A collection, with occasional commentary.

This means two things for you. First, you should be evaluating AI solutions for specific, narrow tasks in your organization and deploying it to fulfill those tasks as rapidly as possible. If, for example, you crank out press releases, AI should be doing all your first drafts now. If you make captions in videos for different language markets, AI should be doing all the translations of those captions. I did a video recently for a friend in French and they said the translation was spot on, helping me be more understandable in their language. For fun, I’ve put Spanish captions into this video as an example. Is the language translation perfect? No. Is it’ usable? Absolutely.

Second, these tools open doors. If you have friends you’ve met online or at in-person events and your language isn’t their native language, you now have a way to communicate with them easily. It won’t be via voice in real-time, but you can absolutely hold a chat conversation in many common languages without needing to speak it and still be understood.

From Almost Timely News, 6 February 2022: Two AI Advances, Dedication, Content Strategy – Christopher S. Penn – Marketing Data Science Keynote Speaker

#Technology #AI #Translation

Cover of Unthinkable by Jamie Raskin.

The title refers to two events: the death by suicide of Jamie Raskin's son and assault on the U.S. Capitol on January 6. The two events weave together in Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy by Congressman Jamie Raskin. This book provides an insiders view of grief, the events of January 6 from a Congressperson who was inside, and then the political view of January 6 from the House Impeachment Manger, who also happens to be a Constitutional law professor. And all of whom are one person, Raskin. So the stories swirl together in a way that makes each more real. All heartbreaking. The book opened up my understanding of events and the power of politics, with the different way that power is used, Donald Trump on one side, Nancy Pelosi on the other.

While I was reading the book, I kept asking myself why Congressman Raskin was writing it. Both stories so raw and painful. And in the end, with the epilogue which is the best part of the book, I realized he was writing it for history. He was writing so neither story would be washed away, glazed over, changed. This book has flaws, of course. Even with them, I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Other perspectives:

  1. Micah Sifry on The Connector
  2. Claudia Grisales for NPR

Logistics: No version of the book was at my local library, so I bought an audio copy from Apple Books. I listened to it while walking Berkeley's early morning streets. Once crying hard enough that another early morning Walker stopped me to ask if I was okay. Book 05 finished 1 February.

#read2022 #JamieRaskin

…Young’s main point here is exactly right: free speech works both ways. It’s correct to argue that Joe Rogan has a right to say whatever he wants on his podcast, and that people who want to listen to his show should be able to. But it’s also correct that Neil Young has a right to make clear that he doesn’t want to be associated with a service that is associated with Rogan, and to publicize his stance. The answer to speech one disagrees with is more speech, and this is more speech.

From Daring Fireball: An Assortment of Links and Observations Regarding the Neil Young –Joe Rogan Spotify Saga

#FreeSpeech #NeilYoung

Read by the author, Sherman Alexie, You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me is moving, funny, personal. Alexie writes about his family, his community, and himself. He writes about public performance as the place where he can be the most unguarded, the most vulnerable. He writes about rape and the looming presence on native lands, Native American people. He writes about rape culture. All of which started sounding different when I learned midway through the book of his own MeToo history.

Other perspectives:

  1. Lorraine Berry for the Guardian
  2. Beth Kephart for the Chicago Tribune

Logistics: I checked out the audiobook from the library and listened to it via Libby. I walked the dog and took pictures, listening during sunrise and late afternoon. Book 04 finished 18 January.

#read2022 #ShermanAlexie

What does nonprofit tech have to do with democracy? From our perspective, nonprofits and civil society play a critical role in holding open the space where inclusive democratic conversations can happen. Technology can help bring people into these vital conversations. This is not about partisan politics or get out to vote efforts. This is about a year-around effort to make sure that the nonprofit constituency is as involved as it can be in the conversations that are going to be setting their fate.

Whether it’s deploying decidedly low-tech solutions such as partnering with libraries to bring social services into the same physical space where these conversations are taking place, or using new technology applications that do multi-criteria decision-making, nonprofit leaders need to gather the opinions and realities of community members to fight for inclusion . This is an issue that needs to be taken on, head on. If we as a sector stay in our lane, our lane is just going to get smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller. And, that’s exactly what we see happening around the world.

From Commentary: Mobility, Complexity and Cybersecurity Drive Tech Landscape – The NonProfit Times


I’ve had Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward on my read list since finishing The Fire Next Time.

This book is heartbreaking. It’s the story of family and love and mythology told through the eyes of a teenage girl as she and her brothers and father get ready for the storm that will be Hurricane Katrina. That we know how bad Katrina will be adds urgency. The physicality of Ward’s writing gives this book a searing intimacy. We feel, through touch, what the narrator feels. It is the best of literature, giving us intimate access to a complete world.

Other perspectives:

  1. Ron Carter in the Washington Post
  2. Carolyn Kellogg in the LA Times

Logistics: I checked the audio book out from the library and listened to while walking the dog on the Berkeley streets, while cooking dinner, and while driving short errands. Book 03 finished 8 January.

#read2022 #JesmynWard

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