Etgar 36

San Francisco – Day 3

– Adam Ginchansky

We woke up bright and early on the 22nd day of our journey across America. Similar to yesterday we had to use public transportation to get around metropolitan San Francisco. Our first major experience of the day was discussing ChatGPT and AI with Dean John Lavine, a former dean of the Medill University of Journalism at Northwestern. Dean Lavine has researched many of the current issues surrounding technology and news to keep his information modern, factual, and relevant. This discussion was refreshing and different from any of the previous conversations we’ve had over the past few weeks. Rather than feeling like a one sided debate, it felt like a framing discussion, providing relevant facts to the matter well, not attempting to influence our opinions on the subject. The dean emphasized that to utilize ChatGPT and AI effectively we need to smartly use this technology as tools, not as generators and technology to do our work for us, because if we let AI do all our work for us, we will allow ourselves to be reliant on Artificial Intelligence instead of it being reliant on us.

After our factual and lightning discussion with the dean, we went to two vital neighborhoods to both our journey and the history of San Francisco. The first of these neighborhoods was the Haight-Ashbury, where we had the opportunity to shop and eat on Haight Street. Haight Street was the center of the counterculture (or hippie) movement in its most prevalent times. Over the past week or so, we have been discussing the impact of this movement across California and the United States.

After our experience on Haight Street, we went over to the second of the neighborhoods we would visit today, the Castro district. We went to the center of the Castro District where, in the early days of the LGBTQ+ movement, plans were ideated, Harvey Milk’s camera shop. Harvey Milk was the first openly gay legislator ever elected into California state government but was sadly murdered in the San Francisco government building by a fellow legislator. Even now, Harvey Milk’s influence is seen in everyday life for those of the LGBTQ+ community, and the community remembers him and honors his memory by celebrating their way of life in their architecture, art, and community.

After our cultural adventure through the districts and neighborhoods that are so important to many of the movements that exist today, many of us went to Ghirardelli Square by Fisherman’s Wharf. On our trip to the next experience on the day, we saw many of the neighborhoods that San Francisco residents call home, as well as the Piers that have brought both economic and cultural value to the San Francisco community. At Ghirardelli Square, we had the opportunity to shop, eat, or enjoy the views of the faraway Golden Gate Bridge.
After an exciting, interesting, and informational day. The entire group went to Yerba Buena Park, where we had an incredible wrap-up discussion pertaining to both LA and San Francisco. This wrapped up served as the last one for the members of our trip who are leaving tomorrow. After our wrap-up discussion, we ate dinner and returned to the park to participate in a Havdalah service organized by group members Eli, Ella, and Jake. This service was a meaningful conclusion of the trip to those leaving, as Havdalah is both the end of Shabbat and the beginning of a new week. To end a meaningful, emotional service, we sent off our departing friends with compliments and prayers to send them on their way home. Today, like many of the days on ETGAR, was a roller coaster of emotions, from the serious
and informational talk from John Lavine to the cultural and exciting Castro district and Haight-Ashbury to the symbolic and emotional Havdalah service. We wish all those who are leaving us tomorrow a safe trip home, and we hope to see you again sometime soon. From me and ETGAR: Peace.