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Bob Dylan wins Nobel Prize; President Obama talks artificial intelligence

Bob Dylan. Photo: Jean-Luc Ourlin

This morning, Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Dylan—who was such a longshot that a New Republic article on the prize’s betting odds was titled “Who Will Win the 2016 Nobel Prize In Literature? Not Bob Dylan, that’s for sure”—became the first American to receive the award since Toni Morrison, who won in 1993.

Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold has won the monthly Sidney Award for his reporting on Donald Trump’s missteps. He has been awarded “$500, a bottle of union-made wine, and a certificate.”

The founding of Logic, a new magazine about technology and culture, was announced yesterday. Creators Jim Fingal, Christa Hartsock, Ben Tarnoff, and Moira Weigel write that they’re trying to fill a void in contemporary coverage of technology, publishing writing that doesn’t view tech as either “brilliant or banal, heroic or heinous.” The first print issue arrives in 2017.

Wired talks to President Obama, who guest edited their November issue, about the myths and realities of artificial intelligence. “In science fiction, what you hear about is generalized AI,” Obama explained. “Computers start getting smarter than we are and eventually conclude that we’re not all that useful, and then either they’re drugging us to keep us fat and happy or we’re in the Matrix. My impression, based on talking to my top science advisers, is that we’re still a reasonably long way away from that.” MIT Professor Joi Ito also weighs in: “This may upset some of my students at MIT, but one of my concerns is that it’s been a predominately male gang of kids, mostly white, who are building the core computer science around AI, and they’re more comfortable talking to computers than to human beings. A lot of them feel that if they could just make that science-fiction, generalized AI, we wouldn’t have to worry about all the messy stuff like politics and society.”

Storytelling group The Moth has announced plans for a second collection. All These Wonders arrives next March and will include stories by Louis C. K. and Tig Notaro, among others.

At The Stranger, long-time editor and columnist Dan Savage rails against the banality of anniversary issues in the paper’s twenty-fifth anniversary issue. “I don't think readers care what was in the paper 10 years ago or 20 years ago,” Savage writes. “We're lucky if readers care what's in the paper this week.”

Tonight at McNally Jackson in New York, Emily Witt talks to Christian Lorentzen about her new book, Future Sex.