The big news from last Friday: We found out Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter was a done deal. Musk started firing Twitter executives, and at least one of the fired executives confirmed he was fired by Musk. There’s your smoking gun.
Musk announced he’d become the “chief twit” at Twitter and “the bird is freed,” forcing me to hear “Born Free” over and over again in my head. Thanks a bunch, Musk.
He then perpetrated one of the worst visual puns I’ve ever seen, carrying a sink to Twitter headquarters to let his ownership of Twitter “sink in.” At least he didn’t bring a toilet bowl around as he was tanking the executives.
He’s promised a lot of changes, the scariest of which — and just ahead of Halloween — is to reinstate Trump’s Twitter account.
“Here’s Donnie!” Yikes.
Musk is also promising to relax controls on content while at the same time suggesting that he won’t allow anonymity. Those two goals strike me as being at odds with each other. I guess the idea is to clamp down on control by Twitter, the organization, while unleashing control of the Twitter community in the form of mass shaming, facilitated by knowing who you’re attacking?
Well, he wants to eliminate bots. He builds AI-driven cars but wants no AI-driven Twitter accounts.
Speaking of AI power, there have been a few stories about new AI artwork applications. You can get an account online where you can tell a robotic Photoshop artist an idea for an image, and the thing will create something that meets the description.
Years ago, I did a painting that was supposed to be of myself and my dog from childhood with our heads swapped. There was a full moon outside a window. I think I called it “Wereboy and Weredog.” It wasn’t very good. I’ll bet one of these new applications could whip up something like that in seconds. I might want to feed it a picture of my dog and me.
Want to see what Trump would look like as a Miss Universe contestant? The AI artists could probably do that in a few microseconds.
I would like to see my vision of Elliott Bay paved over and open to traffic in all directions envisioned by robot. Or my idea that the SR-99 tunnel should have video screens lining it in both directions showing scenes of leaping dolphins alternating with sea lions coming up with salmon catches and seagulls flying overhead in a perpetual sunset. I’d like to see that captured in a panorama, all with cars driving by.
Or how about an artistic, science-fiction-y rendering of an attack on Seattle by flying saucers and big-headed aliens wielding discombobulators? Mass discombobulation next to the pig in the market while fish fly over tourists’ heads? Salmon being discombobulated out of existence mid-toss? One of the tourists should be Salvador Dali. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band should also be among the tourists.
When I was in graduate school — 3,000 miles from Seattle and four years since being here — I dreamt of seeing the entrance to the downtown railway tunnel, featuring a Great Northern mountain goat watching the entrance from Fourth Avenue. I drew the image at the time, but the AI version would probably be better. And way quicker.
Sound Transit now owns the light rail tunnel. It was able to buy the tunnel for $0 from King County Metro, having picked up the debt on the cost of building the thing. It makes sense for Sound Transit to own the tunnel the same way it makes sense for Musk to own Twitter: They who use the thing the most ought to own the thing. It’s just plain squatter’s rights. The price shouldn’t ever be an issue. If I go to the same store every day, it should belong to me.
Like Musk and Twitter, Sound Transit is promising some changes. It says it is going to fix most of the escalators and elevators in a year or two. Or three. It’s going to improve the lighting and clean up the artwork.
If Sound Transit would just fix all the escalators, I will promise that — on top of their promises — I’ll stop whining about the fact that the First Hill streetcar hasn’t been joined to the South Lake Union Trolley yet.
Read more of the Nov. 2-8, 2022 issue.