How Tech Reworked How We Hook Up—and Destroy Up

So now you can subscribe and get E. Jean every week as a Substack newsletter. I am a subscriber. The first issue came out this week and it is fantastic. So that’s my recommendation. You get all kinds of really great, snappy, fun writing. You get actual really good advice and you get those somewhat unhinged pleas for help that come in from the public that you can’t help but laugh at as you read the lovely responses that she writes. So that is my recommendation.

AP: I cannot wait to read this. I saw this announced on Twitter recently and just did a silent cheer in my head. Subscribed.

MC: Subscribe. Lauren, what’s your recommendation.

LG: My recommendation is a recycled one from an earlier Gadget Lab. You might recall that a few weeks ago, we had Kate Knibbs on to break down the wild world of NFTs. And at the end of that episode, Kate Knibbs recommended a book. I took her recommendation seriously. I’ve read it. It’s a beautiful book. It’s called Klara and the Sun, it’s written by Nobel Laureate Kazuo Ishiguro. He’s also written several other novels, I have not read any of his earlier work, but Klara and the Sun is a story of an AF, an artificial friend, as it’s known, who befriends the girl whose family she joins basically in this world that Ishiguro writes about. These families all purchase these AFs. I’m envisioning them as some kind of humanoid robot for their children to have companions and also for some assistance and that kind of thing.

And this particular AF Klara is an incredibly astute and observational robot and actually starts to perceive and interpret and feel emotions, which is what makes it interesting. And it’s just a really brilliant and beautiful book about the human experience and I guess the human-AI experience in our new world. So I recommend Klara and the Sun.

AP: Yes. And after you finished the book or before you can also read a fantastic interview that our colleague Will Knight did about the book with the author on It’s a really interesting conversation about artificial intelligence and literature and the future between two men who used to live in England.

LG: We’ll link to that in the show notes.

MC: Absolutely. I’m really looking forward to reading this book, but it’s about like 19th on my list. So I’m sure I’m going to be the last person in this circle to read the book as I am with most books.

LG: I also bought the Ram Dass book that you recommended, Mike, a few episodes prior to that, but I haven’t cracked that open yet.

MC: The cover is amazing, isn’t it?

LG: It’s beautiful. In fact, I’ll give it to you when I’m done with it, because it’s such a beautiful book.

MC: Oh, I have it. I bought it on the Kindle, thanks.

LG: Of course you did.

MC: I appreciate it. All right. Well, that is our show for the week. Thank you again to Arielle Pardes for joining us.

AP: It’s an honor just to be nominated.

LG: It was so fun to have you back.

MC: You can claim your award from the person in the bunny suit, standing outside your apartment right now.

AP: Thank you. Thank you.

MC: And thank you all for listening. If you have feedback, you can find all of this on Twitter. Just check the show notes. This show is produced by Boone Ashworth. Goodbye. And we’ll be back with our special 500th episode.

[Gadget Lab outro theme music]

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