – Comment Magazine: The Portuguese political scientist Bruno Maçães has argued in his recent […]

How to Mastodon (for Episcopalians especially)


Are you wondering how to get started with the newish social media platform that is usually called “Mastodon”? Well, I’ve written a started guide that you might find helpful. It’s targeted to people who are already familiar with using other social media services, and who might be the sort of people who follow this blog. Social Media and Mastodon People use social media for different reasons. That’s important to keep in mind. Some people are […]

I am *not* text messaging you asking you to buy gift cards…


I’ve heard from people around the state of Rhode Island today that they’ve been contacted by text message by someone claiming to be me and asking them to buy gift cards and send them to me. That’s not me. Really. I wouldn’t ask you to do that.  That scam has been going around for years using email. Generally the message misspells my last name or gets my title wrong, and it’s never from my […]

Mozilla Social Private Beta Launch

Current Affairs / Web/Tech

Content moderation is the hard part of any online social platform. It was a big problem early on with email and email lists, with Usenet, and with any chatroom. It’s a problem on websites, particularly discussion sites and lately with social media. Each platform has its own challenges, but they all have the common issue of dealing with giving jerks a big megaphone to be jerks to others. (Human sinfulness, etc.) There have been all […]

‘Godfather of AI’ quits Google with regrets and fears about his life’s work – The Verge

Climate Change / Web/Tech

A few months ago, I was part of a team that made a presentation to the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church about the intersection of the Science, Technology and Faith. It was, as is typical, a wide-ranging conversation. But during the Q&A session, one bishop asked me, “given what I know, what keeps me up at night with worry about the future?”  My answer was “The misuse of Artificial Intelligence.” I stand by that. […]

Luddites: It’s not technology, it’s what it does to human dignity.

Current Affairs / Web/Tech

I’ve misunderstood the Luddites. The point they were making back then is still valid today. From an essay by Cory Doctorow: As Merchant explains, the Luddites were anything but technophobes: they were skilled high-tech workers whose seven-year apprenticeships were the equivalent to getting a Master’s in Engineering from MIT. Their objection to powered textile machines had nothing to do with fear of the machines: rather, it was motivated by a clear-eyed understanding of how factory […]

Seth Abramson: The Collapse of a Digital Nation: What the Demise of Twitter Means to the Internet and the World Beyond It / Post.


The Collapse of a Digital Nation: What the Demise of Twitter Means to the Internet and the World Beyond It / Post.: What makes the internet magical is that it is ultimately us, not itself. We decide when and where and how the “magic” of the internet will happen. We do it slowly, over time, and collectively. Often haltingly, yes, with diversions and backward leaps interspersed with forward momentum, but we do do it. And […]

Marcus Hutchins: I Was Wrong About Mastodon


I Was Wrong About Mastodon: The crucial mistake of social media was trying to force people with wildly incompatible views to co-exist in the same space. In real-life, I can choose who I associate with. Now, I’m most certainly not looking for an echo chamber. I need my views to be questioned and debated, but it must be by people capable of civil discourse. We should discuss, we should reassess, we should admit when we’re […]

Grammarly desktop update – now appearing everywhere


This is a quick note that will only be important to a few of you, I imagine. As you probably have noticed by now, grammar is not my strongest gift. I sometimes struggle (ofttimes?) to get the words to communicate the thoughts I want to express. I’ve subscribed to Grammarly for a while now, but it’s been hard to access the service when writing on a desktop computer. (Either a windows pc or a Macintosh.) […]

Twitter and the collapse of coalitions.

Centrists / Futurism / Reconciliation / SOSc / Web/Tech

Walter Ong, a Jesuit who studied linguistics was fascinated by the difference between oral and literary cultures. Oral cultures value one sort of communication structure and literate ones another. (The difference is explained in The Atlantic article by Robinson Meyer linked below.) Twitter (and to a similar degree Facebook, and I guess in a way even Instagram and Snapchat) represents an intersection between the oral and literary communication paradigms. Meyer writes: Before Ong died in […]