Issue 229
Winter 2023/2024

The Artwork Logo

Dec 10, 2023

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ArtWork Newspaper Issue 229
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Editorial Comment

Artwork PO Box 3 Ellon AB41 ::

Forty years on – thanks to you!

THIS ISSUE of the paper completes our fortieth year of unbroken publication.

For this we have to thank a whole of raft of supporters, our writers, our printers, our lend-a-handers and, most of all, our very loyal advertisers, a very select few of whom have been in virtually every issue from the start.

As well, of course, we have to thank you, the reader, for confirming our strongly held belief that print is not dead and that not all communications need to be controlled by uncontrollable mega corporatons based far from these shores.

Missing among the list of those we have to thank – very fortunately as it has so often turned out – are the names of Creative Scotland, their predecessors the Scottish Arts Council, and indeed virtually all state or even local government bodies. Can they not have liked some of our cheeky editorial content? Surely not?

It has, of course, been a matter of policy never to apply to any of these bodies for support – apart from anything else there are far worthier causes out there,

(The odd crumb of advertising support could have been welcome, if only because, with a print run greater than the stated sales of Scotland's two 'serious' newspapers, we might have been thought a fairly efficient way to reach practitioners and readers interested in the arts.)

As regards the more general issue of state support for the arts, it must be a matter of some uncertainty whether the recent promises made by by the First Minister will endure, or whether in months to come, there will be further giddying U-turns on support for the arts like those we have seen in the recent past.

Wattch this space – and with your most generous support – keep reading these pages!

Musk-Sunak fantasy land

THE SIGHT of our Prime Minister, Mr Sunak, sitting at the feet of 'the world's richest man' and being lectured by him on the future of everything was not a particularly edifying one.

Even more nauseating was the knowledge that the world's press – or at least a good few of them – were sitting silently taking it all in, having disgracefully agreed to allow Mr Musk to escape any questioning from the floor.

Even the tv cameras were being manned by No 10 goons.

Among questions that might have come from the floor were some rather sceptical ones about one of Mr Musk's pet projects – the so-called 'driverless' car.

In the one area where so called 'robotaxis' have been generally permitted to operate the experience has not been a particularly happy one.

Traffic in the North Beach area of San Francisco was brought to a standstill recently when as many as ten of the driverless cabs ground to a halt together.

The city's fire department reported on numerous incidents in which the 'wonder' robocabs interfered with vehicles responding to 911 emergency calls.

Another report from the USA told of a pedestrian being dragged underneath a driverless car on a pedestrian crossing.

The odd question from the floor on incidents such as these might have been fruitful – as also might have been the odd question about the direction being taken by Twitter after Mr Musk morphed it into X and abandoned most control of its harmful content.

And how about the wholesale raiding of intellectual content by the operators of artificial intelligence systems?

Our Prime Minister may have been taken in by all this futuristic froth, but the assembled hacks should have had none of it.

Up in 'Cloud' cuckoo land?

THE INJUNCTION to “think before you print this” appended to so many on line communications might benefit from a little more scrutiny.

There is an assumption behind this appeal that somehow all online activity – searching, streaming or downloading data is somehow squeaky clean in environmental terms and comes at virtually no cost to the planet.

Very helpful in spreading this belief is the very cosy terminology employed. All your information – and everyone else's – is being stored in 'the Cloud', this fluffy entity somewhere up there in stratosphere.

Umm? Well – not really. You very rarely, if ever, see one portrayed photographically, but the so-called 'Cloud' is in fact made up of a massive array of energy and water gobbling server farms always well hidden from public sight.

The quantities involved are truly mind boggling, in some cases consuming these resources on a small nation scale.

Appeals made to artificial intelligence are especially greedy in terms of both power and cooling water consumption.

Think before you print? Yes, and maybe time to think again?

Head in the Cloud(s)?


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