Omnium Gatherum

Jacob Akey, Crier Staff

Republicans lost because they deserved to lose. As of writing, Republicans have secured fifty Senate seats and will probably lose their shot at fifty-one when Hershel Walker flops in a runoff. The house too, remains very nearly evenly divided. In many ways, it is heartening to see voters take a stand on candidate quality. The senate races lost by Republicans featured political noobs taking on more experienced Democrats with merits to tout other than personal loyalty to Donald Trump. In New Hampshire, we saw a general turned full-time podcast guest get walloped by a former governor and incumbent Senator. Moving south, a TV doctor lost to a mayor and former lieutenant governor. There’s a wannabe cop losing to an incumbent senator in Georgia. Further west, a tech entrepreneur turned crypt ghoul lost to another incumbent. These four losers have one thing in common – Donald Trump likes them. Perhaps the golden billionaire is not reflective of the average New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Georgia, or Arizona voter. Afterall, he did lose these states in 2020.

You would be forgiven if you missed the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève last week. If the Oscars are irrelevant, then GPHG is nonexistent. GPHG is an industry-focused wristwatch award show. Hor in Horlogerie derives from the Greek hora, a personification of time. The Aiguille d’Or (think Oscar for best picture) went to MB&F for their first chronograph. It’s a technical marvel, but horribly ugly. That could be MB&F’s slogan at this point. Another notable winner is Parmigiani Fleurier, who brought home the women’s category with a 36mm rose-gold Tonda. It is a handsome watch and a good reminder that the oft-forgotten brand can keep up with the big boys. Bulgari won the jewelry category with a Serpenti variant. I find the line to invoke “Nastassja Kinski and the Serpent”: danger, sexuality, and temptation. Tag Heuer was “iconic” with a Monaco Gulf Edition rocking a Heuer 02. Grand Seiko won Chronometry, Van Cleef & Arpels got two statuettes for their artistic creations, and Tudor won the diver category with a Pelagos. There were no true surprises, except for maybe Hermes’ dominance in gendered complications.

I use Grammarly religiously; every paper and every email gets run through the software. For the uninitiated, Grammarly is a subscription-based web app that provides grammatical suggestions. It can correct comma splices and tone issues. However, the software is imperfect, and I accept only around half of the suggested revisions, many of which are stylistic. It is a valuable tool made more useful when the user can identify which suggestions are appropriate rather than blindly allowing changes. Grammarly is an AI-assisted software, not in the Skynet sense, but it does incorporate machine learning to conduct sentiment analysis of text inputs. This begs the question, when is it acceptable to utilize AI writing assistance? Grammarly itself is fine; the software is only a few steps beyond the spell-check of Microsoft Word or any other word processor. But when does technology cross the line to plagiarism?

Numerous AI writing assistants exist that can produce an entire essay with only a few subject prompts. A few years ago, they could only produce clunky word salads that any professor could immediately recognize as fake. Things have changed. Machine-assisted essays today are undistinguishable from any B- paper submitted in Conversatio. They follow logical chains, cite sources, and cannot be detected by anti-plagiarism software. The prose is imperfect and dull, but so is human writing sometimes. I am no futurist and cannot comment on the broader implications of such technology, but, in college, wholly AI-written essays will become ubiquitous, if they aren’t already.

The Ethics Circle met for the first time last week. The topic of discussion was the ethics of Twitter’s moderation policies. The conversation descended (ascended?) to the connection between thought and action; does the public existence of hateful thought directly lead to the actions of extremists, and, if so, ought that thought be removed? If you are interested in joining the conversations, email [email protected]. There will be another meeting this semester, and, if the first was any sign, it will be a lot of fun.