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still wet

Sunday,  01/08/23  02:01 PM

Wow, still wet out there.  All over.  With more rain in the forecast.  I love rain, but not all at once, please.

So I posted about being a crypto grump, but I'm also an AI cheerleader.  If you've played at all with DALL-E or ChatGPT or any of these sorts of tools, you can immediately see the incredible value being created.  (BTW, I use AI as shorthand for AI/ML, hope you're okay with that.)  As Steven Levi notes in Wired, Welcome to the Wet Hot AI Chatbot Summer.  (He's drawing a parallel to the so-called AI Winter...) 

BTW the worst part of using the amazing OpenAI tools is having to go through their login captcha.  Every time.  Argh.

Ah, you got me started.  Not only are captchas bad, but passwords are bad.  (OpenAI requires both.)  Fortunately the Internet is kind of settling in to a "text message confirmation = password" alternative.  But another problem remains - the "login or create new account" dilemma.  I've created accounts on hundreds if not thousands of websites and of course I can't remember.  Make it easy for me, please; if I enter an email and password and you don't know me, ask me if I want to create an account.  How hard is that? 

Salon: An AI that can "write" is feeding delusions about how smart artificial intelligence really is.  We certainly have a chorus of professional writers disclaiming AI's ability to replace them.  I think we should ask ChatGPT to write an article, in the style of Salon, about how AI is not really intelligent.  Oh, wait...  [Later: someone did :)

As you know I'm a close follower of the Iditarod, and recently I got an email from them asking "who's ready for Iditarod 2023?"  Great question.  And, not me, yet.  If you've hung around here in the past you know I traditionally post about the Iditarod, and have even created a little race tracker to help follow the action.  Which I did do in 2020 - it was just before the pandemic became "the pandemic" - and did do in 2021 - a weird year with the Iditarod being one of the few sporting events still held - but which I did not do last year - I was sailing in Florida.  But this year I'd like to do again ... time to get ready! 

Excellent!  Boom supersonic unveils new Symphony engine for faster-than-sound Overture airliner.  Having lived through the whole SST era, I can't believe we don't have these yet... 

Henry Kissinger: how to avoid another war.  "End the Ukraine War by trading NATO admission for Ukraine in exchange for Crimea and Donbas staying with Russia."  Ah yes, diplomacy.  [via David Sacks, my old PayPal colleague who has rapidly become one of my favorite Tweeters] 

Along with crypto and AI, another present-day technology gathering headlines is AR/VR.  Like AI it's been around for a bit, but unlike AI it hasn't found any killer apps.  Yet.  I think the form factor is the problem - people don't like wearing things on their head.  Once we have reliable implants to inject video and audio directly into our brains, this problem will disappear :) but for the moment, it's a big hurdle.  There are other problem too; Wired has a report from a metaverse skeptic: I Threw a Holiday Party in Horizon Worlds. It Didn't Go Well

Another new technology gains traction: My Dystopian Ride In San Francisco's Fully Driverless Cars.  As a happy Tesla Model S owner with Enhanced Autopilot, I feel this is now only a matter of time.  There's a big difference between the car driving for you - while you are sitting there - and having no driver at all. 

John Battelle:The Next First Day.  "I'm resolved to come back to this patch of land and dig around. I don't expect anyone to notice, and that’s OK. I need to till the soil, clear the rocks and roots, and find out what might grow here."  Yeah, me too!