Apparently, top editors suspect the Matrix is coming

It really struck me that a day or two back, the editors of two of our nation’s premiere newspapers led their reports with the news that Sam Altman — a guy I’d only heard of, before this week, because I’ve listened to some really deep, detailed podcasts about AI in recent months — had been hired by Microsoft after being fired by OpenAI.

If you haven’t spent years of your life agonizing — and I mean agonizing — over what to put on a front page and how to play it, day after day, this may not seem to mean much.

But it meant volumes to me. Excuse me for oversimplifying the definition of a lede story, but it basically means that, at least for a moment or a day, this guy being hired was more important to the world than anything going on in Israel or Gaza or Ukraine or anywhere else in the world. Nothing presidents, kings or dictators were doing anywhere mattered as much.

Now why would that be? This is something you might expect to see, and sometimes still do, in a paper that’s historically all about business, by which I mean The Wall Street Journal. But these are general-purpose newspapers, and the cream of the crop.

So what pumps this up so?

Well, the guy was canned from OpenAI because some people on the board were worried about what AI might do to the human race, and thought Sam wasn’t as worried about it as they were.

But that’s a tempest in a teacup unless you, the editor making the play decision, think this guy’s work situation really IS of some sort of monumental importance to our shared fates — either because you’re worried about the Matrix or Skynet or some such, or because you think AI is so awesome that you believe where Sam has a job, and who he’s working for, overrides everything else in the world.

You wouldn’t be seeing this if the guy was the head of McDonald’s or something — unless, maybe, in the WSJ. They still love them some business.

So… if I see the White Rabbit, should I follow it? Should I keep an eye out for Terminators?

12 thoughts on “Apparently, top editors suspect the Matrix is coming

  1. Robert Amundson

    In the fast-paced rabbit hole of technological advancement, of course concerns brew about AI leading us into a Matrix or Skynet scenario. I agree we may be chasing the White Rabbit, encountering a hookah-smoking caterpillar along the way. The rapid transformation of our world adds to the confusion for many, both individuals and institutions alike. Navigating this Wonderland of change requires thoughtful consideration to ensure we don’t find ourselves down a rabbit hole with consequences as unpredictable as the Queen of Hearts. The pace of change demands our attention, prompting us to ponder where the ever-evolving digital path might lead us next.

    I still have to reCAPTCHA “I’m not a robot” to present a post “submitted for your approval” = THE TWILIGHT ZONE. Brad may be a robot – just sayin’.

  2. Barry

    I highly recommend the new Kennedy documentary on The History Channel. It was created by 23 year old Ashton Gleckman.

    It might be the best documentary I’ve ever seen. Golden voiced Peter Coyote narrated it.

    I streamed episode 8 last night (on the 60th anniversary of his death) which covered late summer and late 1963. Terrific filmmaking. I spent a fair amount of time Wednesday (the 22nd) thinking about JFK.

    I watched it then asked my wife and 2 of my kids to watch it with me sort of as a tribute to JFK. They watched it. All 3 sat in silence watching it (a surprise and testament to how good the episode was)

    The few seconds in the episode immediately before showing the assassination (the beating heart sound while showing snippets of a younger JFK with his mom and family, and then his kids was OSCAR worthy filmmaking).

  3. Julia

    Fascinating perspective on media priorities! The choice to lead with Sam Altman’s story over global events reflects the evolving landscape of news values. A shift worth pondering.

  4. Barry


    Jason Chaffetz, former Republican Congressman and a Fox News contributor said on Fox last week he paid over $100 for his thanksgiving Turkey. Jason appeared on a Fox show to complain about Biden and inflation. (In fairness, Jason really never appears on certain Fox shows because he has a reputation of making things up without evidence- but is welcome on other Fox shows).

    Jason’s whining received a response. Turned out, Jason bought a gourmet Turkey product from a gourmet provider. Jason and Fox didn’t tell their audience that information. Hundreds if not thousands of people responded online with pictures of their receipts of the Turkeys they purchased- with most being well under $30.

    For full disclosure, I paid $17.92 for a 12-pound Turkey at my local Food Lion. This was not the cheapest option they had. I could have bought it at a cheaper price if I had bought $35 worth of groceries at the time, but I didn’t need anything else.

    An even more popular bogus report is making the rounds of Conservative news outlets. Michael Smerconish was talking about it this morning (Monday).

    A viral post of someone’s nearly $17 McDonald’s Big Mac meal in Idaho has been widely reported in Conservative media.

    The problem? It wasn’t a Big Mac meal or a regular combo. It was a limited time specialty Burger combo that some McDonald’s have offered- not a Big Mac meal or a regular combo.

    Conservative media is lying about it in order to blame Joe Biden.

    Also mentioned Monday morning was the record number of Americans that chose to fly by airplane over the Thanksgiving weekend.

    1. Doug Ross

      Tell me.. do you believe date for prices have risen in the past three years? I would say they’ve increased 20% at a minimum.. a $7 lunch is now $9..

      Grocery prices have seen even larger increases..

      It’s crazy how Biden’s handlers are trying to gaslight the American public into thinking prices haven’t gone up significantly.

      1. Barry

        “Majority of Americans think the economy is bad, but their own personal finances are good.”

        I haven’t seen these Biden folks saying prices haven’t gone up. Prices are higher in many places for a variety of reasons.

        1) supply and demand (this was occurring well before Biden won election)
        2) increased wages to get people to work (occurring before Biden went into office)
        3) various other costs (This was occurring before Biden took office)
        4) Supply chain disruptions across the globe (occurring before Biden took office)

        These things have continued with Biden in office. Some of these things have also moderated.

        However, if the price of tuna has increased and is now $1.70 a can, I see no reason to stretch that to unrealistic levels to make a point and say that I paid $9 for a can of tuna.

  5. Robert Amundson

    I’m a Utah Man (graduate of the University of Utah) and Mr. Chaffetz has the bona fides to succeed in Utah. He was THE PLACEKICKER for Brigham Young University (aka BYU) 1988 and 1989. Utah – where men are men and sheep are scared. Much like rural New York. I heard South Carolina was blessed by Trump at Williams-Brice, where the “HBC” has a statute after quitting in the middle of a poor season. Still “what Pedigru said.”

    1. Barry

      Jason Chaffetz is the perfect example of someone who gets on tv and says one thing….

      and behind the scenes says something totally different. He’s not unique I guess.

        1. Barry

          Not sure about politically correct

          there are politicians that are much more a “straight shooter” than others.

          I find Bill Cassidy of Louisiana to be pretty close to a straight shooter. I find John Thune of South Dakota to be pretty close to one as well- at least in today’s world.

          I find Chris Coons of Delaware to be pretty close to a straight shooter- same goes for Sheldon Whitehouse and Bob Casey, Jr.

          Jason Chaffetz is a paid liar. He has to lie to keep his lucrative Fox News gig.


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