5 of my most popular long read recommendations
Hello from sunny Bend, Oregon!
A weekly newsletter that highlights new and innovative AI products that are worth exploring.
It’s Friday morning and I’m sitting on the floor of a hotel room in Bend, Oregon, trying not to wake my spouse or kids as I type this email. We are here for a family reunion and some vacation time. Because of the packing and traveling I wasn’t able to test out a bunch of products this week. So instead I’m sharing five of the most popular long reads that I’ve recommended over the past few months. The regular newsletter should be back next week. Ciao.
Why Chatbots Are Not the Future by Amelia Wattenberger
"Last night, over wine and seafood, the inevitable happened. Someone mentioned ChatGPT. I had no choice but to start into an unfiltered, no-holds-barred rant about chatbot interfaces. Unfortunately for the countless hapless people I've talked to in the past few months, this was inexorable. Ever since ChatGPT exploded in popularity, my inner designer has been bursting at the seams. To save future acquaintances, I come to you today: because you've volunteered to be here with me, can we please discuss a few reasons chatbots are not the future of interfaces..." WATTENBERGER
Attention is All You Need by Packy McCormick
"The paper that kicked off the AI Revolution had a catchy title, as these papers go: Attention is All You Need. Written by a team at Google Brain in 2017, the paper introduced the now-famous Transformer architecture that powers large language models such as OpenAI’s GPT-4. As Chroma co-founder Anton Troynikov explained it to me in our first episode of Anton Teaches Packy AI, Transformers can do a lot just by paying attention to the right parts of the input. They don't need other types of neural network layers, like the ones used for convolutions or recurrent connections, to perform well. Attention is all they need. That same year, in a follow-up to his canonical Aggregation Theory, Ben Thompson wrote Defining Aggregators, to catalog businesses that capture value by controlling demand for abundant resources. Aggregators have three defining characteristics..." NOT BORING
AI and the American Smile by Jenka
"Imagine a traveler journeyed to various times and places throughout human history and showed soldiers and warriors of the periods what a 'selfie' is. This is the premise for a series of AI-generated images posted on r/midjourney. There are 18 images in the Reddit slideshow and they all feature the same recurring composition and facial expression. For some, this sequence of smiling faces elicits a sense of warmth and joyousness, comprising a visual narrative of some sort of shared humanity (so long as one pays no attention to the incongruousness of Spanish Conquistadors smiling happily next to Aztec warriors. Awkward.) But what immediately jumped out at me is that these AI-generated images were beaming a secret message hidden in plain sight..." MEDIUM
The Age of AI has Begun by Bill Gates
"In my lifetime, I’ve seen two demonstrations of technology that struck me as revolutionary. The first time was in 1980, when I was introduced to a graphical user interface—the forerunner of every modern operating system, including Windows. I sat with the person who had shown me the demo, a brilliant programmer named Charles Simonyi, and we immediately started brainstorming about all the things we could do with such a user-friendly approach to computing. Charles eventually joined Microsoft, Windows became the backbone of Microsoft, and the thinking we did after that demo helped set the company’s agenda for the next 15 years. The second big surprise came just last year..." GATES NOTES
Elon Musk’s Appetite for Destruction by Christopher Cox (New York Times)
"Early on, the software had the regrettable habit of hitting police cruisers. No one knew why, though Tesla’s engineers had some good guesses: Stationary objects and flashing lights seemed to trick the A.I. The car would be driving along normally, the computer well in control, and suddenly it would veer to the right or left and — smash — at least 10 times in just over three years. For a company that depended on an unbounded sense of optimism among investors to maintain its high stock price — Tesla was at one point worth more than Toyota, Honda, Volkswagen, Mercedes, BMW, Ford and General Motors combined — these crashes might seem like a problem. But to Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive, they presented an opportunity. Each collision generated data, and with enough data, the company could speed the development of the world’s first truly self-driving car..." NEW YORK TIMES
Until next week!
P.S. Have tips or suggestions for next week's issue? Reply to this email and send them my way.
P.P.S. Interested in having me give you private feedback about a product that you are building? Learn more here.