Image via Obie Fernandez in “My kids and I just played D&D with ChatGPT4 as the DM

What we’re reading: Dungeons & Dragons & AI

A few stories you may have missed this week

Published in
4 min readApr 7, 2023

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A movie set in the world of the nerdiest pastime ever, “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves,” topped the U.S. box office this past weekend. Artificial intelligence is the biggest technology story of the moment. Where do these two things intersect? In this incredible story about using ChatGPT4 as the dungeon master in a game of D&D with the writer’s children. This is a subject admittedly near and dear to my heart, but I’m mentioning it this week as an example of the upside of generative AI.

As we enter into the fourth month of what people are calling “The Year of AI,” there’s a potent mix of fear, excitement, confusion, and optimism about what will come next. And the fact is, no one knows. A number of tech luminaries wrote an open letter to AI companies last week, asking that their AI exploration be capped at the current level (OpenAI’s GPT4) until some industry guardrails are put in place. One of the signatories, AI expert Rafe Brena, PhD, writes about why he agreed to sign the letter, even though he thinks it’s missing key things. Meanwhile, investor Hunter Walk argues that instead of asking AI companies to slow down, we need to ask them to move even faster by providing safe harbor provisions similar to other laws that have helped enable the internet we know today. And Mia Dand, the founder of Women in AI Ethics, presents a helpful timeline of the recent revolutions in AI ethics to serve as a reminder that “women and others from marginalized communities around the world are fighting an uphill battle to keep humanity safe from the harms of recklessly developed and deployed AI.”

Also: It’s National Poetry Month in the U.S., and we’re celebrating some of the many incredible poets on Medium by collecting and sharing poetry all month long — for more, read “Why Poetry Matters” over on the Medium blog. Poetry’s one topic among many you can explore in depth on Medium; if you’re interested in finding more, please head over to our newly added topics directory. Think of it as a map to Medium, with more to come.

As always, thank you for reading.
Scott Lamb
VP, Content @ Medium

Here’s what we’re reading this week:

A Brief Guide to Developing Deep Reading Habits” by Brad Stulberg, bestselling author of “The Practice of Groundedness”

Deep reading, or full engagement in a book, is an absolute joy. It is good for mind and spirit, and it is also a competitive advantage in today’s knowledge-based economy.

Beyond the Interpersonal: When Gaslighting Invades Our Cultural, Medical, and Professional Worlds” by Robin Stern, PhD and Krista Smith at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence

Professional gaslighting, medical gaslighting, and cultural gaslighting are three nontraditional forms that many people are beginning to identify in their own lived experiences.

Is Exercise Better Than Medicine for Depression?” by Gideon M-K; Health Nerd, epidemiologist and writer

The headlines were wrong, but unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be a satisfying yes/no answer to the question we really want to know about. Exercise programs seem likely to have some benefit for depressed people, but how big that benefit is, and how it compares to medications, is really anyone’s guess.

Kim Scott

Effective Feedback Always Begins With Soliciting Feedback (AKA Listening) Before Giving It” by Kim Scott, author of “Radical Candor” and “Just Work”

There is no formula for how one person can tell another when they think they’re wrong. I have to do it in a way that works for me, and also that works for the other person. What works for me may not work for you.

Four Signs Your Industry is Being Disrupted” by Greg Satell, bestselling author and Harvard Business Review contributor

Businesses have two systems, which can sometimes conflict. One is immediate and operational. It seeks to optimize processes, gain market share and maximize profitability. The second builds capacity for the long term, by investing in employees, building trustful partnerships and creating new markets to compete for the future.

How to Battle Imposter Syndrome” by Robert Roy Britt, journalist and author of “Make Sleep Your Superpower”

Feeling inadequate, not up to a task, or undeserving of your position or success? You should talk about it, and maybe get inside your head to figure out what’s really going on, experts say.

jenka and her father having a photo taken in the Soviet Union, from “AI and the American Smile

AI and the American Smileby jenka, essayist and UX designer

In flattening the diversity of facial expressions of civilizations around the world AI had collapsed the spectrum of history, culture, photography, and emotion concepts into a singular, monolithic perspective. It presented a false visual narrative about the universality of something that in the real world — where real humans have lived and created culture, expression, and meaning for hundreds of thousands of years — is anything but uniform.

From the Archive: “Mixed Emotions” by Jacinta Palmer, fiction writer and editor

She scanned the list, unsurprised to see emotions that any person, rich or poor, might experience required few credits. …It was a matter of supply and demand, especially on the black market.

What are you reading? Any new stories, writers, or publications you’ve discovered? Share your recommendations in the responses.

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