Sunday Reads #175: Taking stock of the last few weeks in AI.
How quickly the absolutely marvelous has become commonplace. I still get goosebumps though...
Hope you’re having a great weekend.
I’ve had a particularly busy week (and the next two weeks will be no different), so I couldn’t get much reading (or writing) done.
So no new article this week. Instead, I’m sharing some recent reads on AI in case you missed them.
1. The ChatGPT Era: What the (near) future has in store for us.
We’re in a very interesting period in the evolution of Artificial Intelligence. The graph of progress has suddenly “gone vertical”. Things are happening faster and faster.
So fast that when I saw this tweet a few days ago…
… my first reaction was, “umm, no. I’ve seen far more wild stuff recently.”
How quickly the absolutely marvelous has become commonplace.
My first inkling that we are in a “golden era” of AI was in Nov 2022, when I saw this stat:
If you turn Copilot on, then you need to write only 60% of the code yourself!
I wrote about this then, in If only Maverick had such a wingman....
Copilot is such a perfect metaphor for what Generative AI can do for us!
A Copilot for writing. A Copilot for coding. For drawing images. Making videos. Everything.
This article feels so recent, but I actually wrote it before ChatGPT was even released!
Experiencing ChatGPT was something else. It was, and still is, an unending marvel.
Playing with ChatGPT helped me crystallize what I meant by calling this the “golden era” of AI.
As I wrote in Ghost in the Shell - How to truly harness AI in the ChatGPT era, we’re in the Centaur era of AI. Where Human + AI >> Human or AI Alone.
There are so many ways in which ChatGPT itself (never mind DALL-E, Github Copilot, and all the other innovations) can make us 10x better at what we do.
As a brainstorming partner, an omnipotent intern, and even as a co-founder who helps you make better decisions!
Of course, it’s not all “happily ever after” or even “happily for the next 3 years” with AI. The fact that content has become 100x easy to create, has not-so-great implications for how we navigate the web.
When you see any content online, the default assumption will be:
“This has been written by an AI.”
This won’t happen tomorrow. It might not happen for the next three years. But inevitably, it will happen.
The Internet will then become "a market for lemons", as I wrote in Lemon markets, dark forests, and a firehose of malicious garbage.
And what happens when the the Internet becomes a “never-ending firehose of malicious garbage”?
You start logging off the Internet…
…and logging in to more curated, closed communities.
The world has become gloriously open and free over the last few decades. Prepare for it to close down again into a new Dark Age.
Now, I must say: This last article is far more pessimistic than I actually feel today.
But I do think there’s going to be 100x more garbage on the Internet. It’ll be interesting to see how we adapt.
Before we continue, a quick note:
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2. Why now?
One question worth asking is “Why now?”.
As in, why are we all suddenly excited about AI in 2023? After all, GPT3 - the model behind ChatGPT - has been around since June 2020!
My first answer to this was that it was the power of the user interface. ChatGPT turned out to be the perfect way for people to experience the miracle of Generative AI and Large Language Models (LLMs).
But this wasn’t quite right either.
Because GPT-driven chatbots have been around for a while too. In fact, the original GPT documentation includes a guide showing exactly how to make a chatbot!
Nathan Baschez has an intriguing hypothesis, in Chatbots’ Time Has Come. Why Now?. As he says, the first innovation that truly blew people’s minds was DALL-E and image generation.
In a way, seeing what DALL-E could do “prepared our minds” for the magic of ChatGPT.
This might be true! I remember being thunderstruck by this clip below. I still get goosebumps watching it.
Pictures are indeed worth a thousand words.
Short and sweet this week. Hope you liked the articles.
I might not send a newsletter for the next couple of weeks, as I have my folks visiting. But I’ll be back in your inbox mid-March.
Until then, as always: Stay safe, healthy and sane, wherever you are.