• The Cost of Imitative AI is too High

    Imitative AI — systems that slurp in a ton of data consisting of written or pictorial material and try to remix that material based on calculations about what letter/word or pixel should come next, also referred to as generative AI — have an enormous cost. Not only do the compute costs mean that imitative AI…

  • Sunday Good Reads for March 3rd, 2024

    I am travelling next week so posting may be lighter than usual. Enjoy the week. Boston lab space boomed. But higher interest rates hurt demand. – The Washington Post : A lot of “genius” business people seem to be just folks that took advantage of zero interest rates to do what everyone else was doing.…

  • Failed Writer’s Journey: The Case For Self-Publishing

    A bit of housekeeping first. This is a new section of the newsletter. If you don’t want to receive it, you can opt out of it via your subscription management page. I am a failed writer in the sense that I have never had my fiction professionally published. These posts, which will run on most…

  • Is the Military Substituting Data For Expertise? Or is Imitative Skynet Coming for Us All?

    The headlines are dramatic: “US military pulls the trigger, uses AI to target air strikes”. Skynet must be here and we are all doomed to a life of being chased by liquid robots, nineties hair, and Austrian accents promising to be back. But if you read a bit farther, the reality is somewhat less alarming,…

  • An Ownership Society is an Immoral Society

    I am not going to do a full review of Read, Write, Own. I generally only look at books that I think will be interesting and the reviews of this have made it pretty clear that this is bog-standard pump book. A book, in other words, meant to hype something rather than discuss it. The…

  • Systems and Wage Theft

    Wage theft accounts for about 50 billion dollars a year. It involves the largest companies in the world, such as Amazon and Walmart. It dwarfs almost all other kinds of theft, at least in the US. When caught, companies pay restitution, if the workers are lucky, and fines. No one ever goes to jail. I…

  • AI Tutors and How Hype Doesn’t Solve Problems

    In theory, an AI tutor might be one of the areas where imitative AI is socially useful, as opposed to being useful to the owners of the system. If it is done correctly, not as a replacement for teachers, but as a supplement (we will get into how in a few moments), it has great…

  • Failed Writer’s Journey: Why Not Self Publish?

    A bit of housekeeping first. This is a new section of the newsletter. If you don’t want to receive it, you can opt out of it via your subscription management page. I am a failed writer in the sense that I have never had my fiction professionally published. These posts, which will run on most…

  • Jailing Librarians is the Point: The Far Right’s Systematic Ending of Public Goods for LGBTQ+

    The New Republic has a story about how the West Virgina House has passed a bill that would put librarians in jail if a minor reads a book containing obscene material from their library, even if the librarian had no knowledge of the event, the book’s content, or the parents gave consent. Give a kid…

  • Tech Company Disinformation AI Accord appears to be PR, not Action

    Microsoft, Meta, Google, Amazon, X, OpenAI and TikTok announced a voluntary accord meant, allegedly, to help fight disinformation on their platforms. I have read the accord, and I am afraid it appears to be mostly posturing. First, the accord emphasizes that: We acknowledge the importance of pursuing these issues with transparency about our work, without…