Weekly Link Roundup

If “Burgerizza” is the best that ChatGPT can muster, I think we are safe for now

+ The Brilliance and Weirdness of ChatGPT (The New York Times): “Most A.I. chatbots … treat every new request as a blank slate, and aren’t programmed to remember or learn from previous conversations. But ChatGPT can remember what a user has told it before ChatGPT isn’t perfect, by any means. The way it generates responses — in extremely oversimplified terms, by making probabilistic guesses about which bits of text belong together in a sequence, based on a statistical model trained on billions of examples of text pulled from all over the internet — makes it prone to giving wrong answers, even on seemingly simple math problems … Unlike Google, ChatGPT doesn’t crawl the web for information on current events, and its knowledge is restricted to things it learned before 2021, making some of its answers feel stale … The potential societal implications of ChatGPT are too big to fit into one column. Maybe this is … the beginning of the end of all white-collar knowledge work, and a precursor to mass unemployment. Maybe it’s just a nifty tool that will be mostly used by students, Twitter jokesters and customer service departments until it’s usurped by something bigger and better.”

+ Will 2023 Be Luxury’s Year of Succession? (The Business of Fashion): “Whether luxury giants will face more pressure to clarify their succession plans next year could depend on their performance: if most investors have stayed silent regarding their concerns for what comes after the generation of billionaire founders who have led the industry since the 1980s, that’s because the sector continues to outperform the market in terms of both growth and profits. This year, luxury sales rose 22 percent according to Bain. Shares in LVMH are down 6 percent this year, less than a 13 percent drop in the Stoxx 600 index of Europe’s biggest companies. But luxury growth is forecast to slow to 3 to 8 percent in 2023 due to a sluggish global economy. While LVMH has used its unrivalled marketing heft to shake off previous crises, in a murky present redirecting the narrative to its plans for future success may be smart business.”

+ Arielle Charnas’ Company, Something Navy, Is Floundering Amid Dwindling Sales, an Employee Exodus, and Furious Suppliers (Business Insider): “What staffers have realized is that Charnas is best at selling other people’s clothes. Charnas herself has said buying clothes from an influencer-founded brand is just not something that feels cool.’ Not all influencer brands survive: The model and TV presenter Alexa Chung, who has quadruple Charnas’ Instagram followers, shut down her fashion line in March after five years. The influencer Tati Westbrook closed her beauty brand in 2021 after just two years. Something Navy seems to be struggling with a paradox familiar to influencer-run brands: Charnas is what drew in customers in the first place. But for the brand to stand on its own, customers need to love the product.”

+ The Misfires Are the Point: Dressing Gen Z for ‘The White Lotus’ (The New York Times): “The attire of the season’s five younger characters was intended to reflect a blend of audacity and experimentation, according to Alex Bovaird, the show’s costume designer. Ms. Bovaird drew inspiration from influencers, Instagram it-brands and ‘Love Island’ contestants to create more than 70 looks that young people might realistically wear — misfires included … Mike White really likes color and print, and he likes the frame to be filled with lots of interest. He thinks of ‘White Lotus’ as a fever dream. So even though they’re grounded in reality, they’re a little bit over the top. It’s comedic.”

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+ Why Men’s Clothing Is Losing Its Collars, Buttons and Pockets (The Wall Street Journal): “A new age of extreme minimalism is seemingly upon us. Whether for work or play, men are slipping into clothing that consists of little more than flaps of (beautiful, precision-cut) fabric. Such designs push the limits of deconstructed tailoring, a well-established movement in menswear that eschews lining and extras like shoulder pads. Light, breezy and often notably comfortable, these pieces serve as a balm for anyone weary of the loud, logoed confections that amass likes on social media. They make Scandi minimalism look positively Baroque. Indeed, they’re so quiet they almost feel rebellious.”

+ Lanvin Group Raises $150 Million in Public Debut (The Business of Fashion): “The company, owned by China’s Fosun International, is hoping to draw luxury investors seeking exposure to its portfolio of high-end brands, which include Italian shoemaker Sergio Rossi and tailoring house Caruso, American knitwear brand St. John and Austrian tights specialist Wolford, as well as its Parisian namesake. It has returned to top-line growth and is on track to be profitable by 2024. The group, which went public via a SPAC deal, raised $150 million in the listing, valuing it at $1.31 billion. In October it cut its equity value back to $1 billion from a previous figure of $1.25 billion, citing the decline in the euro and lower trading multiples for other luxury companies. With the proceeds, it plans to continue investing in its current brands, building out its retail store network and digital channels and expanding its presence in regions such as the US and China, where it is relatively underpenetrated.”

+ What Is Ozempic and Why Is It Getting So Much Attention? (The New York Times): The Food and Drug Administration first approved the injectable medication for treating diabetes in 2017; the agency approved a drug with a higher dose of the active ingredient in Ozempic, called semaglutide, to treat obesity in 2021, under the brand name Wegovy. Since then, talk of the drug has popped up across the internet … On TikTok, the hashtag #Ozempic has been viewed over 273 million times Now, the F.D.A. has listed both Ozempic and Wegovy as two of dozens of medications in short supply … As interest in Ozempic has increased, some doctors believe that more people have sought ways to take the drug for weight loss — either by finding a physician who will prescribe it to them off-label, or by seeking the drug out online … The medication has not been significantly studied in people without diabetes or excess weight … The medication is expensive without insurance — the list price for Wegovy is over $1,300 for a 28-day supply, and Ozempic can cost around $892 for a monthly supply without insurance — and people who don’t meet the F.D.A.’s criteria will likely have trouble getting insurance to cover it … The drug has not been systematically tested in people with lower body weights … and it’s possible that patients outside of the group the drug is intended for could experience more intense side effects. Without more research, it’s unclear just how damaging those side effects could be.”

+ The Internet Is Full of Predators. Omegle Lets You Meet Them. (Mother Jones): “Omegle is a website that pairs users at random for one-on-one video chats … It was created by Leif K-Brooks in 2009 when he was 18 years old … over the years, according to a lawsuit filed against Omegle, the ‘most regular and popular use … is for live sexual activity, such as online masturbation.’ For some men, semi-public masturbation is as far as it goes. Others use Omegle to persuade children to perform sex acts, expose them to porn, or even meet in real life, according to court documents. The men who use Omegle to sexually exploit children have been the subject of numerous federal investigations, and the company has been the target of a multimillion-dollar lawsuit, and a UN Special Rapporteur investigation. … According to a lawsuit against Omegle, the company’s revenue appears to come from selling user data and from ads, including for more overtly pornographic sites … On some adult streaming platforms, you can find videos depicting Omegle chats in splitscreen that show a man masturbating on one half of the screen while girls or young women watch in amusement, bewilderment, or horror on the other … Because it operates in the shadows, Omegle is pernicious in different ways than the Big Tech companies we tend to associate with the spread of disinformation and conspiracy theories. But by acting as a conduit for child sexual exploitation, the damage it has enabled in individual lives is impossible to calculate. Nonetheless, if a couple dozen senators and a team of tenacious lawyers get their wish, Omegle and other sites like it could force the entire tech industry to change … Omegle has been able to exist for so long thanks to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. It essentially states that interactive computer services, like Facebook or Twitter, are not themselves publishers and are therefore not liable for what users post or do on those platforms. At the time it was drafted, Section 230 was heralded as a key feature protecting free speech when the rest of the CDA was considered by many to be a threat to open discourse online.”

+ The C.E.O. of Anti-Woke, Inc. (The New Yorker): “In eighth grade, at a large and economically diverse public school, Vivek was ‘“’roughed up’”’ and pushed down the stairs by a Black student. An injured hip required surgery, and his parents decided to enroll him in a private preparatory school. When I first asked Ramaswamy if that incident influenced his views on race, he seemed not to have thought much about it. But some days afterward he wondered aloud if the experience had precipitated his doubt that members of one underrepresented group had a unique claim on being discriminated against: ‘All human beings can be on both the giving and receiving end of that.’ A strain of animus toward Black Americans runs through much of Ramaswamy’s public commentary … when he discussed how today’s civil-rights activists—a group he defined as comprising Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and Ibram X. Kendi—had ‘sold out’ to corporate America. He couldn’t say exactly how Kendi had sold out, but he believed that Jackson, the Baptist minister and former Presidential candidate, who is now in his eighties, had profiteered on his standing as a civil-rights leader. Ramaswamy likened this to extortion, but later clarified that the extortion attempts he meant to criticize were racial-equity audits conducted by the former Attorneys General Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch and their law firms. Corporations such as Starbucks and Verizon, he said, felt that to avoid accusations of racism they had to hire the firms, often at great expense, to assess their diversity policies.”

+ Computer Science Students Face a Shrinking Big Tech Job Market (The New York Times): “Over the last decadethe study of computer programming and processes like algorithms more than tripled from 2011 to 2021, to nearly 136,000 students … now, layoffs, hiring freezes and planned recruiting slowdowns at Meta, Twitter, Alphabet, Amazon, DoorDash, Lyft, Snap and Stripe are sending shock waves through a generation of computer and data science students who spent years honing themselves for careers at the largest tech companies … There are still good jobs for computing students, and the field is growing. Between 2021 and 2031, employment for software developers and testers is expected to grow 25 percent, amounting to more than 411,000 new jobs, according to projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But many of those jobs are in areas like finance and the automotive industry.”

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+ Beware of the Perfect Gentleman (VICE): “… a small subset of men, all of whom have been targeted by a very specific and insidious form of identity theft: Their real photos are stolen from their social media accounts and used by con artists in a ruse that began in the early days of social media. The women taken in by these schemes may be the primary targets, but the men whose images are used to lure them are the unseen collateral victims.”

+ Why Are Middle-Aged Men Missing From the Labor Market? (The New York Times): “Hundreds of thousands of men in their late 30s and early 40s stopped working during the pandemic and have lingered on the labor market’s sidelines sinceThey are an anomaly, as employment rates have rebounded more fully for women of the same age and for both younger and older men. About 89.7 percent of men ages 35 to 44 were working or looking for work as of November, down from 90.9 percent before the pandemic. The group’s employment rate showed signs of rebounding last month, but has been unusually depressed on average over the past year … The participation decline is more heavily concentrated among people who have not graduated from college.”

+ No One Wants Your Cold (The Atlantic): “A ‘tripledemic’ of COVID, the flu, and RSV is under way. COVID and flu hospitalizations are on the rise, while RSV cases may, thankfully, be peaking. And those are just three of the respiratory viruses currently circulating: Don’t forget about the rhinoviruses and coronaviruses that cause the common cold. Parents have been missing work in record numbers to take care of their children … above all, be considerate … in general, people were probably too lax about exposing others to their sickness pre-pandemic. ‘The kinder thing to do, the more generous thing to do, is to err on the side of just being cautious.’ “

+ How “The Daily Show” Squandered the Opportunity That Was Trevor Noah (The New Yorker): “Noah concluded his seven-year run at ‘The Daily Show’ this week, to the end an awkward fit for a role that, admittedly, was near-impossible to fillthe current iteration of the series is flashier and fleeter than it was in the Stewart years, with an audience that skews younger and more diverse. But, because Noah has set such a high cerebral bar for himself through his specialsit often felt like he was coasting on ‘The Daily Show.’ This impression was bolstered by the revelation … that the comedian spent his weekends touring and generally avoiding political commentary in his own standup. During Stewart’s heyday, it was obvious that he poured his intellect into his show. In contrast, Noah’s tenure, which encompassed the Trump Administration and the pandemic quarantine years, often gave the sense of complacency, with a host who seemed much smarter than the material he doled out.”

+ The Judge and the Case That Came Back to Haunt Him (The New York Times): “The defendant coming to Kline had served 41 years for a crime she committed at 17. Her name was Jamesetta Guy. Kline recognized it. In 1981, during his year in juvenile court, he presided over the trial of a 15-year-old girl named Sharon Wright, who had participated in a botched robbery attempt in which a taxi driver was shot and killed. In the taxi with Wright there had been another girl: Jamesetta Guy. Kline sentenced Wright to eight years in juvenile custody, but he never learned what happened to Guy. Now he had the answer. Forty-one years. A staggering term, especially for someone convicted as a minor. Some adults with the same conviction would have paroled out 20 years ago. What led to this sentence, Kline saw, was almost everything that could go wrong for a juvenile defendant. She had no criminal history; the gun wasn’t hers; she grew up in a violently abusive home. The evidence didn’t show premeditated murder. And yet a judge in 1981 declared her ‘unfit’ to be tried as a juvenile and tracked her into the adult system. By the time her name appeared on Kline’s calendar in 2022, Guy had been in prison as long as he had been a judge … A few days before Guy’s new hearing, a public defender named Emily Goldman walked into Kline’s chambers to catch up … She settled into a chair in front of Kline’s desk. She said that her colleagues had been working on Guy’s case at the main office downtown. Looking through the file, they figured out the name of the judge who diverted Guy from juvenile court into the adult system. It was Kline.”

+ Recently purchased: Betsey Johnson Mari Crystal Sandals, Banana Republic Lustro Lurex Off-Shoulder Sweater, Maeve Bow-Tie Pointelle Cashmere Cardigan, Theory Moving Rib Dress, Ann Taylor Glen Plaid Kitten Heel Mules, Betsey Johnson Crystal Pavé Pointed Toe Flat, The North Face Sherpa Nuptse Jacket, The Drop Lee Sherpa Bomber Jacket, and UGG Frankie Sherpa Trucker Jacket.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Hi, I am Elle!

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