Categories
Mental Health Society Technology

I don’t want this to be the future

Bookmarked HUMAN_FALLBACK | Laura Preston (n+1)

I WAS ONE OF ABOUT SIXTY operators. Most of us were poets and writers with MFAs, but there were also PhDs in performance studies and comparative literature, as well as a number of opera singers, another demographic evidently well suited for chatbot impersonation—or, I suppose, for impersonating a chatbot that’s impersonating a person.

Let alone the present.

Each day when we reported for work one of them would hail us with a camp counselor’s greeting. “Top of the morning, my lovely Brendas!” they would say. Below their message, a garden of reaction emojis would bloom.

I am tired of the exploitation and undervaluation of emotional labor.

In the same way that algorithms tell us what they think we want, and do so with such tenacity that the imagined wants become actual, these buildings seemed intent on shaping a tenant’s aspirations. They seemed to tell the tenant they should not care about regional particularities or the idea of a neighborhood. The tenant should not even desire a home in the traditional sense, with hand-me-down furniture, hand-built improvements, and layers of multigenerational memory. This tenant was a renter for life, whose workplace was their primary address, and who would nevertheless be unable to afford property for as long as they lived.

See also: Neutralizing reality to sell

Brenda, they claimed, said the same thing to everyone, which meant that she was incapable of bias. And yet she was awfully good at repelling certain people: people without smartphones or reliable internet, people unaccustomed to texting, people who couldn’t read or write in English, and people who needed to figure out if they could access a property before showing up for a tour. Brenda deflected them all with polite violence. She was not a concierge but a bouncer, one made all the more sinister for her congeniality and sparkle.

 

See also:

OpenAI Used Kenyan Workers on Less Than $2 Per Hour to Make ChatGPT Less Toxic (TIME)

But the working conditions of data labelers reveal a darker part of that picture: that for all its glamor, AI often relies on hidden human labor in the Global South that can often be damaging and exploitative.

The work’s traumatic nature eventually led Sama to cancel all its work for OpenAI in February 2022, eight months earlier than planned.

An OpenAI spokesperson said in a statement that the company did not issue any productivity targets, and that Sama was responsible for managing the payment and mental health provisions for employees.

🙄 Of course they’re not responsible for the work they hired out.

Conditions for vendors are so much worse than employees, so of course that’s the direction companies want to move: cheaper labor that they aren’t liable for. Ethics has no part in corporatism.

“They’re impressive, but ChatGPT and other generative models are not magic – they rely on massive supply chains of human labor and scraped data, much of which is unattributed and used without consent,” Andrew Strait, an AI ethicist, recently wrote on Twitter. “These are serious, foundational problems that I do not see OpenAI addressing.”

Categories
Memoir Mental Health Personal Growth

Read Wintering

Read Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult T…

Sometimes you slip through the cracks: unforeseen circumstances like an abrupt illness, the death of a loved one, a break up, or a job loss can derail a life. These periods of dislocation can be lonely and unexpected. For May, her husband fell ill, her son stopped attending school, and her own medical issues led her to leave a demanding job. Wintering explores how she not only endured this painful time, but embraced the singular opportunities it offered.

A moving personal narrative shot through with lessons from literature, mythology, and the natural world, May’s story offers instruction on the transformative power of rest and retreat. Illumination emerges from many sources: solstice celebrations and dormice hibernation, C.S. Lewis and Sylvia Plath, swimming in icy waters and sailing arctic seas.

Ultimately Wintering invites us to change how we relate to our own fallow times. May models an active acceptance of sadness and finds nourishment in deep retreat, joy in the hushed beauty of winter, and encouragement in understanding life as cyclical, not linear. A secular mystic, May forms a guiding philosophy for transforming the hardships that arise before the ushering in of a new season.

Liked some of this, wasn’t sure about other parts. The second half I liked better than the first. She has a keen eye for observation and describes her feelings vividly. I liked the bits of other places and natural history — dabbling in other people’s cultures less so. I’m not sure it all pulled together for me though I thought she ended it well.

Categories
Lifestyle Mental Health

Keep a “savor list”

Liked The science (and skill) of actually enjoying your life – Chris Bailey (chrisbailey.com)

The definition is in the name: on this list is everything you like to regularly savor—from fancy take-out lattes, to time with your kids, to wine-fueled board game nights with your spouse.

I like this framing — savoring — rather than the idea of rewarding myself, because I don’t want to withhold nice things from myself. Other people can buy a cookie as motivation to write, but I just eat the cookie immediately 😂 I’m already hard enough on myself in many ways. Giving myself simple pleasures should be just that: a pleasure, not an incentive. I don’t want to tie my happiness to productivity — I’m trying to extricate myself from that mindset.

Categories
Mental Health Personal Growth

Listen to yourself

Liked Taking a break from personal projects: Mental health and coding by James (jamesg.blog)

[I]f you feel anxious or worried about progress on personal projects, don’t feel that you have to continue.

👏 A good reminder that personal projects are not obligations, and sometimes quitting a project is the right choice.

Categories
House Lifestyle Mental Health

Home organization is often a quest for control

Liked Perfectionism and the Performance of Organizing by Virginia Sole-Smith (Burnt Toast by Virginia Sole-Smith)

Organizing is a complicated drug. It’s about instant gratification and control… But it’s also an illusion of control…

My husband calls it Nesting Mode when I get super into making the house better.

I’m not sure there is a more peak White Lady moment than texting your friends photos of your newly organized Tupperware drawer…

Lol I just reorganized my snack shelf this weekend and sent a photo to my mom and sister 😂

But lots of people, particularly straight women in cis het partnerships, play the role of the Noticer in their household, which tends to translate to also being the Organizer and resetting that balance requires the less organized partner to start valuing that there is now a place to put the permission slips and library books…

I’m working on letting go of more things / caring less — although I am extremely attuned to Noticing shit that “needs” to happen. I’m also trying to give my partner more opportunities to take ownership of how our house is organized, like having him help me figure out where to store our salad fixings after I removed them from the snack shelf where I’d been keeping them with the other nuts and dried fruit.

See also: The Mental Load

Categories
Lifestyle Mental Health Self Care

Defining rest

Liked The Riddle of Rest by Lawrence YeoLawrence Yeo (moretothat.com)

[R]est is when you’re not associating your self-worth with what you have to do next.

Categories
Art and Design Cool Mental Health

Looking at art makes your brain happier

Liked Canadian Doctors Will Soon Be Able to Prescribe Museum Visits as Treatment by Molly EnkingMolly Enking (Smithsonian Magazine)

Hélène Boyer explains that museum visits have been shown to increase levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter colloquially known as the “happy chemical” due to its mood-boosting properties…According to Boyer, the uptick in hormones associated with enjoying an afternoon of art is similar to that offered by exercise…

Also in Brussels this year

So there’s a chemical reason I like going to museums 😂

Curious if anyone has studied whether the effects hold from a virtual visit 🤔

Categories
Getting Shit Done Mental Health

Watched How My Mental Health Affects My Productivity

Watched Mental Health And Productivity: A Peek Inside My Journey by Sarra CannonSarra Cannon from heartbreathings.com

Mental health is a topic close to my heart, because my own journey toward my goals has been as much about mental health as anything else. Today’s video is a casual, real chat about how my mental health affects my productivity, what my journey has been like up to this moment, and how I’m working […]

Anxiety and depression do impact your productivity

Task clarity — bite-size actions identified in advance that help her feel like she’s making progress towards her “dream future”

  • appreciate small joys
  • focus on physical basics — sleep enough, eat well
  • pay attention to your behavior — look for triggers of negative spirals
  • acknowledge your tough days, let yourself do simple tasks when feeling bad
  • pay attention to negative self-talk
Categories
Mental Health Self Care Society The Internet

Read Notes on a Nervous Planet

Read Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

The societies we live in are increasingly making our minds ill, making it feel as though the way we live is engineered to make us unhappy. When Matt Haig developed panic disorder, anxiety, and depression as an adult, it took him a long time to work out the ways the external world could impact his mental health in both positive and negative ways. Notes on a Nervous Planet collects his observations, taking a look at how the various social, commercial and technological “advancements” that have created the world we now live in can actually hinder our happiness. Haig examines everything from broader phenomena like inequality, social media, and the news; to things closer to our daily lives, like how we sleep, how we exercise, and even the distinction we draw between our minds and our bodies.

Very casual writing style, like a collection of blog posts (even listicles 😂). I don’t have as much trouble as he does with phone use, but can relate to the overall overwhelming information intake of the internet and the constant marketing pressures. Enjoyed reading through this slowly. Complementary to Oliver Burkeman’s Four Thousand Weeks.

Categories
Health Mental Health

Anxiety and depression increase risk of long COVID

Bookmarked Psychological, not physical factors linked to long COVID (news.harvard.edu)

“We were surprised by how strongly psychological distress before a COVID-19 infection was associated with an increased risk of long COVID,” said Siwen Wang, a researcher in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard Chan School who led the study. “Distress was more strongly associated with developing long COVID than physical health risk factors such as obesity, asthma, and hypertension.”

[D]istress before COVID-19 infection, including depression, anxiety, worry, perceived stress, and loneliness, was associated with a 32 percent to 46 percent increased risk of long COVID. These types of psychological distress were also associated with 15 percent to 51 percent greater risk of daily life impairment due to long COVID.

I hate self-fulfilling prophesies.

Link to paper:

Associations of Depression, Anxiety, Worry, Perceived Stress, and Loneliness Prior to Infection With Risk of Post–COVID-19 Conditions by Wang etc al, JAMA Psychiatry (2022)