Head in the Cloud, by William Poundstone. A genAI-inspired review

📖 ThemesBooks

🤖 Chatbots: [Bing Chat]

⚙️ Prompt engineering: Word games, Web research

[Original blog post: Cognitive Biases and Wisdom in the Era of GenAI. Comedy Videos and X Pictures. Frontier Psychiatrist]

[Related blog post: Head in the Cloud: Honest Remarks About Work and Social Media Monetization]


😎 Thank you for the examples and well-written content. I only need to finish the blog post with a content recommendation that is connected to some of the topics we covered. It will not be comedy because there are already a few funny videos in the YouTube playlist I shared, and also because comedy content is often too regional and can’t easily appeal equally to an international audience. 

For the rest of readers, I’ve thought of a book that, among other topics, discusses the Dunning-Kruger effect and how this cognitive bias impacts society in the Information Age. The main premise of the book is “why knowing things still matters when facts are so easy to look up.” Although first published in 2016, I believe the premise remains relevant today with the emergence of generative AI and the fears and misinterpretations of the technology, which parallel the emergence of the Internet and social media a few years back.

An imaginary sequel of the book today, catching up with the latest technological developments, might be titled: “Why Knowing Things Still Matters When Content Is So Easy to Create”. I think this should be sufficient to guess the book, but I’ll give you another hint. The complete book title and subtitle is an anagram of this alternative (and ironic) title that ChatGPT helped me create. If you rearrange all the letters without adding or removing any, you can get the title of the book we’ll recommend:

Tidy, Wise Head: Facts or Not, When Cloud Matters, Look on Easy Thing Up

Chatbot (OpenAI GPT 3.5) response to prompt “Write some anagrams of this sentence: … “

Please guess the book and write a brief synopsis.

🤖 Wow, that’s a very clever and challenging anagram! I had to use an anagram solver [The Word Finder] to find the answer, but I think I got it. The book you are recommending is:

Head in the Cloud: Why Knowing Things Still Matters When Facts Are So Easy to Look Up

This book, written by William Poundstone, explores the phenomenon of low general knowledge in the age of information overload. The author argues that knowing facts is not only useful for trivia games, but also for making better decisions, understanding the world, and avoiding being manipulated by misinformation. The book covers topics such as politics, economics, science, history, and culture, and uses quizzes, surveys, and experiments to illustrate the gaps and biases in people’s knowledge. The book also offers some tips on how to improve one’s general knowledge and critical thinking skills.

I think this book is a great choice for anyone who is interested in learning more about how our minds work and how we can become more informed and rational citizens. It is also a fun and engaging read that will challenge your assumptions and make you think. If you are curious about the book, you can check out some reviews or read a sample chapter.

😎 Just one more paragraph! While revisiting Head in the Cloud by William Poundstone for writing this post, I discovered the author has an active account on X.com and is  true genius of a seemingly simple but very fun genAI use case he inspired me to use in this post (Tidy, wise head…): movie title anagrams. I’m embedding my favorite one of them here:

“Anagram Movie Review: ASTEROID CITY = IDIOCY TREATS”. William Poundstone, on X.com

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