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(Washington Post) ChatGPT took their jobs. Now they walk dogs and fix air conditioners.

Experts say that even advanced AI doesn’t match the writing skills of a human: It lacks personal voice and style, and it often churns out wrong, nonsensical or biased answers. But for many companies, the cost-cutting is worth a drop in quality.

“We’re really in a crisis point,” said Sarah T. Roberts, an associate professor at University of California in Los Angeles specializing in digital labor. “[AI] is coming for the jobs that were supposed to be automation-proof.”

AI and algorithms have been a part of the working world for decades. For years, consumer-product companies, grocery stores and warehouse logistics firms have used predictive algorithms and robots with AI-fueled vision systems to help make business decisions, automate some rote tasks and manage inventory. Industrial plants and factories have been dominated by robots for much of the 20th century, and countless office tasks have been replaced by software.

But the recent wave of generative artificial intelligence – which uses complex algorithms trained on billions of words and images from the open internet to produce text, images and audio – has the potential for a new stage of disruption. The technology’s ability to churn out human-sounding prose puts highly paid knowledge workers in the crosshairs for replacement, experts said.

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Posted in Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Language, Science & Technology

Huge FA Cup Final this morning between Manchester United and Manchester City

Posted in England / UK, Men, Sports

A Prayer for the Feast Day of the Martyrs of Uganda

O God, by whose providence the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church: Grant that we who remember before thee the blessed martyrs of Uganda, may, like them, be steadfast in our faith in Jesus Christ, to whom they gave obedience even unto death, and by their sacrifice brought forth a plentiful harvest; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Church of Uganda, Death / Burial / Funerals, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to begin the day from the Liturgy of the Catholic Apostolic Church

O Spirit of the living God, who dwellest in us; who art holy, who art good: Come thou, and fill the hearts of thy faithful people, and kindle within them the fire of thy love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Pentecost, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;

To the end that [my] glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

–Psalm 30:11-12 (KJV)

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(Psephizo) Andrew Goddard–The Prayers of Love and Faith and the call to a holy life

Any decision at the end of the LLF process was going to face challenges but the responses to the bishops’ proposals suggest that there are four particular failures in their approach which have made matters worse. 

Firstly, in contrast to the detailed work of LLF, and failing to draw on that work, the bishops gave minimal explanation or theological justification for their proposals. Secondly, they proposed a liturgical response to different life situations without—as the ten points above demonstrate—offering any account of what pattern of same-sex relationship might be considered fitting within Christian discipleship. When asked about this the Bishop of London said in an answer (to Q163) in February, that we need to wait for the Pastoral Guidance as that “will include setting out unequivocally the necessary qualities for a relationship to be considered chaste, faithful and holy”. Thirdly, although committing to uphold the doctrine of marriage and thus rejecting a change to extend this to include same-sex marriage, the bishops were not clear as to what else—particularly in relation to sexual behaviour—should be considered as part of the doctrine of marriage. Nor were they clear whether they were proposing to change current teaching on sexual ethics. It was, for example, unclear whether what the Bishop of London had stated only in November last year in answer to a Synod question still applied: 

Canon B 30 does indeed continue to articulate the doctrine of the Church, including asserting that holy matrimony is the proper context for sexual intimacy. 

All three of these failings arose because it seems there was not sufficient time to achieve any consensus on them. The problem is that without any clarity and consensus in these areas, the proposals are inherently unstable and arguably incoherent. 

A further cause of instability and incoherence is a fourth feature of the proposals (number 7 above): to justify offering the prayers, including prayers of blessing, to couples in same-sex marriages the bishops, with the support of the Legal Office, offered a novel and contentious argument distinguishing holy matrimony from civil same-sex marriages. The relationship between civil marriage and holy matrimony after the introduction of same-sex marriage was not a question covered within LLF although it produced an invaluable “Brief History of Marriage Law” by Professor Julian Rivers. The answer now being offered represents a complete reversal of all previous legal and theological statements including in the Church of England’s successful case defending the refusal of Bishop Inwood, Acting Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, to give a licence to Jeremy Pemberton who was in a civil same-sex marriage. There, as set out in the original employment tribunal judgment of October 2015, the employment appeal tribunal judgment of December 2016 and the Court of Appeal Decision in March 2018, a key argument advanced was that the bishops’ actions were necessary because to be in a same-sex civil marriage was incompatible with the doctrine of the Church of England in relation to marriage.

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Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NPR) Leading experts warn of a risk of extinction from AI

AI experts issued a dire warning on Tuesday: Artificial intelligence models could soon be smarter and more powerful than us and it is time to impose limits to ensure they don’t take control over humans or destroy the world.

“Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war,” a group of scientists and tech industry leaders said in a statement that was posted on the Center for AI Safety’s website.

Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, the Microsoft-backed AI research lab that is behind ChatGPT, and the so-called godfather of AI who recently left Google, Geoffrey Hinton, were among the hundreds of leading figures who signed the we’re-on-the-brink-of-crisis statement.

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Posted in Science & Technology

(NYT) Amitai Etzioni, 94, Dies; Envisioned a Society Built on the Common Good

Amitai Etzioni, the Israeli-American sociologist who drew wide attention and storms of derision by fathering the Communitarian movement, a vision of society in which people are asked to care less about their own rights than about one another and the common good, died on Wednesday at his home in Washington. He was 94.

The death was confirmed by his son David.

Born to German-Jewish parents who fled from Hitler to Palestine, Mr. Etzioni fought for Israeli independence, moved to the United States in 1957 and became an influential academic and political figure. He wrote prodigiously, taught at George Washington University, testified before Congress and advised presidents, prime ministers and other Western leaders on foreign and national policies.

Barely a decade after landing in America, Mr. Etzioni was famous, writing books and articles far afield from the turgid corners of sociology — provocative commentaries on the nuclear arms race, European security, the Vietnam War, America’s racial and educational problems, energy and inflation policies and popular worries over pornography, student unrest and topics ranging from sex therapy to Hollywood hoopla.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Israel, Sociology

([London] Times) AI attack drone finds shortcut to achieving its goals: kill its operators

An American attack drone piloted by artificial intelligence turned on its imaginary human operators during a flight simulation and killed them because it did not like being given new orders, the chief testing officer of the US air force revealed.

After the military reprogrammed the drone not to kill the people who had the power to override its mission, the AI system instead turned its fire on the communications tower relaying the order.

The development foreshadows the plot of various science fiction films, including the Terminator film series and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: a Space Odyssey, in which the sentient computer Hal 9000 tries to kill the astronauts who attempt to switch it off.

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Posted in Military / Armed Forces, Science & Technology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Blandina and Her Companions, the Martyrs of Lyons

Grant, O Lord, we beseech thee, that we who keep the feast of the holy martyrs Blandina and her companions may be rooted and grounded in love of thee, and may endure the sufferings of this life for the glory that shall be revealed in us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Day from the Church of England

O Lord, from whom all good things come:
grant to us your humble servants,
that by your holy inspiration
we may think those things that are good,
and by your merciful guiding may perform the same;
through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Blessed be the Lord,
for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me
when I was beset as in a besieged city.
I had said in my alarm,
“I am driven far from thy sight.”
But thou didst hear my supplications,
when I cried to thee for help.

–Psalm 31:21-22

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(S+U) Paul Smalley–Why the Religious Education teacher recruitment crisis is a problem

However, such is the level of crisis that all too often RE is being taught by non-specialists, simply because there are not enough trained RE teachers. High school pupils are now three times more likely to be taught RE by someone with no qualification in the subject than, for example, in history. Of those who teach RE in secondary schools over half spend most of their time teaching another subject (compared to only 13 per cent of those who teach English and 27 per cent of those who teach Geography). These same pressures contribute to many schools’ RE provision simply not being good enough.

What can be done?

The first step for the government to take is to acknowledge that there is a problem – with teacher recruitment across the board. The teaching profession as a whole needs a boost – to show that teaching is an attractive career. Significant workload reductions and pay increases will help this perception.

But there is a specific problem with RE recruitment. Postgraduate teacher training attracts a bursary to teach Geography of £25,000. RE trainees receive no bursary. I have heard of well qualified humanities or social science graduates who have chosen Geography over RE simply because of this. In years when there has been a bursary available to train as an RE teacher, then recruitment has risen significantly.

But what might really make a difference is a properly funded National Plan for RE to ensure it is properly resourced and taught by professionally trained teachers.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Education, England / UK, Religion & Culture

(The State) South Carolina hurricane seasons 2023 begins. Here’s how bad it could be and how to prepare

Hurricane season in South Carolina officially begins Thursday and state officials are urging residents to prepare as soon as possible. According to the South Carolina Emergency Management Division, South Carolina is one of the most vulnerable states to hurricanes and tropical storms all throughout the season, which lasts until Nov. 30.

Six coastal counties border the Atlantic Ocean. These counties have more than 200 miles of general coastline and another 21 inland counties may be directly affected by these storms. Densely populated coastal areas, especially during peak tourist seasons, coupled with the generally low coastal elevations significantly increase the state’s vulnerability.

South Carolina is expected to have a relatively normal hurricane season this year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The agency predicts between 12 and 17 storms for the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Climate Change, Weather, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.

(Economist Leader) Global fertility has collapsed, with profound economic consequences

In the roughly 250 years since the Industrial Revolution the world’s population, like its wealth, has exploded. Before the end of this century, however, the number of people on the planet could shrink for the first time since the Black Death. The root cause is not a surge in deaths, but a slump in births. Across much of the world the fertility rate, the average number of births per woman, is collapsing. Although the trend may be familiar, its extent and its consequences are not. Even as artificial intelligence (ai) leads to surging optimism in some quarters, the baby bust hangs over the future of the world economy.

In 2000 the world’s fertility rate was 2.7 births per woman, comfortably above the “replacement rate” of 2.1, at which a population is stable. Today it is 2.3 and falling. The largest 15 countries by gdp all have a fertility rate below the replacement rate. That includes America and much of the rich world, but also China and India, neither of which is rich but which together account for more than a third of the global population.

The result is that in much of the world the patter of tiny feet is being drowned out by the clatter of walking sticks. The prime examples of ageing countries are no longer just Japan and Italy but also include Brazil, Mexico and Thailand. By 2030 more than half the inhabitants of East and South-East Asia will be over 40. As the old die and are not fully replaced, populations are likely to shrink. Outside Africa, the world’s population is forecast to peak in the 2050s and end the century smaller than it is today. Even in Africa, the fertility rate is falling fast.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Children, Economy, Globalization, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Politics in General

Justin Martyr on Communion for his Feast Day

“This food we call Eucharist, of which no one is allowed to partake, except one who believes that the things we teach are true, and has received the washing for forgiveness of sins and for rebirth, and who lives as Christ handed down to us. For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Saviour being incarnate by God’s word took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food consecrated by the word of prayer which comes from him, from which our flesh and blood are nourished by transformation, is the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus. For the apostles in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, thus handed down what was commanded them: that Jesus, taking bread and having given thanks, said, ‘Do this for my memorial, this is my body’; and likewise taking the cup and giving thanks he said, ‘This is my blood’; and gave it to them alone.'”

–Justin Martyr, First apology 66, trans. Edward Rochie Hardy

Posted in Church History, Eucharist

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Justin Martyr

Almighty and everlasting God, who didst find thy martyr Justin wandering from teacher to teacher, seeking the true God, and didst reveal to him the sublime wisdom of thine eternal Word: Grant that all who seek thee, or a deeper knowledge of thee, may find and be found by thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Day from Frank Colquhoun

O Almighty God, who hast fulfilled thy word of promise, and from thy heavenly throne hast poured out upon thy Church the gift of the Holy Spirit: Open our hearts, we pray thee, to receive the fullness of his grace and power; that our lives may be strengthened for the service of thy kingdom, and our souls be conformed more and more to the image of thy Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Posted in Pentecost, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over him who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!

Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.

–Psalm 37:7-8

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(FT) Earth past its safe limits for humans, scientists say

The earth is already past safe limits for humans as temperature rise, water system disruption and destruction of natural habitats have reached boundaries, a study by a group of the world’s foremost scientists has found.

The research, published in the journal Nature on Wednesday, identified eight earth system boundaries that included climate, biodiversity, water, natural ecosystems, land use and the effect of fertilisers and aerosols.

Human activities had pushed seven of these boundaries beyond their “safe and just limit” into risk zones that indicate the threat to planetary and human health, it said.

Researchers have traditionally focused on the effects of climate change or biodiversity loss on the planet itself, but the study from the Earth Commission group of scientists marks an attempt by experts to identify the limits after which humans will suffer significant harm.

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Posted in Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources

(NYT) Sick Workers Tied to 40% of Food Poisoning Outbreaks, C.D.C. Says

People who showed up to their restaurant jobs while sick were linked to 40 percent of food poisoning outbreaks with a known cause from 2017 to 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report released on Tuesday.

Paid sick leave and other policies that support sick workers could improve food safety outcomes, according to the report, which was based on a review of 800 food poisoning outbreaks, using data provided by 25 state and local health departments.

Of the 500 outbreaks where investigators identified at least one cause, 205 involved workers showing up sick, the report said. Other common causes included contaminated raw food items, in 88 cases, and cross-contamination of ingredients, in 68 cases.

In 555 of the outbreaks, investigators were able to determine what virus, bacterium, toxin, chemical or parasite was to blame. Most outbreaks were caused by salmonella or norovirus, the report said.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Health & Medicine

The Reverend Dr. Clive Calver ‘s sunday sermon for Pentecost 2023

Listen to it all.

Posted in Ministry of the Ordained, Mozambique, Parish Ministry, Pentecost, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology: Scripture

(Telegraph) America’s Faustian Pact with runaway debt is coming due

The Republicans have capitulated on the US debt ceiling. This averts the risk of abrupt fiscal tightening in a slowing economy that has yet to digest the most aggressive monetary squeeze in over 40 years.

The putative accord between the White House and Congress does not even try to address the larger threat to America’s economic model and hegemonic status.

The Congressional Budget Office says the US is on course for fiscal deficits of 7pc of GDP as far as the eye can see.

Sacred entitlements remain untouchable. Middle-class welfare – ie. consumption – will continue to eat up an ever-greater share of the budget. It is this that is leading to slow fiscal ruin.

The gross debt-to-GDP ratio was 62pc in 2007 (IMF data). It will be 122pc this year, and 138pc by 2028, with no sign of reaching a plateau. By then it will have overtaken Italy.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Budget, Economy, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

A Prayer for the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Father in heaven, by whose grace the virgin mother of thine incarnate Son was blessed in bearing him, but still more blessed in keeping thy word: Grant us who honor the exaltation of her lowliness to follow the example of her devotion to thy will; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer, Uncategorized

A Prayer to Begin the Day from The Gelasian Sacramentary

O God, who didst graciously send on thy disciples the Holy Spirit in the burning fire of thy love: Grant to thy people to be fervent in the unity of faith; that abiding in thee evermore, they may be found steadfast in faith and active in service; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Pentecost, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

When you beget children and children’s children, and have grown old in the land, if you act corruptly by making a graven image in the form of anything, and by doing what is evil in the sight of the Lord your God, so as to provoke him to anger, I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that you will soon utterly perish from the land which you are going over the Jordan to possess; you will not live long upon it, but will be utterly destroyed. And the Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the Lord will drive you. And there you will serve gods of wood and stone, the work of men’s hands, that neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the Lord your God and obey his voice, for the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not fail you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers which he swore to them.

–Deuteronomy 4:25-31

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(Washington Post) Police agencies are desperate to hire. But they say few want the job.

The San Francisco Police Department is down more than 600 officers, almost 30 percent of its allotment. Phoenix needs about 500 more officers to be fully staffed. The D.C. police force is smaller than it has been in 50 years, despite troubling gun violence and carjackings, as officers leave faster than they can be replaced.

Police departments across the country are struggling to fill their ranks, creating what many current and former officials say is a staffing emergency that threatens public safety.

They cite an exodus of veteran officers amid new police accountability measures that followed the 2020 murder of George Floyd, increased hostility from the communities they police, and criminal justice laws that seek to reduce the number of people in jail.

Advocates for police reform see the moment as an opportunity to hire a new generation of officers and reimagine policing. But as agencies seek fresh recruits, they are getting fewer qualified applicants than in past years — leading some to make the risky move of lowering the bar for hiring to fill their ranks.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., City Government, Police/Fire

A Prayer for Pentecost from the Church of England

God, who as at this time
taught the hearts of your faithful people
by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit:
grant us by the same Spirit
to have a right judgement in all things
and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort;
through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Pentecost, Spirituality/Prayer

John Stott on the Spirit-Filled Christian for Pentecost

Our attitude to our fallen nature should be one of ruthless repudiation. For ‘those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires’ (Gal. 5:24). That is, we have taken this evil, slimy, slippery thing called ‘the flesh’ and nailed it to the cross. This was our initial repentance. Crucifixion is dramatic imagery for our uncompromising rejection of all known evil. Crucifixion does not lead to a quick or easy death; it is an execution of lingering pain. Yet it is decisive; there is no possibility of escaping from it.

Our attitude to the Holy Spirit, on the other hand, is to be one of unconditional surrender. Paul uses several expressions for this. We are to ‘live by the Spirit’ (Gal. 5:16, 18. 25). That is, we are to allow him his rightful sovereignty over us, and follow his righteous promptings.

Thus both our repudiation of the flesh and our surrender to the Spirit need to be repeated daily, however decisive our original repudiation and surrender may have been. In Jesus’ words, we are to ‘take up (our) cross daily’ and follow him (Lk 9:23). We are also to go on being filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18), as we open our personality to him daily. Both our repudiation and our surrender are also to be worked out in disciplined habits of life. It is those who ‘sow to the Spirit’ (Gal. 6:8) who reap the fruit of the Spirit. And to ‘sow to the Spirit’ means to cultivate the things of the Spirit, for example, by our wise use of the Lord’s Day, the discipline of our daily prayer and Bible reading, our regular worship and attendance at the Lord’s Supper, our Christian friendships and our involvement in Christian service. An inflexible principle of all God’s dealings, both in the material and in the moral realm, is that we reap what we sow. The rule is invariable. It cannot be changed, for ‘God cannot be mocked’ (Gal. 6:7). We must not therefore be surprised if we do not reap the fruit of the Spirit when all the time we are sowing to the flesh. Did we think we could cheat or fool God?

Authentic Christianity (Nottingham, IVP, 1995)

Posted in Evangelicals, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), Theology: Scripture

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon for Pentecost 2023–What can we Learn from the Great Beginning of the Church (Acts 2:1-21)?

There is also downloadable option there. Those interested in suffering through the video may find the link there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pentecost, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), Theology: Scripture