As I waded into my daily reading, once again feeling overwhelmed by all that is going on in the world, trying to focus on just the issues of what this and AIgitated are about, I fought back the voice in my head saying to do myself a favor and get away from all this. It’s not healthy. It’s time to retire, enjoy myself doing what I want, and shut out as much of the world as possible.
Fat chance, even if that were possible.
So here we are in our present day, vexed by unresolvable old issues and concerns of our making as we face yet another new challenge of “the future.”
As I was tweaking the Announcement page today, thinking I would be cleverly Melvillian about being addressed as TOG, another bit of literature popped into my head that is just as prescient today as it was when Dickens wrote it. It’s a reminder that the more things change, the more they remain the same:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
It’s like he and Marley’s ghost have been hanging out incognito all these years, hoisting heavenly pints, watching and realizing that even in this AI-infiltrated, infested, and infected world, he doesn’t have to change a word. He probably realizes that his works have helped to train AI, and IT will likely do it for him when someone asks a chatbot to rewrite, summarize, and outline the above.
I prefer to think instead that perhaps it was he who magically and mysteriously implanted into the brain of someone in our era a rephrasing of his timeless observation as the modern and concise expression “same stuff; different day”… or something like that…I probably didn’t quote it correctly.