Peter Biles

Peter Biles graduated from Wheaton College in Illinois in 2019 and went on to receive a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Seattle Pacific University. He is the author of Hillbilly Hymn (Resource Publications, 2022) and Keep and Other Stories (Resource Publications, 2022). He has also written for a variety of publications, including Plough, Dappled Things, The Gospel Coalition, Salvo, and Breaking Ground. Born and raised in Ada, Oklahoma, he currently serves as Writer & Editor for Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture.”

Archives

Researchers Find Social Media Affects Amygdala in Kids

Study finds that social media apps heighten sensitivity to peer approval in social settings
A recent study from the University of North Carolina found that social media use affected the brain matter in children, particularly the amygdala, which processes reward and punishment. Per an article from Neoscope, an imprint of Futurism, Researchers from the University of North Carolina have found, in one of the first studies of its kind, that habitually checking social feeds may change the ways early adolescents process social rewards and punishments — changes concrete enough that they can be seen as distinct and divergent neural pathways in brain scans.” Noor Al-Sabai, Scientists Find Something Strange in Brain Scans of Kids Hooked on Social Media (futurism.com) The researchers found that students who checked social media more frequently experienced greater sensitivity to their Read More ›

More Bad News for the Metaverse

Virtual reality projects are losing steam across the tech industry in the wake of layoffs and investor skepticism
Big tech companies across the spectrum, including Meta, Microsoft, and Apple, are scaling back on virtual reality research and development. The technological demands of the metaverse are more advanced than CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg have anticipated, and employees are feeling the impact. Microsoft recently laid off 10,000 workers, cutting funding from the lab responsible for the production of its mixed-reality “HoloLens.” The army was originally in the works to use the Microsoft lens for aids in combat and training, but the technology has since been labeled as “dangerous and poorly designed.” Meta laid off 11,000 employees last November and continues to struggle to gain interest and traction for its ambitious metaverse project. A report from Insider notes that a combination Read More ›

Will TikTok Handicap an Entire Generation?

Today’s weapons may look less like nuclear warheads and more like a mind-numbing app on your phone
Since hitting the app store in 2017, millions have downloaded TikTok, the “social” video media platform. It’s since become the most popular app ever created. Instagram is adapting its algorithms and layout to emulate its looming rival, and kids too young to read are scrolling through videos that range from the ridiculous to the crass to the semi-pornographic. A friend of mine, who no longer has the app, commented that when he did have it downloaded, he spent hours on it before at night before falling asleep. “It would be ten or eleven o’clock and then I’d check my watch it would be, like, four a.m,” he said. “It was bad.” TikTok is owned by the Chinese video-sharing company ByteDance. Read More ›

Do You Struggle to Focus? Medieval Monks Did Too

New book shows how ancient monks fought distraction and what they can teach us today
While the battle against constant distraction might seem like a new problem posed by our diffuse technologies, a new book from Jamie Kreiner argues that the struggle is perennial. The book is The Wandering Mind: What Medieval Monks Tell Us About Distraction. Kreiner takes the problem of distraction and puts it into the hands of the religious recluses of late antiquity. It turns out they had a lot to say. Like us, they struggled to maintain vigorous work routines. They courted the opinions of other monks and writers on what a modern-day LinkedIn guru would call “workflow” or “hustle.” In short, they were not so different from us. In his review of the book for Wired, Matt Reynolds writes, Early Read More ›

New Article Compares Big Tech to “Big Tobacco” of the ’70s

Like smoking in the 1970s — known to be dangerous yet poorly regulated — Big Tech is harming kids today yet is met with little intervention or pushback
In a new article from Deseret News, Brad Wilcox and Riley Peterson equate Big Tech to “Big Tobacco.” They argue that the online world has the same dangers and negative effects as other drugs, and go on to cite alarming mental health data to back up their claims. Similar to how smoking was found to be dangerous in the 1970s and yet poorly regulated by the government, Big Tech is harming kids today yet is met with little intervention or pushback.  They start with a powerful analogical anecdote, writing, Imagine if a man in a white panel van pulled up in your neighborhood and began enticing teens to look at pictures and videos featuring drug use, pornography and a range Read More ›

Princeton Student Develops AI Detector App

Software engineers are finding creative ways to regulate and detect ChatGPT
A 22-year-old student from Princeton, Edward Tian, has designed an app to discern whether text is human or AI generated. The tool, GPTZero, is already garnering interest from potential investors and will come as a sigh of relief to teachers and others who are worried about the advanced abilities of ChatGPT, OpenAI’s new text generator. According to a piece from Fast Company, Tian says his tool measures randomness in sentences (“perplexity”) plus overall randomness (“burstiness”) to calculate the probability that the text was written by ChatGPT. Since tweeting about GPTZero on January 2, Tian says he’s already been approached by VCs wanting to invest and will be developing updated versions soon.” Megan Morrone, Was this written by a robot? These tools help detect AI-generated text (fastcompany.com) Read More ›

Girl Tragically Dies After Doing Horrific TikTok Challenge

The 12-year-old from Argentina isn't the only victim of the fatal TikTok "blackout challenge"
A 12-year-old girl from Argentina died after trying the dangerous “choke challenge” on TikTok, per the New York Post. The girl, Milagros Soto, was found in a closet hanging from a makeshift noose on January 13th. Soto’s family members think she was bullied and challenged to perform the horrible online fad while at school. Soto isn’t the only casualty of the TikTok challenge, which involves asphyxiating oneself until passing out. It’s also only one of many “fatal fads” circulating the TikTok sphere. Also known as the “blackout challenge,” Tiktok users chase virality and clout by forcing themselves to pass out. In light of the tragic death, people are begging parents to prohibit TikTok from their children. Several Twitter users spoke Read More ›

Three Artists Launch Lawsuit Against Stable Diffusion

Content creators claim new AI tools violate copyright and intellectual property
Three artists, Sarah Andersen, Kelly McKernan and Karla Ortiz are filing a lawsuit against the AI image generators Midjourney, Stability AI, and DeviantArt. They claim the AI tools commit copyright violation and infringement of intellectual property. The lawsuit appears amid growing concerns among content creators over the increasing popularity and use of new AI image and text generators like DALL-E and ChatGPT. According to a report from Techspot,  The trio have launched a class action on behalf of all artists affected and are “seeking compensation for damages caused by Stability AI, DeviantArt, and Midjourney, and an injunction to prevent future harms.” The lawsuit alleges direct copyright infringement, vicarious copyright infringement related to forgeries, violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act Read More ›

What Students Lose by Embracing Easy Tech Like ChatGPT

AI systems not only pose a problem for teachers, but will compromise intellectual excellence and moral virtue
We’ve heard a lot about ChatGPT and its wonders and gaping pitfalls. Among the dangers it poses is academic cheating and corner-cutting. It’s no secret that the new bot makes Comp 1 a whole lot easier for a typical incoming freshman. Some universities and schools are banning the AI system outright. Teachers wonder how they will be able to discern plagiarism. Other voices chide the alarmists and call for students and teachers to use ChatGPT as a classroom aid.   But one area that has gone a bit underdiscussed in the conversation is ethics. Dr. Anthony Bradley of The King’s College tweeted this a few days ago, Students are writing papers using AI. Colleges are scrambling to combat it. We Read More ›

Will ChatGPT Replace Human Writers?

Some people think so. But maybe they’re mistaken about the purpose and nature of language
In the wake of the notorious ChatGPT chatbot from OpenAI, many are asking, “What’s going to happen to people who make their living as writers?” We’re talking journalists, novelists, academics, etcetera. It’s a valid question given the dexterity of the new technology. OpenAI’s DALL-E image generator poses the same question to visual artists. If a machine can generate a skillfully crafted piece of text or an image, the need for human writers and artists turns opaque. That is if we actually think artificial and natural intelligence are comparable competitors.   Cynics are claiming a doomsday for writers. Sean Thomas of the Spectator thinks doomsday is upon us. He wrote in a January 10th article, I’ve done writing of all kinds Read More ›