Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

It’s all over the web how Scarlett Johansson kind of got hacked by the ChatGPT 4.0 system recently. I saw a statement from her on Twitter/X about the situation. They had wanted to hire her to do the voice for the system, because her voice would be ‘comforting to people’. She declined; but when she discovered the demo version featured a faked version of her voice, she sent lawyers letters to the company to explain. The company quickly cancelled the demo. The case brings up interesting questions about the protection of individual rights, but there’s also the irony of Major Motoko (who she played in Ghost In the Shell) being cyberised against her will. Clearly, ScaJo, like Motoko, ain’t to be messed around with.

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Speaking of which, I read a bit more of my Ghost In the Shell: Man-Machine Interface manga. Gotta say, it’s becoming a bit of a hot mess. I just read chapter three, where Motoko uses a clone called Clarise to hack an operator, and it goes on and on with so much technical jargon in a cyberspace that looks cluttered and ugly. I just wanted to know what information the operator had that was so important, but it took so long. I still like it – it’s Ghost – but so far all I’ve seen is semi-porn visuals and wilful obscurity in the narrative. I hope it gets better but, at this stage, I see why it hasn’t been made into an anime.

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My library is having a sale at the moment and I grabbed a copy of the Disney film Fantasia on DVD. What a great film! I first saw it in the cinema in the Eighties during a special run of a remastered version. The Night On Bald Mountain sequence near the end is the best, with flame and fire and demons running amok. It was strange to me that I didn’t already have a copy. There’s an Italian film called Allegro Non Troppo which does a fantastic satirical take on it. The Bolero sequence with its marching dinosaurs is a particular treat. It’s easy to be cynical about the Disney brand, it’s so ubiquitous. But I’m not. I’ve been to Disneyland in California, and my inner child had a ball. And I think of all the genuine happiness Disney products have brought to children and the world. Yep, it’s a multinational corp. It’s probably evil. But I don’t hate it.

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I watched one of my colleagues, Maggie, re-cover a book today. She carefully cut the sticky plastic to size and folded it around the book, and it was good as new. She also explained to me the trick of using glue to stick loose pages back in – but you sometimes have to cut off the edge of the page if it sticks out. This is an old craft used by generations of librarians, but it seems to be disappearing. What Maggie was doing was actually unusual in today’s library climate. We are usually expected to throw out books that even have just a little bit of imperfection about them. Torn or loose page – throw it out. Ratty cover – throw it out. I mean, we do get downright grotty books come in that I happily throw out, but so many could be saved. It’s just not the mentality, especially with management. I mentioned this to another colleague, Belinda, later after Maggie had gone home, and she laughed and said, ‘Keep it quiet, we’re not supposed to do that’. So, just quietly…we have Outlaw Book Repairers at this library.

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