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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Saturday, June 22, 2024

Opinion

AsherColumn
Column

Around the Corner: Averting the end of truth

AI has gripped the United States, as technologies like ChatGPT and Midjourney have astonished the nation with their uncanny abilities. Midjourney, an AI art generator, can convert a prompt into an art piece in around a minute, in any style or medium. It has effectively demonstrated that art, a bastion of human creativity, may fall to the machines sooner than was thought. Further, TikTok has seen another form of AI trending: deepfakes.


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Viewpoint

Jumbos, it’s time to get out of the bubble

I came to Tufts excited to be in a city with real public transportation. Coming from a Los Angeles suburb, just about anything — even the failing MBTA — was a step up from what I was used to back home. Now, I use the T all the time to get to work or just to explore, and it shocks me to see how little some of my friends use it. My exploration of the Greater Boston area introduced me to a great variety of people, ideas and places that I never would have encountered at home without a car.


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Column

MisCONceptions: Introduction

America is dying. Whether you believe it is ill due to climate change, rising bigotry and predatory billionaires, or moral degeneration, family breakdown and a loss of unity may vary depending on your political ideology. However, we fear that in a time of increasing polarization, marked by the demonization of the opposing side in echo chambers found on the right and left, Americans are failing to understand what those with opposing viewpoints truly believe. 


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Viewpoint

It’s time to pump the brakes on the AI train

On Nov. 30, 2022, the artificial intelligence company OpenAI unveiled its brand new chatbot, ChatGPT, to the world. ChatGPT instantly gained popularity — it was the fastest new app to 100 million active users, beating out apps like Instagram, Snapchat and even TikTok — and it’s easy to see why. ChatGPT can write everything from articulate essays on any topic under the sun to songs in the style of the user’s favorite artists to slam poetry to fiction. It can also explain complex concepts to various audiences, often much more concisely and crisply than humans are capable of, to the point where ChatGPT is being floated as an alternative to tutoring for students. ChatGPT is so advanced that it is now being used by businesses, with firms using it to refine their writing and assist them with content marketing. With all the praise and popularity ChatGPT received in the months since its inception, it's easy to see why Microsoft, a significant investor in OpenAI, announced it would begin integrating ChatGPT’s technology into its search engine Bing on Feb. 7. Google, clearly worried that a modified Bing might pose a threat to their search engine, promptly announced it would soon be releasing its AI bot competitor Bard, integrating AI technology into its own search engine. While both Microsoft and Google’s moves are understandable and can be seen as exciting, the emerging race to integrate AI into search engines could have harmful societal impacts. 


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Viewpoint

A Super Bowl commercial’s window to medical privilege

Super Bowl LVII prompted a wide range of emotions. Rihanna’s spectacular halftime show sparked joy and amazement, from her fantastic backup dancers to her low-key pregnancy announcement. The Chiefs’ turn-around victory in the fourth quarter enthused some and crushed others. For me, one of the Super Bowl commercials caused confusion. From headlines like “Diabetes Patients at Risk From Rising Insulin Prices,” I have learned about crises the diabetic community face. Access to insulin is scarce, expensive and often not adequately covered by insurance. Stories of people rationing their insulin have often ended in grave illness and even death. Yet a Dexcom commercial featuring Nick Jonas highlighted a wildly different diabetic reality. By promoting technology that makes life simple for those living with the condition while neglecting to acknowledge the grim reality of so many with limited insulin access, the ad was an affront to marginalized communities and a gross display of medical privilege.


The Setonian
Editorial

Editorial: To the spirit of Ukraine

When missiles began to pierce the night sky and rain down on Kyiv a year ago, we did not think we would be able to write this piece. Like many analysts, we suspected Russia’s war crimes would lead to the tragic death of Ukraine and its people. At the time, calls abounded for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to flee the country, fearing he would be killed by the Russian invaders. 



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Guest

Op-ed: Pediatric hospital bed shortages in Mass. reveal a critical public health failure

Amid the current COVID-19 pandemic, another crisis bubbles just below the surface. Pediatric inpatient and ICU beds are at a critical level nationwide — capacity is strained to the brink as respiratory syncytial virus cases rise in parallel with a growing trend of pediatric hospital bed closures. From 2008–18, pediatric inpatient units across the country decreased by 19% as hospitals sought more lucrative services. In Massachusetts, children in need of an inpatient or ICU bed often wait an unacceptable length of time, or they are forced to seek care in neighboring states plagued by their own shortages.


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Viewpoint

Central Asian climate crisis and its global significance

Summers in my hometown of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan harbor joyous memories of playing under the sun with my friends and traveling with my family to our favorite vacation spot: Issyk Kul. Winters, however, have always been dreadful. It is not because of the lack of warmth and sunshine but rather due to the deadly smog that devours the entire city and keeps all its inhabitants suffocated by pollution and persistent darkness.


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Viewpoint

Tick … tick … boom?

Time moves forward toward the next exam, next semester, graduation, the future. Unfortunately, that future could be cut short according to the Doomsday Clock, which now sits at 90 seconds to midnight. Despite its somewhat ominous nomenclature, the Doomsday Clock is not a crazy, cultish phenomenon about the world ending, but a scientific measurement of how close we are to global human catastrophe. Scientists at the University of Chicago created the Doomsday Clock in 1947 to warn humans of the dangers of human-made technologies, like nuclear weapons. Manhattan Project scientists who helped build the first atomic bomb opposed its use against people and subsequently formed theBulletin of Atomic Scientists. The Bulletin needed a cover design for the June 1947 edition of their magazine, so they asked artist Martyl Langsdorf. Martyl was married to physicist Alexander Langsdorf Jr., who worked on the Manhattan Project. Hearing countless discussions about nuclear weapons and the risk they pose to humanity, “she sketched a clock to suggest that we didn’t have much time left to get atomic weapons under control.” The Doomsday Clock’s status is reassessed every year by the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board and its Board of Sponsors, a group that includes 13 Nobel laureates. It provides an authoritative assessment of the world’s current risk of annihilation by human-made technologies.


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Editorial

Editorial: Before you blame ‘the media,’ read the news

If you were an Instagram user in 2019, you likely remember an early iteration of online outrage: the Amazon rainforest wildfires. As fires tore through the Brazilian Amazon — partly due to regular farming practices and partly due to excessive deforestation — social media users were quick to direct outrage toward the news media.


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Editorial

Editorial: On a free student press

With tomorrow marking 54 years since the Supreme Court’s ruling in Tinker v. Des Moines, a case fundamental in affirming the First Amendment rights of students, we write to stress the importance of a responsible free press and the important role of student newspapers in holding university leadership accountable and ensuring an informed readership.



winickmarchmadness
Viewpoint

College basketball and the security dilemma

Every year, I try to win my friend group’s March Madness bracket pool, and I always fall short. The challenge of making a perfect bracket is so close to impossible that Warren Buffett offered $1 billion to any fan that could, but no one did. Therefore, it would be understandable if I was simply bad at making brackets, but I like to think I’m pretty good. So this year, in an effort to make it atop the pool, I found a new source of inspiration: political science.



erodgan
Viewpoint

Turkish and Syrian governments have failed their people

Turkey and Syria recently experienced a 7.8 magnitude earthquake, the largest earthquake to have hit land since the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Impacts were felt hardest in Turkey, where the country has experienced a death toll so far of more than 40,000, while the death toll in Syria has climbed to more than 5,800. Although there is little that countries can do to prevent earthquakes from happening in the first place, except for perhaps taking measures to slow the rate of climate change, it is imperative that governments act in their citizens’ best interests by preparing extensively.


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Column

The Strike Zone: Beijing’s precarious position

By transitioning from a centrally planned, collectivist economy under Mao Zedong to a free market system of “capitalism with Chinese characteristics,” China has undergone an economic explosion since the late 1970s, and many scholars see the nation’s continued rise as inevitable. China’s GDP per capita is quickly rising, and its annual growth has long outpaced the United States’, leading to predictions that China’s GDP will overtake America’s by 2035.


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Column

The End of the World Has Just Begun: The imperial backyard

Empires are built out of chaos, and when they fall, chaos often replaces them. As we soon may learn, this lesson applies to Russia and its periphery. Ever since the 19th century, Moscow has ruled over the Caucasus mountains, much of Central Asia and its Far East territories, and to this day has remained the regional security guarantor in the post-Cold War era. But now, ever since the Russia-Ukraine war exposed the weaknesses of Russian military force, its authority in the region has significantly deteriorated. Unfortunately, it is likely that this slackening will only lead to intensified geopolitical competition. Besides the Caucasus and potential internal security problems, the Central Asian states are where this is most likely to occur.



The Setonian
Column

Ukraine at War: What is known about the spring offensive?

Kryvyi Rih, a large industrial city in Ukraine where my immediate family lives, is located 43–49 miles from the frontline, so many of the wounded soldiers receive treatment in its hospitals. Both of my parents are doctors, and our conversations about their work often leave me speechless. Recently, my mom was testing new methods of lung ultrasound diagnosis with a group of patients — volunteers, who are mostly military officers. One of them shared with my mom that during the retreat from a small town, Soledar, something small and sharp — likely a bullet or a missile fragment — hit his ribcage. 



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