Roundup #5: The AI Epoch

Hello again! These are my latest thoughts on the areas I’m interested in. I hope you’ll enjoy learning more.

In this roundup:

  • 🤖 A.I.
    • Essay: Thoughts on the AI epoch — An idea maze for LLMs; Punctuated Equilibrium; The AI revolution; Where’s the moat?; The fate of Google.
    • My thoughts on AI (as a podcast!)
    • The BuffettBot Experiment
  • 🚀 Space — 4 photos and a link to summarize 2022.
  • 🔗 Interesting Links — Other takes on AI; Derek Thompson essays; and Choosing Good Quests.

🤖 A.I.

More of my favorites from the Midjourney Showcase because… why not?

Thoughts on the AI epoch

What more can be said about the AI boom that began its ascent less than a year ago? A lot! The potential of AI is immense and its influence on our lives is sure to be significant. And so I’ll continue. . .

Continue reading…

My thoughts on AI (as a podcast!)

A few months ago I had a discussion on my friend Eric Jorgenson’s podcast. We intended to talk about a variety of topics, but ended up discussing mostly AI.

With how fast progress has been moving recently, two months ago is like years, so some of the content may already be out of date. Some topics we discuss:

What is computer vision? How does a neural network work? How we’re making the world legible to computers. What will AI be capable of? How will Google fare in this new paradigm? Can computers smell?

#051 AI Evolution: ComputerVision, Olfactory Computation, and Neural Nets with Max Olson

The BuffettBot experiment

On December 14, I launched

BuffettBot uses the OpenAI API to search an archive of his writings and ask “Warren Buffett” questions. It even connects the answer to quotes and sources it pulled the information from.

Unfortunately the service only ran for 3 days before I had to FLIP THE KILL SWITCH.

No, BuffettBot didn’t become sentient and threaten to allocate the world’s resources. The usage just exploded and I couldn’t justify keeping it running given the daily cost of using the API.

Ultimately even though I had to shut it down for now, this was a successful experiment.

What’s the future of BuffettBot?

Given the cost to run it in the current form, I’m not sure what the future holds. I don’t think the best model for something like this is pay-per-use. (Although a platform with many of these bots may justify something like “charge $10 to ask 100 questions”.)

A version that’s much more cost efficient and still very valuable is something like the following:

“Buffett Archive” where you can semantically search all of Warren Buffett’s writings and interviews. Semantic search means you’re not doing a ⌘F and looking for an exact phrase, you’re looking for meaning in the text. So you could search “how did GEICO’s float change in 1995” or “the Washington Post’s moat” and get the most relevant results. The app will allow you to browse all the results, showing them in context of the letter/transcript/etc. that they were found.

Let me know if you’d be interested in something like this! Given the popularity of BuffettBot, I think this would be pretty valuable. And a “Munger Archive” as well.

🚀 Space

Although AI progress in 2022 seemed like the main show, we made some pretty big leaps forward in space.

The past year can be best summarized in 4 photos:

The “Pillars of Creation”, 6,500 light-years away, taken from the JWST Telescope.
The asteroid Dimorphos, moments before NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft impacted and changed its orbit on September 26, 2022.
The back side of our Moon, taken from Artemis 1 after the (finally!) successful maiden launch of the SLS.
11 engine static fire of the Starship Super Heavy booster on November 29, 2022. When Starship does it’s first orbital test launch this year it will be the most powerful rocket ever flown.

For a more detailed summary of what went down in space last year, Orbital Index gave a great rundown here.

🔗 Interesting Links

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