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Religion and Philosophy

Readers Write

Changing Your Mind

About a career, about college, about living in America

By Our Readers November 2022
The Sun Interview

Under The Surface

Güven Güzeldere On The Mysteries Of Consciousness And Artificial Intelligence

Cohen: This summer, a Google engineer named Blake Lemoine caused controversy by disclosing a conversation with an AI called LaMDA, or “Language Model for Dialog Applications.” The conversation seemed to suggest this AI system had some awareness of itself, but the idea was dismissed by a number of people who work with such systems.

Güzeldere: It’s interesting that Google fired the guy who published that conversation. . . . People are saying, “Oh, it’s just a hack,” but it’s a very impressive hack. I think it will become a product that will be accepted by consumers.

By Finn Cohen November 2022
Poetry

He Arrived In A Hollowed-Out Studebaker Lark

We also had eyes for his car. You had to give up / all possessions to live here, George fine with that — / he’d just spent two cross-country months in the thing, / its front bucket seat removed for sleeping purposes — / and now an actual Lark was our newest town-runner.

By Rupert Fike October 2022
Quotations

Sunbeams

Americans, like human beings everywhere, believe many things that are obviously untrue. . . . Their most destructive untruth is that it is very easy for any American to make money. They will not acknowledge how in fact hard money is to come by, and, therefore, those who have no money blame and blame and blame themselves. This inward blame has been a treasure for the rich and powerful, who have had to do less for their poor, publicly and privately, than any other ruling class since, say, Napoleonic times.

Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

October 2022
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Messages

In the months following Mom’s death in February 2021, I tried to get her to say something to me, to speak to me. If anyone could communicate from beyond, I thought, it was her.

By Morgan Talty August 2022
Poetry

Jump

Because my car is twenty years old / and the gizmo that goes ding ding ding / when you leave the lights on / has been busted for at least a decade, / I’m always contending with a comatose battery.

By Alison Luterman August 2022
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Siri Tells A Joke

My husband had been sick long enough, a string of years, that I’d begun to think of his diagnosis as a rumor. He was interminably terminally ill. Until he wasn’t.

By Debra Gwartney June 2022
The Sun Interview

In Vino Veritas

Edward Slingerland On The Hidden Truths About Our Relationship With Alcohol

What if . . . our taste for alcohol has been strengthened and preserved in our gene pool for functional reasons? Then we might look at intoxication not as a side note but as part of the story of what makes us human.

By Derek Askey June 2022
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Without Ceasing

You never grew tired of watching her work. You loved the hum of the machine, the sawdust that stuck to her sleeve, and how she bent her head over the wood like something swan. You knew she was sharing something intimate with you. You were witnessing prayer.

By Sophie Ezzell May 2022
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Every Baby Needs To Be Rocked

I want to help carry the burden when it is heaviest. The dying patients and their families need time with a compassionate stranger: someone they don’t have to expend their fragile energy to try to support or protect.

By Barbara Woodmansee April 2022