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Thursday, March 30, 2023

An interview with Jonathan GPT Swift


Midjourney image below of Jonathan Swift in podcasting studio, via Carlos Orchoa

Tyler Cowen, in his "Conversations With Tyler" podcast series, has interviewed an AI version of Jonathan Swift, one of Robert Anton Wilson's favorite writers, using GPT4.

Here is the blurb for the episode: "GPT Swift discusses his support for the Church of Ireland, his shift from the Whigs to the Tories, and his opposition to William Wood’s copper coinage in Ireland. He also talks about his works, including Gulliver’s Travels and A Modest Proposal, and his skepticism of moral and intellectual progress. Swift addresses rumors about his relationship with Esther Johnson and his fascination with scatological themes in his works. He also discusses his early life in England, his intellectual mentor Sir William Temple, and his jovial attitude towards death."

One feature of the interview is that Cowen asks many of the same sorts of questions that he uses in other podcasts, including an "Overrated or underrated" segment:

COWEN: OK, we’re going to play a little game here. I will name a thinker or other item from your time, and you will tell me whether you think it is overrated or underrated.

How about John Donne, overrated or underrated?

SWIFT: I have great respect for John Donne, the metaphysical poet and cleric. Donne’s work is known for its complexity, wit, and innovative use of metaphors. His unique style and approach to poetry have had a lasting influence on English literature. In my opinion, John Donne is not overrated, but rather appropriately rated or even underrated, considering the depth and quality of his work.

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