This week, or so, in criticism #807

“Goal-driven systems won’t wake up one day with hostility to humans lurking in their hearts. But they will take actions that they predict will help them achieve their goal — even if we’d find those actions problematic, even horrifying. They’ll work to preserve themselves, accumulate more resources, and become more efficient.” Kelsey Piper explains why we won’t know until too late exactly when it would have been a good idea to turn the computers off (Vox).

“Some of the people have been talking about the movie in terms of how brutal it is, how dark it is, how tough it is. I’m just like: Guys? What world are you living in?” Christine Smallwood profiles Karyn Kusama, director of the new movie Destroyer (NYT Magazine).

What if Trump was right to condemn Fed chair Jerome Powell’s eagerness to raise interest rates last month? Labor’s share of corporate profits has fallen for decades, and it will never rise again if every hint of growth in wages is beaten down by the Fed as a sign of inflation, J. W. Mason points out (The Roosevelt Institute’s Next New Deal).

J. E. H. Smith thinks the whole having-a-soul thing is over: “A writer who works on the old system of production can spend days crafting a sentence, putting what feels like a worthy idea into language, only to find, once finished, that the internet has already produced countless sentences that are more or less just like it, even if these lack the same artisanal origin story that we imagine gives writing its soul. There is, it seems to me, no more place for writers and thinkers in our future than, since the nineteenth century, there has been for weavers.” (The Point)

A new book of photographs by the German photographer August Sander prints his images of ordinary Germans, of Nazis, and of German Jews whom the Nazis persecuted and killed, and “unfolds with the graceful structure of a sonata,” writes Brendan Embser (Aperture).

The scientific consensus is that cannabis use increases the risk of schizophrenia and other kinds of psychosis, and legalization of marijuana has been followed by spikes in mental illness and in violent crime. Malcolm Gladwell wonders if it might be prudent for public health reasons to slow down the liberalization of the drug (New Yorker).