paper trail

Vauhini Vara on AI and grief; Saïd Sayrafiezadeh in conversation with David Adjmi tomorrow night

Vauhini Vara

For The Believer, Vauhini Vara has an essay about how AI technology—specifically a model called GPT-3—helped her grieve the death of her sister: “I found myself irresistibly attracted to GPT-3—to the way it offered, without judgment, to deliver words to a writer who has found herself at a loss for them. One night, when my husband was asleep, I asked for its help in telling a true story.”

At the New York Times, William J. Broad writes about Charles H. Loeb, a Black journalist who covered the atomic bomb strike on Hiroshima. Loeb’s investigations led him to conclude that radiation from the blast had sickened the city’s residents, a finding that contradicted the official line from the War Department, the Manhattan Project, and the New York Times. As the present-day Times article explains, “Science and history would prove Mr. Loeb right. His reporting not only challenged the official government line but also echoed the skepticism of many Black Americans, who, scholars say, worried that race had played a role in the United States’ decision to drop the experimental weapons on Japan.”

Tomorrow night at 8pm Eastern, Powell's Books in Portland will host memoirist and fiction writer Saïd Sayrafiezadeh in conversation with David Adjmi. Sayrafiezadeh will discuss his new story collection, American Estrangement, published by Norton.

LitHub has a list of twenty new books to look out for this week, including new work by Melissa Broder, Spencer Ackerman, Alaa Al Aswany, Elly Fishman, and more.

At The Cut, Lizzie Feidelson writes about the community of people with dissociative identity disorder on YouTube: “Instead of seeing their alters as fuzzy, scary presences, the hosts said, they had gotten to know them, and hosts and alters could communicate with one another easily.”