Tennis, Motherhood and Serena Williams: The Week in Narrated Articles

Five articles from around The Times, narrated just for you.

Credit…Seth Wenig/Associated Press

This weekend, listen to a collection of narrated articles from around The New York Times, read aloud by the reporters who wrote them.

For Serena Williams, Tennis — Not Motherhood — Was a Sacrifice

When given the opportunity to write an essay in the September issue of Vogue, one that would touch on how she expected to “evolve” away from tennis, Serena Williams started by talking about her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.

Her daughter, whom she calls Olympia, wants a little sister. And Williams? She and her husband, Alexis Ohanian, would like that too.

Williams is gearing up to leave the court, and, in doing so, she continues to model what family planning can look like at the highest levels of sport.

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Credit…Ian Allen for The New York Times

A.I. Is Not Sentient. Why Do People Say It Is?

For many, the notion that today’s technology is somehow behaving like the human brain is a red herring. There is no evidence this technology is sentient or conscious — two words that describe an awareness of the surrounding world.

That goes for even the simplest form you might find in a worm, said Colin Allen, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh who explores cognitive skills in both animals and machines. “The dialogue generated by large language models does not provide evidence of the kind of sentience that even very primitive animals likely possess,” he said.

The problem is that the people closest to the technology — the people explaining it to the public — live with one foot in the future. They sometimes see what they believe will happen as much as they see what is happening now.

“There are lots of dudes in our industry who struggle to tell the difference between science fiction and real life,” said Andrew Feldman, chief executive and founder of Cerebras, a company building massive computer chips that can help accelerate the progress of artificial intelligence.

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Credit…Kaiti Sullivan for The New York Times

Drop Box for Babies: Conservatives Promote a Way to Give Up Newborns Anonymously

Safe Haven Baby Boxes are part of the safe haven movement, which has long been closely tied to anti-abortion activism. Safe havens offer desperate mothers a way to anonymously surrender their newborns for adoption and, advocates say, avoid hurting, abandoning or even killing them.

Over the past five years, more than 12 states have passed laws allowing baby boxes or expanding safe haven options in other ways. And experts in reproductive health and child welfare say that safe haven surrenders are likely to become more common after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Written and narrated by Alexandra Jacobs

Crazy Eddie’s Life Was Insane!

The most famous TV ad in the Orwellian year of 1984, carefully themed to the novel named for that year, was for the Apple Macintosh desktop computer. The most infamous were those for Crazy Eddie, a chain of discount electronics stores in the New York metropolitan area.

Gesticulating wildly in a variety of costumes or just in a gray turtleneck and a dark blazer, the actor Jerry Carroll, often mistaken for the mysterious Eddie, would rattle off a sales pitch ending with the vibrating, bug-eyed assurance: “His prices are INSANE!”

People hated those commercials, the journalist Gary Weiss reminds us in “Retail Gangster,” a compact and appealing account of Crazy Eddie’s artificially inflated rise and slow-mo collapse. But they worked — the company went public, with the inauspicious stock symbol CRZY — and also worked their way into punch lines of popular culture.

Written by Jonathan Abrams and Tania Ganguli | Narrated by Tania Ganguli

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Credit…Afp Contributor#Afp/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Why Pros Like Brittney Griner Choose Cannabis for Their Pain

In the two decades since the N.B.A. and its players’ union agreed to begin testing for marijuana, or cannabis, the drug’s perception has undergone a makeover in the United States, where it has been illegal for decades. Researchers don’t fully understand its possible medical benefits or harmful effects, but it has become legal in many states, and some professional sports leagues are reconsidering punitive policies around its use. Many athletes say they use cannabis for pain management.

Brittney Griner is one of them.



The Times’s narrated articles are made by Tally Abecassis, Parin Behrooz, Anna Diamond, Sarah Diamond, Jack D’Isidoro, Aaron Esposito, Dan Farrell, Elena Hecht, Adrienne Hurst, Elisheba Ittoop, Emma Kehlbeck, Marion Lozano, Tanya Pérez, Krish Seenivasan, Margaret H. Willison, Kate Winslett, John Woo and Tiana Young. Special thanks to Sam Dolnick, Ryan Wegner, Julia Simon and Desiree Ibekwe.

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Arden Noren