Nothing Breaks Like A.I. Heart

An essay about artificial intelligence, emotional intelligence, and finding an ending.

By the time I got access to the model, it was late July, 2020. In the fifth month of quarantine, having recently moved home to face my teenage journals, I wasn’t sure if I missed talking to strangers or to Omar. But I wanted to know if, with enough prodding, I could turn GPT-3 into either, or at least convince myself that I had.

Dana Goodyear is a staff writer for The New Yorker and host of the new podcast Lost Hills.

“I do find people who take risks—artistic and physical or even intellectual risks—really interesting. ... There are so many people that I have written about who take a really long time with their projects, whether years or decades, and they might or might not work out. ... They just don't go along with what's received, and they—at a great personal cost—often do things that are very different. And then those things are the things in our world that are the most fascinating or feel the most human.”

Thanks to Mailchimp and CaseFleet for sponsoring this week's episode.

The Redemption of Justin Bieber

“And while maybe you don’t care if Justin Bieber ever does make his way back to a kind of normalcy, perhaps you can admit there is at least something admirable, in the abstract, about someone finding a way to survive, and even to become kind, when all they’ve been taught since a young age, by millions of adoring people, is that there is no need for them to be kind at all. And if that doesn’t move you, then maybe you can at least find sociological interest in the process that Bieber is about to recount here, which is how you turn into someone you don’t want to be, and what you do about it once you decide you want to be someone else. Someone better, even.”

Albert Samaha is an investigative journalist and the deputy inequality editor at BuzzFeed News. His book Concepcion: An Immigrant Family's Fortunes comes out in October.

“I don’t think any child of the recession will ever not feel precarious. And being in journalism makes that even more so. ... At this point I’ve embraced the precarity of working in this industry. I’m sure at some point it’s going to be grating for people to hear me talk about how precarious and insecure I feel. … But I’ve got too many friends who are way too talented, who can’t use that talent in the ways that they are passionate about, for me to ever feel like my place in this industry is fully cemented.”

Thanks to Mailchimp and CaseFleet for sponsoring this week's episode.