robot pianist2

Mass-producing intimacy

All of us need to open a new folder on our desktops called “AI”.

Or “Eh-eye?” if we’re still not sure that artificial intelligence will overwhelm our 2,500-year-old ideas of reading and writing and creativity.

Into this folder, we should drop any article or video that catches our interest about the future of AI. We should fill it up once a week at least, no matter how despairing the prediction about AI is. Ever since ChatGTP made us aware that climate change is not our only existential crisis, I’ve been avoiding those who say we will soon be enslaved by our technology, and avidly reading those who say AI will be our salvation.

But at what other time in history have humans (at least those of us who can read and write) been able to not only be bystanders at the revolution, but players in it? Indeed, our participation is compulsory. We’ve all been drafted. So best that we at least learn what the rules will be, and how they’ll change because they’ll change faster than any other revolution in history. And for those of us who crave a ring-side seat to history, here’s your chance.

Here’s what I dropped into my AI folder this week:

1. An article in Vice on what happens when you ask AI to control your life.

2. Toronto author Stephen Marche wrote a novel, Death of an Author, using three large language models.

3. “We have no moat.” Meaning, we have no way to protect ourselves from our rivals. This, from a leaked Google document that claims open source AI will outcompete Google and Open AI, the creators of ChatGPT.

4. An insightful blog by Toronto lawyer and LinkedIn executive Jake Hirsch-Allen on how Canada can have a role in global AI governance.


1. Elephants on a trampoline. They’re part of an all-African team training for the Paris Olympics next summer, as is this giraffe diving team.

And in another sporting arena is this 211-shot rally that just wouldn’t end.

2. Why men lose their friends. A quarter of British men say they have no close friends and nearly half don’t talk to their friends about their problems. In the US, just 27% say they have at least six close male friends, down from 55% in 1990. As one psychologist said: “Men don’t do deep emotional discussions about friendships.”

3. What the US Surgeon-General says about social media. The report by Dr. Vivek Murthy claimed a “profound risk of harm” to the mental health of kids and teens. Adolescents who spend more than 3 hours per day on social media face double the risk of depression and anxiety.

4. Three thrilling things to try:

Dive down to The Titanic. You can do it in a submersible as part of a scientific expedition organized by Oceangate Expeditions. It’s an 8-day trip that takes you 500 km southeast of Newfoundland and 12,500 feet below the surface. The cost? $250,000 USD. Gulp.

Join the Navy Seals. Speaking of deep dives, as if it isn’t hard enough to join the most elite fighting force in the world, the New York Times reported that “overzealous instructors, unchecked drug use, and inadequate leadership and medical oversight turned a tough selection course into a dangerous ordeal.” The US Navy then issued this report. Gulp.

Bid on a violin. On June 8th, you can bid on The Empress Caterina, a violin crafted by Antonio Stradivari in 1708 during his Golden Period. Just log on to Tarisio Fine Instruments & Bows in New York. Their last Strad went for $15.9 million. Gulp.

5. Forest bathing has nothing on worm-charming. And the only thing that beats it is competitive worm-charming. Speaking of snakes on a plane, you should try spas on a train.

6. You sues; you lose. Prince Harry lost one and won one in British courts. He lost the right to have private security when he visits Britain; and he won an apology from the Daily Mirror for hacking into his phone.

7. Why can’t we just pay people to take care of nature? The World Economic Forum via the journal Nature Sustainability proposes a radical solution to the climate crisis: an unconditional cash transfer to individuals living in important conservation areas.

Speaking of climate change, this Global Witness video mocks Shell Britain’s 22 pence per citizen rebate in return for its £33 billion in profit. …oh, and at Shell’s AGM on Wednesday.

8. Florida doctors can now refuse treatment. In Canada, doctors can refuse to provide medical assistance in dying based on their strongly-held beliefs. But in Florida, doctors and nurses can now withhold treatment for gender dysphoria, or refuse to prescribe birth control, administer childhood vaccines or accept patients with state insurance. Thank you, Governor DeSantis.

9. Every old book is new again. Re-discovery Lit is a new service that uses AI to engage new readers for books abandoned by the publishing industry.

10. Proud and Pride. Tina does Proud Mary, and the Toronto Symphony welcomes its first-ever drag headliner, Thorgy Thor, for Pride Week, at Roy Thomson Hall on June 11th.

11. What I’m liking and what other readers maybe aren’t: Henry Kissinger.




Here are the trips RamsayTravels is hosting in the coming months.

Jean and I invite you to come with us on any (and all) of them.

You should join our happy band of gentle adventurers because…..? …..the sights and tastes and lessons and sweet surprises on these trips are exceeded only by your fellow travelers who are doing the same thing.

So, in order of appearance…

October 2-10, 2023 — Bicycling and the Kardamyli Literary Festival in Greece.

February 25 – March 9, 2024 — Lindblad Expedition to the South Pacific.

May 29 – June 5, 2024 — Northern Italy under Sail, aboard the Sea Cloud II.

September 2-9, 2024 — Lindblad Expedition to the Great Bear Rainforest.

Just e-mail Bob Ramsay at if you have questions.

Thanks for coming this far with us.

Bob Ramsay

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