This essay is slightly tangential to my usual fare, but it is prompted by a most amazing video that convinced me that the impact of AI this time is not hype, but rather a real threat to our society. I found the video at 3 Quarks Daily and it was of Johnny Cash singing a song called “Barbie Girl” to the tune of his trademark Folsom Prison Blues—only it wasn’t the late Johnny Cash (1932–2003), it was AI!
See Voice Stealing
(Update 11/2/2023) I was wondering why the seeming lack of interest in this post, and then I tried the link to the video and found it has been removed from the public. There must be a reason, probably copyright issues somewhere, so even though I got a copy when it was public, I don’t think I should post it. This is really too bad, since it is in incredible example of what may be our dystopian future. I just rooted around and found another link that seems to be working. I have updated the text above.
One of the physics blogs I enjoy reading is by the mathematical physicist Peter Woit, called Not Even Wrong. A recent post provided a tantalizing teaser:
“I want to [link to] an insightful explanation of the history of string theory, discussing the implications of how it was sold to the public. It’s by a wonderful young physicist I had never heard of before, Angela Collier. She has a Youtube channel, and her latest video is string theory lied to us and now science communication is hard.
… It’s as hilarious as it is brilliant, and you have to see for yourself.”
Collier delivered her talk lucidly and thoroughly—all while playing a frenetic video game! She claimed she used the length of the game to time her talk. Of course we can walk and talk, and ride bicycles and talk, but I have never seen anyone split their mental concentration between a fast-paced video game and an esoteric physics explanation of the history of string theory and supersymmetry—for over 50 minutes! And there was something about her presentation that was completely captivating. It was definitely a serious scientific talk, but the ludicrousness of the game-playing echoed how ridiculous the continued, misplaced fascination with string theory is. Naturally I had to learn more about this provocative physicist.
See A New Day