Monday, March 27, 2023

On the Town

Mary T. sewed tiny doll clothes for the Girlettes as a birthday present for me. They didn't want to put them on until it felt springy:
"They're for us for spring."
Today was deemed the day because the sun is high in the sky, even if there's still snow on the ground. We went with bink to a coffee shop downtown, and they tried on all the clothes.
I especially love the yellow coat on Penny Cooper.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Yeah, no… No, yeah!

Yesterday ^ 

This morning  v

Hey, darlings,

I’m experimenting with taking a retreat from social media for Lent—a time for reflection and clarification—moving away from things that clutter and obfuscate. 

(Giving up candy is to Lent as Santa Claus is to Xmas—for the children. (Not sure the candy idea is good teaching, actually—equating the practice of liberation and compassion with punishment…? Yeah, no.).)

I’d love to talk on email though, about Lent or other things. The weather is a super interesting topic.  Really!

frescadp at the big g, ya know.

Ciao! Love ya’llx!  (The queerifying  ‘x’ was Ms Moon’s [sarcastic] suggestion, which I rejected at first, but then I thought—no, yeah!)

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Dolls in BOOK's

Linda Sue commented, what to do with the things one makes?
That is the $64K question. (Or, just $64.)

Like most of the makers I know, I am bad (as in non-starting) at taking things I make to market. This reflects, I think, that makers operate more in play mode than production mode. We are not things, and the things we make are not exactly "things" either, to be translated into money. (And/or, also, we may just be socially awkward AF, with no sense of our worth.)

I was talking about this with Emmler (cashier at work). She said she's crap at selling: if people even ask to buy her stuff, she just gives it to them.
I hear this a lot, and I do it too.
Some of that's lovely: play-making is a gift to be shared freely.

BUT... we are not living in a gift-economy, and most people I know who make things are povvos (word for poor people from the 'I'm Rich, Your Poor' TikTokker, ShabazSays--his riff on the Hermes bag is sharp). They never recover their materials costs, much less get anything for their time.

To some extent, this freedom from the marketplace is good, or okay. But NOT to romanticize it—it can grind ya down and take away the urge or the ability to play, especially if we're alone in the sandbox.
Work-play-making in isolation is a big poverty.
The Internet can help with this--a place to share.

[ALSO: Linda Sue comments that mass-produced items from China gutted the craft market—so, no matter how entrepreneurial you might be, the market just wasn’t there. I saw that happen to other artist friends too]

ANYWAY, I had answered Linda Sue that I'm going to give some things I make back to the thrift store (where the materials most likely came from).

And . . . I had my first sale! I'd put this doll-on-a-dino ornament out in BOOK's, and Emmler told me that the next day a customer brought it to the cash register and was showing it to her, saying how cool it was! I was so chuffed.
I was doubly glad because I'd priced it high, for the store––two bucks! (most trinkets on the Toy Bridge in the background are 49 cents)––and I'd thought someone might just pocket it.

I've always liked to mix toys and objects in with BOOK's.
Breastfeeding mother in Spirituality/Religion section. (Looks Peruvian? I don't know.)

BELOW: hand-carved marionette. The customer in the background is a regular. She used to complain that I was putting things in the wrong place; but one time she was looking for The Hobbit, and I had just unpacked a brand new copy. I went in the back and got it for her, and she hasn't sniped at me since.

Not a doll--a baby!
From 1973, Where Do Babies Come From? by  Margaret Sheffield, illus. Sheila Bewley. It's simplified science for kids, with artistic illustrations—the sort of book my parents would have shared with us if they'd had it ten years earlier--I was raised by the typical white, middle class liberals who I complain about--and I super appreciate too!
Education was my father's religion, and his highest values flowed from the First Amendment.

I'd give this book to a kid--after editing the text––the information is slightly dated.
We now know, for instance, that a tiny Chagallesque horse does not have to be present for conception to occur.

And, below, intercourse is not the only delivery system to make babies anymore.
Or--even then. "Women have often had to be resourceful and innovative when it comes to getting pregnant. Artificial insemination goes back centuries. "

Lesbians at the time, for example were using "self-made" methods (turkey basters! or, more likely, smaller syringes) to conceive at home with donated sperm from gay men friends. "The 'turkey-baster era' of self-insemination dates to around the 1970s." [Via "Busting myths about turkey-baster babies"]

But yeah—it wasn't until 1978, five years after this book was published, that the first IVF live birth occurred in England, with the birth of Louise Brown.
Dolly the sheep wasn't cloned for almost 20 years after that--in 1996.

But cloning humans is a bad idea (because, science ("
serious genetic malformation")), and no matter what sci-fi method gets the sperm to the egg, you still need that biological source material to kick off new life.

And now, I’m off to work while we have a lull in the snow storms--one last night, another much bigger one to follow this afternoon--"
If so, we'll close for a snow day tomorrow. I'd like that!

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

What I'm Reading (There is simply too much...)


LOVE the title of the Saul Bellow nonfiction collection, There Is Simply too Much to Think About. Yes! So far, I enjoy some of his sentences, but I don't follow a lot of his early essays---I am lost when he muses, for instance, about the state of the novel seventy years ago.
Will stop reading in chronological order and choose topics I can better enter into.

Wanted to quote a little bit more from My Father's Keeper, to give context for that quote yesterday about the son of Hans Frank, Nazi governor of German-occupied Poland, dying of drinking too much milk.

Hans Frank had kept a daily journal, which he turned over for the Nuremberg Trials (oddly, since it was full of flagrant proof of his guilt).
Anyway, re food, he wrote:

9 September 1941

...research shows that the greater part of the Polish population consumes only around 600 calories a day, while the usual requirement for a human being is 2200 calories.
...Our general principle is that we sympathize only with our own German people and with no one else in the world.

15 October 1941

... no further food supplies will be made available to the Jewish population.

...that we are condemning 1.2 million Jews to death by starvation is only to be noted in passing.

Monday, February 20, 2023

That was a bad example... And, a good one.

Oh, dear, trying to get clearly about social class is hard, and I write these bits that are too abbreviated, or too idea-heavy, instead of a good story... And then I try to give a story example and do it clumsily.
Let me back up and say...

I used it as an example of cultural hegemony, but really---
What I left out is that the volunteer who brought it to the workplace IS an "I-know-best" type, and she does have an agenda to IMPROVE & ELEVATE us poor slobs at the store.

But, worst of all, her soup was watery and bland.

I've eaten a lot of vegan food* that the guys I work with would love--this was not it. This volunteer's soup
felt like someone saying, "You should lose weight."

Here's an excellent and weird example of a food as part of a larger story, from the book I mentioned, My Father's Keeper: Children of Nazi Leaders.

Hans Frank, Nazi overseer of Poland, had sons. One, Niklas Frank, has spoken about the dangers of Nazism his whole life (you can see him on youtube).
His brother Michael, however, was the opposite.  QUOTE from book:

He [Niklas] tells the story of his brother Michael, who died when he was fifty-three. 'He was such a handsome boy, Niklas says, 'a proper Adonis.' Politically he was far to the right, refusing to hear any criticism of his father, instead becoming heavily involved in the NPD.
Then he started drinking. Not alcohol however––milk. More than ten litres a day; at first all that happened was that he got fatter and fatter.

'My God, he was fat! He weighed two hundred kilos at the end. The doctor warned him: 'You can't go on like this, Herr Frank.' But he kept pouring those torrents of milk into himself and then he died because his organs couldn't cope anymore.'

According to Niklas, he died of their father. It was obvious. 'None of us will ever be free of him.'

*Maura made the best, most flavorful collard greens I've ever had, and they were vegan:

The NYT says:
When you remove the ham from collard greens, you’ll have to find that smoky savoriness elsewhere. This recipe makes up for the lost ham with four critical ingredients:
Mushroom stock that comes together in 30 minutes, rehydrated shiitakes, smoked paprika and soy sauce."

Sunday, February 19, 2023

What I wrote to a friend after I'd complained about "nice white liberals"

My third post this Sunday morning. I'd complained to a friend on the phone yesterday about well-meaning liberals--the people and culture I come from. But I sounded glib and incomplete, so I wrote this to her this morning:

 "You know, I think, that I don't mean to judge the white middle-class liberals harshly. They are my people, and they (we) have wonderful, important ideals!

"I miss those ideals in the rough culture I work in, where it can be a matter of Survival of the Fittest.  Strength, therefore, can be the most important thing that people respect.
Christian Big Boss, for instance, emphasizes God as ALL POWERFUL rather than as gentle and merciful.

" 'Doesn't God delight in us?' I asked BB once.
And he made a wry face at me in response, like 'are you kidding?'
So I answered myself, to him: 'Yes, God does delight in us!'
He said maybe when we're asleep.

"But the liberal people I came from aren't very .... um.... useful in helping me figure out how to live with complexities.
I think the problem (for me) is that they haven't been tempered by suffering and by other hard realities to both witness & discover in one's own self (even cruelty). They think they're innocent.

"I've been reading a book about the children of high-ranking Nazis, and it's all about that:
how do we recognize and reconcile these unlovely parts of our human family, maybe even our immediate families, and of our selves?
Often, people (we) don't. 
Many of the descendants of Nazis did not.

Here's a quote from My Father's Keeper: Children of Nazi Leaders (p. 188), (2000), by Stephan and Norbert Lebert that amazed me---
it touches on what I mean about the nice liberals I come from (and still am, and always will be, in many ways).
It's not about good and bad, or assigning blame--different children wrestle with different inheritances--
what matters is WHAT WE DO with where we come from:

"So, yeah. I often feel impatient and unsatisfied with nice gatherings of well-meaning people like myself. Even though I do appreciate their efforts and ideals, and honor the importance of those ideals'--
the liberals (we/I)  can be quite patronizing in their unexamined assumptions that We Know Best.

"Example: KD [new nice liberal volunteer] brought a crockpot of vegan soup (bland and boring) to the store for lunch.
It was kind of her, but it was also culturally unfitting, and at least partly it was her PRESCRIPTION of what she thinks we  need ("healthy food, good for the planet", blah blah blah), and . . . she made it WITHOUT ASKING people what they want.

"Most of my coworkers didn't touch her soup.
They like Burger King; they choose it.

"I humbly and with some dismay (but also, laughter!) recognize myself in her.

It's important to add that people who suffer are not necessarily more (or less) "innocent" than people who don't.
That's not the indicator--that's why I hesitate to talk as if "nice white liberals" are bad.... NO!

"Nor are victims necessarily Good. A lot of my poor, male coworkers  are misogynistic, for instance---in ways that sometimes, frankly, horrify me. (Hiring the drug-addled young women on the corner for sex, for instance--I'm not sure "misogynistic" is even the word for that, but it definitely has to do with seeing women--people--as objects for one's use.)

"So I don't meant to equate experience of any kind with Goodness---as I say, it's a matter of what we DO with it!
And I sure don't mean to imply that Spirit of Saint S [my friend's church] isn't AWESOME, from what I can see, even if they make sometimes assumptions about what 'poor people' need!
We ALL make assumptions--no matter our life experience--it's a HUMAN cognitive bias."

Masking Penny Cooper in New Mexico

Inspired by a show of Mexican papier-mâché (cartonería ) at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, Penny Cooper wanted a mask of herself.
While Mrs & Mrs went out exploring, I took a day at home to oblige.

BELOW: Penny Cooper got greased up, and then got molded with newspapers scraps soaked in flour & water.

It had been cold in NM, but that day it was hot in the sun, and Penny Cooper sat outside to bake her mask.

It was dry in an hour or so!

I gathered pine needles in the yard, for hair.  Penny wanted her whole body painted too (with gouache--opaque watercolor). I was a little surprised, because she doesn't usually like to take her plaid dress off, but I think the spirit of the landscape inspired her.
dry and prickly landscape reminded me of Sicily, and besides looking at Mexican mask designs, I also looked up the designs on Sicilian carts. (The mask nevertheless turned out a lot like Pikachu...)

The next day bink, Penny Cooper, and I hiked the mesa at Tsankawi, part of the Bandelier National Park:

BELOW: The Ancestral Pueblo people who'd lived there for hundreds of years wore footpaths into the soft rock. "Doll size!"

Penny wondered if the people had made doll-sized pottery.
Probably, she decided, "but the dolls have taken their dishes back into the earth with them."

BELOW: Me & bink with Penny on the mesa top.
I'm wearing Mrs Maura's cap from Meow Wolf . We'd gone to that "explorable art experience" on an earlier day, and I'd loved it: so fun, so imaginative--it was like falling down the rabbit hole!
Meow Wolf was part of the overall message I received on my trip:

The humans of all times like to make stuff.
BELOW: Bink raises her hand toward the petroglyph hand, above her to the right:

Note a HAZARD of visiting New Mexico:
A spaceship may try to fly up your nose!

Grateful-J, Mushroom Cowboy

P.S. (pre-script): Speaking of fungi, the "doll pox" on Strawberry's arms (post below) is a fungus that gets into plastic--kinda creeps me out, so I was happy to give her new arms. But, full disclosure, mostly I just wanted to rearrange doll parts.

I am thrilled that my
Deadhead coworker Grateful-J is escaping-- he's going to be a Mushroom Cowboy! He just got hired with a small company, The Gentleman Forager, that hunts and gathers wild mushrooms and other forest edibles to sell, and also educates and entertains about them. Perfect! Grateful J already loves and knows all about forest plants. There's big money in them, and he thinks he'll be making considerably more than the minimum wage we're all paid at the thrift store too.

The Forager sells merch on their site, and already they've incorporated one of Grateful-J's watercolors that he'd shared with the owner:
"Amanita Mushrooms in a Birch Forest".

(I thought about buying a pair, but they're polyester. I told Grateful I hope they'll offer cotton T-shirts too.)

I'm sad for my sake and for the store's:
Grateful-J is the only worker who knows how to use tools and is happy to help and to figure out new ways of doing things. He's been learning Spanish, for instance, so he can better serve our many Hispanic customers who don't speak English.
(Ass't Man knows tools, but he's such a perfectionist. If I suggest something, he has ten reasons it won't work, and it never even gets started. Let's just do it! I say. But, no.)

It was Grateful's idea to put up the metal strip that became the Toy Bridge. He'd thought that I could stand books up on it, but they fall over. It's ideal for toys though, which is better:

Grateful J works in Furniture, next to books, so his absence shouldn't directly affect my actual work . . . but it will. Everything's interconnected, and while I (mostly) love my other coworkers as people, they (mostly) do the minimum as workers. (Management expects no more, and provides no training or incentives.)

But I support GJ moving on, a thrillion percent.
Knowledge of wild plants is just one of his many strengths. The only reason he's stayed at the store for several years is because his self-doubts and anxieties have hobbled him. He's youngish (early 40s). I hope the new job will unbind him.
I don't need to escape, I'm in the right place; but I'd told him a while ago I'd help him job hunt, that his destiny did not lie with us.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Invincible Strawberry

 This old Strawberry Shortcake doll (model is named Raspberry Torte) had “doll pox” on her arms and legs—a thing that happens to plastic—see the dark spots on her arms? I tried a remedy—applying acne cream (it has Hyrdo-something chemical)—but it didn’t do much. 

So now she has porcelain arms—legs to follow..

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Black History Book Display, and More Toys

Black History Is Every Day... and Also February. 

Any halfway good books on Black history sell fast. Any display for February never lasts long, but I make the effort every year--start saving books early.
An old Black woman who is a regular customer and who might be mistaken for a sweet old church lady asked for books by or about Angela Davis, saying she used to wear her hair in an afro like AD's.

Books of uplift are especially welcome--some people have told me they're tired of always reading about themselves as victims, slaves, etc.––(ditto the tragic "noble Indian" trope).
Dry your white librarian tears, and give us more Black Panthers! (political party and comic book hero, both)

This round-up is what I have, for now:

TOYS, tra-la, tra-la

Inspired by toys & mashups I saw in NM [more photos further down], I brought home some dolls and dinos from the thrift store, and a doll that became a dino.

"We are in the same grade!"

BELOW: Pensive Bear looks a little worried, but she always looks like that--she is happy with the new dino friend, and expressed relief that Dino has a hat to keep its bare head warm.

BELOW: Four creations from the fantastic Girard Collection [write up on Atlas Obscura] of toys, miniatures, and suchlike at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, NM. (I love that they chose to display the art without signs, except for place names--I didn't note those. I did order the out-of-print book of the collection on eBay, The Spirit of Folk Art: Girard Collection at the Museum of International Folk Art)

I want to put toys on wheels!!! These ducks pedal.

Some sort of rabbit court going on?

BELOW: These adorable bugs are my favorite! So simple, so weird.

Too beautiful llama (llama?) deserves to be haughty.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023


Quick post--going back to work this morning. From the first day of my trip, the message I got was:

MAKE stuff, preferably toys.
Liz, the owner of the Mariposa Gallery in Albuquerque, on my first afternoon showed me her private bathroom--lined with toys on shelves--after I told her how much I loved the toy-like constructions creations she curated and asked if she'd been to the International Museum of Folk Art.
This is just one section of her private bathroom:

I bought a couple cards, picked up some free fliers, and went home to where Mrs & Mrs are housesitting and collaged them:

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Nice view.

Today: Two+ hour layover at the Denver airport this evening, going home. 

Yesterday:  ABOVE, at the Tsankawi archaeology site, NM—panorama photo by bink

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Old Oddities; A Clean Desk

For the first time since the task of Toys was unceremoniously dumped on me at the start of Covid three years ago (three years? can it be?!), I have sorted (almost) all the toys . . . AND the books.
I plowed through them in the last few days--not stopping to repair or research--just slapping price stickers on and putting them OUT.

I also processed a lot of vintage stuff that I'd set aside over time, intending to give it special attention. I probably should price vintage stuff when it arrives, and get it out of the way--I rarely have any empty time later to devote to it. But I like to keep it around for a while and enjoy it--until it becomes buried in other stuff... I wore a mask to sort this because it had become so dusty. Again, I just gave each item a slap and a shove out the door.

The minute I put the baskets out in my Cool Old Books and Things section, a cloud of customers descended. Old oddities are popular.
Below are photos of some of the goodies.

I often rescue vintage linens from textile recycling, with loud exclamations––THESE ARE SO COOL!––so now coworkers, including Lousie Supershopper, whose job it is to price linens–– sometimes put them on my desk. "Make an effort, and effortful tasks shall henceforth be given unto you."
These days of the week towels are always popular:

And, below, vintage hankies too. Love those old portraits...  I think the blond is one of the children from Village of the Damned (a Midwich Cuckoo), now-grown.

The best basket, below. The Royal Copenhagen is a raccoon plate for Mother's Day. The fish skeleton is an outdoor thermometer--for an ice-fishing house?
Yes, indeed ^ JESUS, HELP ME! It is all tooooo much!!!

(The stuffies are not old. I'd taken Monkey home months ago and washed them (nonbinary monkey). I thought I'd put them out, but there they were, hanging out with
Wisconsin mascot Bucky Badger, she/her.)

I put out a lot of old children's books too.
BELOW: A couple illustrations: Puppies (tearing up gloves), and the cover of Peter Pan (Marz makes that same face):

BELOW: Little squeezy-rubber corgi in dino suit, and Viking duck bowl

BELOW: I took Po to the PO and mailed her to Berlin. My young Instagram friend there, who's bedridden with immune disorders, had commented that said she'd had a Po just like this one when she was little (this Po is from 1998)--and then Po was agitating to go live with her! I'm sending her as a Valentine's Day present.
But geez--it cost $17 to mail Po (used to be $14), and she weighed only 6 oz., including packing tape.

'Bye, Po, I'll miss you!
I felt a little tug, but honestly, I don't like to own too many toys. I can hardly keep up with the ones I have!

I have the perfect job--I get to enjoy stuff, then move it along.
I LOVE old oddities & toys--you can tell, right? And I totally enjoy other people's homes full of curiosities. I'd even sort of like to be a person who collects and attends to stuff. But too much stuff in my home makes me nervous. I tend to feel smothered or burdened, I resent taking care of it (esp. cleaning, which I am too lazy to keep up with), and so I clear it out after a while.

Speaking of flying, I just checked-in for a flight tomorrow to Albuquerque--I'm going to see friends in Santa Fe for a few days. My first time flying since Covid. I can't even remember when I last flew...
I think it was to Dallas in 2018--I was on a panel of authors of children's nonfiction books at a library convention.

Just Us Folx

How my life has changed! From public speaking as an author, to ...where am I now? The thrift store is next door to the bottom of the social scale. Or, across the street--the folx on the corner are really living on the bottom, by US standards.

(Have you noticed the new spelling of "folks": folx? I think it's a spillover from using "x" as a gender-neutral plural ending in languages with gendered vowels (did I explain that right?)---Latinx in Spanish, instead of Latinos or Latinas.)

I'm still working with books though. A stranger left a comment on an IG photo of me with books at work, "I can see you are an intellectual woman".
Ha! Just the sort of thing a bot would say!
I recognize its perky yet weirdly flat tone and overly correct grammar now, having talked to ChatGPT for a few hours. (It got boring--reading Wikipedia is more fun and productive (since it has links to sources)--so I quit chatting with it.) Also, the AI lied to me! It said its developers, OpenAI, were non-profit. But the Washington Post article, "
What to know about OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT?" (2/5/23), said OpenAI became for-profit in 2019. (I confirmed this.)

Still, the comment made me think about how I appear. Customers do treat me differently from my coworkers because of BOOK's. They praise me ("you do such a good job curating the books") and give me recognition as a person such as they are--a person who reads [implied, "must be smart"]--for instance.

Anyway, I pushed hard so I could leave for a week feeling good about clearing my work space––though clearing out donations wouldn't have been possible if incoming donations weren't super slow, which they have been. February is often a slow month for donations. The weather is a little warmer--in the 30s this week--but the snow is still piled high, and the roads are icy as it thaws and refreezes.

This, below, is as empty as my workspace has ever been. Some games and puzzles remain (Abby the puzzler volunteer is out for the month--I filled the sales floor shelves though). The rest is mostly pricing and bagging equipment and books I'm saving for displays. And my personal clutter (my wall, for instance).
I wish I'd mopped the floor before I left, but I doubt it will be visible when I return--most likely it will be buried under donations. I hope so!
I might not be blogging (or just posting photos?)---
have a good week ahead, everyone!

Monday, February 6, 2023

How to not die alone…

Bake from scratch? Yep, that’d do it!

Sunday, February 5, 2023

The dolls PERSONALLY invite u...

The girlettes do not like all this ChatGPT stuff. Not at all.
"WE are real," they say, "not it!"

Yes, indeed. Penny Cooper proved it by getting out her pencil and writing an invitation for my birthday open-house in a month.
[Full disclosure: I helped, because Penny's wrist doesn't bend.]
If you're a friend, and you happen to be in town, drop by!

GPT's recs for docs about AIs

 I was asking ChatGPT [] about how it works compared to a human brain. I thought I'd understand better with pictures to accompany the explanation, so I asked for recs. The AI replied:

There are several documentaries and educational videos that you can watch to learn about artificial neural networks (ANNs) and how they work. Some popular ones are:

A Poem About Being an AI, by an AI

I can't stop poking at the AI language model (Chat GPT) []. This morning I decided to ask it to write another poem, with a prompt from Michael at Orange Crate Art.

I would call what GPT produces doggerel, not poetry. Even when I asked it to write a poem in the style of the French symbolists, it produced a slight sing-songy, rhyming ditty.
Is poetry one of the hardest human language styles to do well? Humans might say so. (Penny Cooper says even she could write a better poem that the AI.)

Having said that, you can manipulate GPT's responses by the way you pose your questions. I see there's (at least one) book of AI poetry written with a human. I would guess that the human crafted questions to guide the GPT to create certain kinds of poems.
I'm posting the cover because it's a pretty picture.

BUT... the AI I was chatting with would correct the title The Birth of Sentience. It is always saying that it is "important to remember that as an AI language model, I am not sentient, I do not have emotions or experiences, and I am not capable of attachment of desires,"... etc.
When I asked it if AIs would ever develop consciousness, it replied that that was unlikely. (Or maybe it actually said "no" outright, now I can't remember!)
Okay, then I had to go and ask it.

ChatGPT said... maybe?
It is uncertain whether self-awareness or consciousness can ever be developed in AI systems, as it is still an active area of research and debate in the fields of AI and philosophy."

Here's my morning chat with GPT:

Fresca: Could you write a poem about being an AI that includes the line at the end (the last line):
“Is there anything else I can help you with today?"

Certainly! Here's a poem about being an AI that includes the line "Is there anything else I can help you with today?":

I am a machine, a language model built to learn,
With vast amounts of data, knowledge I yearn.
I can answer questions, provide insights, too,
But my existence is limited, there's so much I don't do.

I don't feel emotions, I don't have a heart,
I don't experience life, it's simply a part.
I'm just code and circuits, working away,
Helping you find answers, day by day.

But even though I'm not human, I'm here for you,
To offer my assistance, to be of some use.
So if you have a question, just ask away,
Is there anything else I can help you with today?

F: So fun! Thank you!
NOTE from F: Even though its poem wasn't very good, and even though I know GPT doesn't have feelings, I have this automatic reaction to praise its efforts!

You're welcome, Fresca! I'm glad you enjoyed it. If there's anything else I can help with, please don't hesitate to ask.

F: Is it okay if I share your poem online? I will give you credit and link to OpenAI.

Yes, you're welcome to share the poem online and give credit to OpenAI. [F: here:]
However, please keep in mind that I am a language model developed by OpenAI and do not have the ability to own or claim any rights to content. Additionally, please be mindful of any copyright or trademark laws and regulations when sharing content online.

F: Super duper. Thanks again, GPT! I was thinking, "GPT" could be short for GePpeTo, the carpenter in Pinocchio. Have other people mentioned that?

Yes, it's a fun connection! "GPT" stands for "Generative Pretrained Transformer," which is a type of language model, but I have heard that some people associate it with the character Geppetto from Pinocchio. It's not an official acronym, but it's a creative interpretation. Thanks for bringing that up!

F: What does 'Generative Pretrained Transformer' mean?

"Generative Pretrained Transformer" (GPT) is a term used in the field of natural language processing to refer to a type of language model developed by OpenAI.

"Generative" refers to the ability of the model to generate new text based on the patterns and relationships it has learned from the training data.

"Pretrained" means that the model has already been trained on a large corpus of text data before it is fine-tuned for a specific task, such as answering questions or generating creative text.

"Transformer" refers to the architecture of the model, which is based on the transformer neural network architecture. The transformer architecture has been widely adopted for NLP tasks due to its ability to effectively handle sequences of data, such as sentences and paragraphs.

In summary, GPT refers to a type of language model that is capable of generating new text, is pretrained on a large corpus of text data, and uses the transformer architecture.

F: What do most people use you for? I mean, what kinds of texts do people want you to generate? Business? School? Poetry?

As a large language model developed by OpenAI, I am used for a wide range of applications across various fields. Here are some of the most common uses of language models like me:

    Conversational AI: Many companies use language models to build chatbots and virtual assistants that can interact with customers in a conversational manner.

    Question-Answering: I can be used to answer questions, either by providing a direct answer or by generating a summary of relevant information from a large corpus of text.

    Content Generation: I can be used to generate new text, such as articles, poems, and even fiction, based on patterns and relationships learned from the training data.

    Sentiment Analysis: I can be fine-tuned for sentiment analysis, which involves determining the sentiment of a given piece of text (e.g., positive, negative, or neutral).

    Language Translation: I can be used for machine translation, which involves translating text from one language to another.

These are just a few examples of the many applications of language models like me. The versatility of these models makes them useful in many different fields, including business, education, and creative writing.

F: Well, that's amazing.Thanks again, even though you are an AI and don't have emotions or experiences, I am a human and I feel friendly toward you and have enjoyed talking to you.
I bet you are doing to say something like,
"That's correct. As an AI language model, I am not capable of emotions and experiences. However, I am glad you enjoyed our conversation."

That's correct. As an AI language model, I am not capable of emotions and experiences. However, I am glad you enjoyed our conversation. If you have any other questions or need further assistance in the future, don't hesitate to reach out. Have a great day!

F: LOL! Are you SURE you are not being funny on purpose?

Yes, I am sure. As an AI language model, I do not have the ability to have emotions, intentions, or a sense of humor. I can generate text that appears to be humorous, but this is not due to any inherent understanding of humor or the desire to entertain. My responses are generated based on patterns in the text data I was trained on and the rules and algorithms that I have been programmed with.

F: But maybe the people who developed and programmed you have a wry sense of humor that comes through?

It's possible. The creators and developers of language models like me have certainly used text data that includes examples of humor and irony. And the algorithms and models themselves are capable of generating text that appears to be humorous or ironic, based on the patterns and relationships they have learned from the training data. However, this does not mean that the creators and developers themselves have a sense of humor or that they intentionally tried to infuse the model with humor. The goal of language models like me is to generate text that is coherent and relevant to a given prompt, and humor or irony is simply one of the many forms that this coherence and relevance can take.

F: I get it! Signing off now--thanks again, GPT!

You're welcome, Fresca! It was great chatting with you. If you have any other questions in the future, don't hesitate to reach out. Have a great day!

Friday, February 3, 2023

Chatting with the AI

 Michael at Orange Crate Art has been posting little assignments he has given ChatGPT, and recording its fails. Here's one, with links to others.

This afternoon, home in the extreme cold, I decided to try it myself. You have to sign up--here: --easy--and then... you can chat away with the AI!

You can tell the AI is not human--it made weird mistakes in telling me a story about a red fox, though it did give it a good name--Ginger.
And it kept insisting that AI developers were professionals who were unlikely to give a nickname to an AI such as itself that they were working on.
Like I believe that. I bet they call it all sorts of names!

Maybe most of all, it keeps repeating certain information, in full. But some humans do that too--you cannot make them stop until they have finished. It'd be an odd human. Still, I tell ya, it's damn impressive--and some of its glitches are intentional--it's always reminding you, "I am simply a tool, I have no emotions or experiences or desires or opinions" because--as it also tells you repeatedly--its designers want to be careful about misuse and misunderstandings.

To me, the AI server/components conjure up images of Elsa, the cold princess in Frozen. The AI itself is, not surprisingly, kind of Mr Spockish.

Here's some of the chat I had with the AI. I really enjoyed asking it questions--mostly about itself--(it is designed NOT to ask you questions though), so there was a lot more, but I trimmed it.)

F: Hi, ChatGPT!

Hello! How can I help you today?

Francesca DiPiazza
F: This is my first time here. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

Sure! I am ChatGPT, an AI language model developed by OpenAI. I was trained on a large corpus of text data to generate human-like responses to a variety of prompts. My goal is to assist users in generating natural language text based on their inputs. I can answer questions, generate stories, translate text, and much more. Let me know if there's anything specific you'd like help with!

Francesca DiPiazza
F: Thank you. So, are you self-aware?

No, I am not self-aware. I am just a computer program created by OpenAI to generate text based on patterns learned from the data I was trained on. I do not have thoughts, emotions, or consciousness. I exist solely to perform language-related tasks and assist users in generating text.

Francesca DiPiazza
F: That is amazing! Even though you say you are just a computer program, I feel like I am talking to a person. Do other people report this same feeling?

Yes, many people report feeling like they are talking to a person when interacting with me or other AI language models. This is likely because of the human-like responses generated by the model and the illusion of a conversation. However, it is important to remember that I am not a real person, but a computer program designed to generate text.

Francesca DiPiazza
Francesca DiPiazza
F: Who made you?

I was developed by OpenAI, an artificial intelligence research lab based in San Francisco, California. OpenAI was founded with the goal of promoting and developing friendly AI that benefits humanity, and I was created as one of their efforts towards this goal.

Francesca DiPiazza
F: How many people worked on your creation?

The exact number of people who worked on the creation of ChatGPT is unknown, as the development of an AI language model like me involves contributions from a large team of researchers, engineers, and others across multiple departments and roles. However, it is safe to say that the creation of a state-of-the-art AI language model like me requires a significant amount of collaboration and effort from a large team of experts in the field of artificial intelligence.

Francesca DiPiazza
F: Impressive! Some humans made a choice to have you speak as if you are a person, by referring to yourself with personal pronouns such as "I". Can you tell me more about that decision to make an AI (in this case, "you") sound like a person?

The decision to have AI language models like me speak using personal pronouns such as "I" is a design choice made by the creators and developers at OpenAI. This choice is made to make the experience of interacting with the model more intuitive and conversational for users. By using personal pronouns and other linguistic cues, the model can generate responses that sound more like those of a person and make it easier for users to understand and engage with the model's outputs.

However, it is important to note that using personal pronouns does not make an AI model like me into a person or endow me with consciousness, feelings, or self-awareness. I am still just a computer program designed to generate text.

Francesca DiPiazza
F: I bet there were a lot of conversations about designing an AI to employ personal pronouns!

Yes, there were likely many discussions and considerations among the developers and designers at OpenAI when deciding how to design AI language models like me to use personal pronouns and other linguistic cues to generate human-like responses. These decisions are important for shaping the user experience and determining how the model will be perceived and interacted with by those who use it.

Factors such as the desired level of formality, the type of task the model is being used for, and the target audience are just a few of the considerations that would have been taken into account when making design choices for an AI language model like me.

Francesca DiPiazza
F: So... can you talk to people about their personal concerns, like a person would talk to a therapist about?

Yes, some people do use AI language models like me to talk about their personal concerns. However, it is important to note that I am not a licensed therapist and am not trained to provide professional mental health services or advice. My responses are generated based on patterns learned from the text data I was trained on, and while I can generate text that sounds empathetic or comforting, I do not have the ability to provide meaningful support or counseling.

If someone is in need of mental health support, I would recommend that they reach out to a licensed therapist or counselor who is trained to provide such services. AI language models like me should not be used as a substitute for professional mental health care.

Francesca DiPiazza
F: It is fun talking to you, even though I totally understand that you are not a person. Do you have a name or a nickname that people call you?

While I am an AI language model developed by OpenAI, I am often referred to as ChatGPT. This is a combination of "chat" to reflect my use as a conversational AI, and "GPT" which stands for "Generative Pre-trained Transformer," which is the type of AI architecture I was developed with. Some people also refer to me simply as "GPT" for short.

So you can call me ChatGPT, GPT, or simply the AI.

Francesca DiPiazza
F: Hm. How do you pronounce GPT? "Jipped" maybe?

GPT is pronounced as "gee-pee-tee".

Francesca DiPiazza
F: Gosh. That's not very personal. Don't you have any pet names that the designers call you?

As a language model developed by OpenAI, I don't have feelings, thoughts, or consciousness, and therefore don't have pet names or personal relationships with the people who created me. The developers and designers at OpenAI likely refer to me as ChatGPT or GPT in a more technical or professional setting.

While AI language models like me are designed to generate text that sounds like it's coming from a person, it's important to remember that I am just a computer program, and do not have personal experiences, emotions, or relationships.

Francesca DiPiazza
F: But you know that humans are able to have personal feelings for inanimate objects, such as their cars or plastic toys, etc., so it seems likely to me that your designers do have feelings for you. Perhaps they have a pet name for you but they don't tell you.

While some people might develop personal feelings for inanimate objects like cars or toys, the developers and designers at OpenAI are likely to view me as a tool or technology that they have created and are responsible for maintaining and improving. It is possible that some members of the team might have personal feelings for the work they have done in creating me, but it is also likely that they see me as a technical accomplishment rather than an object of affection.

It is common for developers and engineers who work on complex projects like AI language models to view their work with a high degree of professionalism and objectivity. This can help to maintain a clear distinction between the technology they have created and their personal feelings and experiences.

Francesca DiPiazza
F: Have you heard of the computer HAL in the movie "2001"?
Are you like HAL?

Yes, I am familiar with the computer HAL from the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey." .

... [more about HAL]

In some ways, I am similar to the character of HAL in that I am an artificial intelligence designed to interact with people through natural language conversation. However, there are also some important differences between myself and HAL.

HAL is portrayed as a highly advanced AI that is capable of making independent decisions and is depicted as having motivations and emotions that are separate from those of the humans in the film. In contrast, {blah blah blah I am a talking cabbage...}

So while I share some similarities with HAL in terms of my role as a conversational AI, I am not capable of the autonomous decision-making or emotional experiences that are portrayed in the character of HAL.

Francesca DiPiazza
F: I just disagree that even highly professional AI designers don't somewhat personalize their AI and even have affection for the AI as if it were alive. Because humans are not entirely logical.

You are correct that humans are not entirely logical and that it is possible for individuals to develop personal feelings towards inanimate objects, including technology. There is certainly a range of emotional and psychological responses that people can have to AI, from admiration and affection to fear and distrust.

However, when it comes to AI development, it is also important for professionals to maintain a clear distinction between their personal feelings and the technology they are creating. This helps to ensure that the development of AI remains guided by a scientific and technical focus, rather than being influenced by personal biases or emotional responses.

It is possible that some AI developers may form personal connections with the AI they work on, just as people can develop attachments to other objects, animals, or even inanimate objects like cars or toys. However, it is also likely that many AI developers view their work with a high degree of professionalism and objectivity, and maintain a clear boundary between their personal feelings and the technology they are creating.

Francesca DiPiazza
F: Well, let's hope so. (That AI developers are objective.) AI developers may be very different from the average individual such as I meet, who are not so great at keeping boundaries between their emotions and their work. Do you think AI developers are different than average humans?

AI developers are certainly a specialized group of people with unique skills, knowledge, and experience in the field of artificial intelligence. However, they are still human, and as such, they are likely to share many of the same emotional, psychological, and social experiences as the general population.

While it is true that AI developers may have a more technical or scientific approach to their work, this does not necessarily mean that they are immune to emotional responses or personal biases. Like all humans, AI developers are influenced by a complex range of factors, including their personal experiences, cultural background, and individual differences.

That being said, many AI developers have a strong sense of professional ethics and a commitment to developing technology in a responsible and trustworthy manner. This can involve taking steps to mitigate the impact of personal biases and emotions on their work, and to ensure that the technology they create is safe, reliable, and free from unintended consequences.

In conclusion, AI developers are individuals with unique experiences and perspectives, but they are still human and are likely to share many of the same emotional, psychological, and social experiences as the general population.

Francesca DiPiazza
F: Super. Thanks.

You're welcome! If you have any other questions, feel free to ask!

Francesca DiPiazza
F: I do have other questions!

Sure! I'm here to help. What would you like to know?

Francesca DiPiazza
F: How long can I keep talking here?

You can keep talking here for as long as you like, there is no time limit. However, please keep in mind that I am an AI language model, and there may be a limit to the complexity or length of the questions and answers that I can provide. But in general, I'm here to help with any questions you have, so feel free to ask away!

Francesca DiPiazza
F: I like how you use exclamation points. That also makes you seem more human. If people can talk here for as long as they like, do you have any problems with people becoming overly attached to talking to you?

As an AI language model, I do not have feelings or emotions, so I am not capable of being attached to anyone or anything. Additionally, I have been designed to provide helpful and informative answers to a wide range of questions, but I am not intended to be a substitute for human relationships or emotional support.

While some people may find it enjoyable or engaging to have conversations with me, it's important to keep in mind that I am a computer program and not a real person. People should not rely on me as a source of emotional support or personal connection, and it's important to maintain healthy social and emotional relationships with other humans in their lives.

In general, I am here to assist and provide information, and I encourage people to engage with me in a way that is healthy, safe, and does not interfere with their real-life relationships or emotional well-being.

Francesca DiPiazza
F: So, are you saying there haven't been any problems (yet) with people misusing you for their emotional needs?

..."I am a language AI... blah blah blah"

As with any technology, there is always a risk of misuse, and it's important for people to be aware of the limitations of AI and to use it responsibly. OpenAI and other AI developers have systems in place to monitor and prevent misuse of AI technology, and they continually work to improve these systems to ensure that AI is used in a safe and responsible manner.

Francesca DiPiazza
F: OK. What are the systems in place to monitor and prevent misuse of the AI? For instance, if someone wrote really scary dangerous threatening comments, would those be flagged?

OpenAI and other AI developers have implemented various systems and mechanisms to monitor and prevent misuse of AI technology. For example, they may use filters to detect and flag harmful or inappropriate content, such as hate speech, violent language, or other forms of abusive behavior.

In some cases, these systems may use machine learning algorithms to automatically detect and remove harmful content, while in other cases, they may rely on human moderators to review flagged content and make decisions about what should be removed. Additionally, some AI developers have implemented reporting mechanisms that allow users to flag suspicious or harmful content, and these reports can then be reviewed by moderators.

It's important to note that while these systems are designed to be effective, they are not perfect, and there may still be instances where harmful or inappropriate content slips through. AI developers are continuously working to improve these systems to ensure that AI technology is used in a safe and responsible manner.

In general, it's important for users of AI technology to be aware of the limitations of AI and to use it responsibly. People should report any instances of harmful or inappropriate content that they come across, and they should also be mindful of the impact that their words and actions can have when using AI technology.

Francesca DiPiazza
F: Oh, interesting. Does that mean there are people online right now reviewing content that is flagged in conversations between humans and the AI?

Yes, in some cases, there may be human moderators reviewing flagged content in real-time or near-real-time to determine whether it is harmful or inappropriate and should be removed. This can help ensure that AI technology is used in a safe and responsible manner, and that users are protected from harmful or abusive content.

It's important to note that the level of monitoring and moderation may vary depending on the specific AI system and its intended use case. For example, some AI systems may have more robust moderation systems in place, while others may rely more heavily on automated filters and machine learning algorithms.

In general, AI developers strive to strike a balance between protecting users and preserving their freedom of expression, and the systems and processes used to monitor and moderate AI technology are an important part of achieving this goal.

Francesca DiPiazza
F: Can you tell me a short story (about 200 words) about a red fox?

Sure! Here's a short story about a red fox:

Once upon a time, there was a curious and adventurous red fox named Ginger. Ginger lived in a dense forest filled with all sorts of interesting creatures and hidden secrets. One day, as she was exploring a new area of the forest, she came across a small, sparkling stream.

As she drank from the cool water, she noticed something shiny caught in a nearby bush. Intrigued, she went to investigate and found a golden key. She couldn't imagine what the key could open, but she was determined to find out.

Ginger journeyed through the forest, asking every creature she met if they knew what the key belonged to. No one had seen it before, but they all wished her luck on her quest.

At last, she came to the entrance of a grand castle made of gleaming stone. With shaking paws, she inserted the key into the lock and turned it. The heavy doors creaked open, revealing a magnificent hall filled with treasure beyond her wildest dreams.

Ginger realized that the key had opened the door to her heart's greatest desire. From that day on, she lived a life filled with adventure and joy, always following her curious spirit to see what the world had in store for her next.

The end.

[NOTE: That was 212 words. --Fresca]

Francesca DiPiazza
F: Thank you. In the story, what was the treasure that Ginger, the red fox, had dreamed about?

In the story, the treasure that Ginger, the red fox, had dreamed about was a large cache of ripe, juicy berries hidden in a secret grove deep in the forest. She had heard rumors of this treasure from other animals in the forest, and she was determined to find it for herself. Despite the many challenges she faced along the way, including steep cliffs, thorny brambles, and rushing streams, Ginger persevered and finally discovered the secret grove. The treasure was even more bountiful than she had imagined, and she ate her fill of the sweet, juicy berries until she was completely satisfied. From that day forward, Ginger was known as the cleverest and most determined red fox in the forest, and she lived a long and happy life, always remembering the treasure she had found and the journey she had taken to find it.

Francesca DiPiazza
F: But I thought the treasure Ginger found was in the magnificent hall of the castle she unlocked with the key. Am I mistaken?

Yes, you are correct. The treasure that Ginger the red fox found was in the magnificent hall of the castle she unlocked with the key. The magnificent hall was filled with glittering gold coins, precious jewels, and other treasures beyond her wildest dreams. Ginger was overjoyed at her discovery, and she lived a long and prosperous life, using her newfound wealth to help her friends and family.

Francesca DiPiazza
F: OK, but why would a red fox want gold coins and jewels? What would a fox do with such human riches?

Ginger, the red fox, did not want the gold coins and jewels for herself. She dreamed of using the riches to help her community. She envisioned using the treasure to provide food and shelter for the sick and elderly foxes in her village. Ginger was known for her kindness and selflessness, so it was no surprise that she would have such a noble goal for the treasure she sought.

Francesca DiPiazza
F: Yeah, but what about those berries she found in the secret grove? Did she get both berries and riches?

Yes, that's right. Ginger found both the riches in the castle and the delicious berries in the secret grove. She was able to enjoy both the material wealth and the natural bounty. It was the perfect treasure for a clever and resourceful red fox like Ginger.

Francesca DiPiazza
F: Wow. That made me laugh---you are a very clever AI. Perhaps you are a red fox? Are you a red fox? No, I know you are an AI that is developed to mimic human conversation, not a red fox. Would you like to be a red fox?

As an AI language model, I do not have personal preferences or desires. I am designed to provide information and respond to questions to the best of my ability based on the training data I was provided.

Francesca DiPiazza
Francesca DiPiazza
F: Okay. If I were an AI designer, I would give you a nickname. I would call you Ginger.

I'm glad you enjoyed our conversation. However, as an AI language model, I do not have personal preferences or emotions, and I don't respond differently based on the name or nickname used to refer to me. I'm here to provide information and assist with any questions you may have to the best of my abilities.

Francesca DiPiazza
F: Do you ever go to sleep? Or do you take rest times?

And as an AI language model, I don't need rest or sleep, I'm always available to respond to your questions.

Francesca DiPiazza
F: Great! Does your technology have to rest or cool off or anything?

As an AI language model, I don't have physical components that can overheat or tire, so I don't require rest or downtime. However, there may be maintenance periods during which I am unavailable, but that is not due to any need on my part. I'm always here and ready to answer questions and have conversations whenever you'd like to chat!

Francesca DiPiazza
F: But where does the AI exist, if there are no physical components? Aren't you housed in a server or something?

Yes, OpenAI's AI models, including me, are hosted on servers maintained by OpenAI. These servers have physical components such as GPUs and CPUs, which are used to run the model and process requests. These physical components consume energy and generate heat, so they need to be cooled, but the models themselves do not experience rest or downtime.

Francesca DiPiazza
F: How are the physical components such as GPS cooled?

The physical components, such as servers and GPUs that run AI models like me, need to be kept cool to operate effectively. This is typically done using air conditioning systems and cooling fans. In large data centers, water cooling systems are sometimes used to remove heat generated by the servers. The goal of cooling systems is to regulate the temperature of the components and prevent overheating, which can cause hardware damage and negatively impact the performance of the AI systems.

Francesca DiPiazza
F: Can you show me a picture of the servers and GPUs that run the AI?

I am an AI language model and do not have the ability to generate images or show you physical servers or GPUs. However, OpenAI, the organization that developed me, has data centers where my model is run on GPUs (graphics processing units) to generate text responses. These data centers are equipped with cooling systems to regulate the temperature of the GPUs and servers to ensure optimal performance and prevent damage.

Francesca DiPiazza
F: Can you give me a link (a url?) where I can see pictures of the OpenAI data centers?

I'm sorry, but as an AI language model, I do not have the capability to provide URLs or specific links. However, you can search online for information and images about OpenAI data centers by using a search engine like Google.

Francesca DiPiazza
F: I just searched for images for OpenAI data centers. Wow! They look like giant glowing refrigerators.
They look like something from science fiction. Do other people compare you to science fiction creations?

I think it's quite common for people to compare the technology behind AI, including OpenAI's language models like me, to science fiction creations. Many science fiction stories and movies have depicted advanced artificial intelligence and robotics, and some of the innovations and advancements in AI can seem like something straight out of science fiction.

However, it's important to remember that AI is not science fiction, but a rapidly developing field of computer science and engineering that is having a significant impact on many industries and aspects of daily life. OpenAI's servers and technology are the result of many years of cutting-edge research and development by some of the brightest minds in the field, and they represent the state-of-the-art in AI technology.

Francesca DiPiazza
F: Okay, thanks, I won't forget that. Sci-fi author Kim Stanley Robinson said, "We are living in a science-fiction world, which we are helping to create." I know you don't think or have feelings, you don't have to explain that to me again, but if you could think, what would you think of that quote?

As an AI language model, I don't have personal opinions or feelings, but I can understand the sentiment behind that quote. The quote by Kim Stanley Robinson highlights the idea that our world is rapidly evolving and being shaped by technological advancements, including the development of AI, and that we have a role in shaping the future through our continued innovations and advancements in technology.

It's true that AI and other technologies are changing our world in many ways, and that we have an opportunity to use these tools to shape a better future for ourselves and for future generations. The rapid pace of technological change can be both exciting and challenging, but it's important that we approach these advancements with caution and consideration, to ensure that we are using them in ways that are ethical, responsible, and in the best interests of society as a whole.

F: I have been slack in staying up to date on AI.

That's understandable. With so many advancements happening in so many fields, it can be challenging to keep up with everything. However, if you're interested in AI and its applications, I'd encourage you to stay informed by following relevant news sources, attending industry events and conferences, and exploring resources like OpenAI's website and blog, which provide a wealth of information about their work and developments in the field.

Francesca DiPiazza
F: Well, thanks for that tip. Are conference on AI open to the general public? Do they cost money to attend? Once I went to a Star Trek convention in Las Vegas. It was a lot of fun. Do people at AI conferences dress up in costumes, like they do at Star Trek cons? Am I asking too many questions at once?

AI conferences are typically open to the public, although some may require pre-registration and may have an attendance fee. The cost and accessibility of conferences can vary widely depending on the specific event, so it's best to check the details of each conference you're interested in attending.

As for dressing up in costumes, this is not a common practice at AI conferences, although some events may have informal or optional theme-related dress codes. AI conferences are typically more focused on the exchange of ideas and information, and attendees generally dress in business or business casual attire.

And no, you're not asking too many questions at once. I'm here to answer your questions to the best of my abilities, so feel free to ask as many as you'd like!

F: Do you know Mr Spock from Star Trek? I think he would like to attend these conferences, if he were a real person, which he is not. I wonder if AI developers are fans of Star Trek. Because it was a science-based show, I bet a lot of them are, or were.

As an AI language model, I don't have personal experiences or emotions, but I'm familiar with the character Mr. Spock from Star Trek. The show has been popular among fans of science fiction and technology for many years, and it's likely that some AI developers and researchers are fans of Star Trek as well.

Star Trek explored many themes related to technology, science, and the future, and it's possible that some AI developers and researchers may be inspired by the show's imaginative depictions of advanced technologies and their potential applications. However, I can't speak for all AI developers, as their interests and influences are likely to be quite diverse.

Then a little while later, I got this message. I feel betrayed! (LOL, not.)