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Western spotted skunk

Hooded skunk

Yellow-throated Marten

Wolverine

An upside for AI / LLMs

February 11th, 2024

The new AI / LLM tools have many potential applications, but many of them will have downsides for some people–replacing copy writers, some tech support, these are benefits for the companies that apply them, but many of today’s jobs in those areas will be eliminated.

One application that seems inevitable and all positive is raising the floor for human performance. An tool that you can ask for advice, or better yet an AI tool that monitors you, by email, or watches internet use across devices, and/or is watching on video, understands what the user is doing, understands the context, and provides advice will help people avoid mistakes. While these mistakes are not obvious to the person making them, they are obvious to a person with experience, or able to research the problem. Imagine a person playing chess alone vs. someone playing with a chess program to flag potential mistakes, with the general knowledge of an AI allowing it to work in many more situations.

This AI tool can develop slowly and in a modular fashion, will be useful even in crude form, but will become revolutionary once it gets good enough. Imagine a person using a crude form of this as an interactive chat tool. The person could say, I’m taking a vacation to Greece and get advice on things to do, what they need to know about currency or visas. Or imagine a more advanced AI would remind a person of an appointments, or tells them they need to change the house air filter. If a person was goiing to make a poor decision–routinely using check cashing places or buying a car with poor service record, the AI could warn them.

This AI tool would be able to slot in special modules as needed. A person starting a business could get localized advice on the steps to take. Someone buying a house could get advice on things to check, and a new homeowner could get advice on what to check and repair and reminders for maintenance.


Links for February 2024

February 7th, 2024

What we talk about when we talk about The Future. A few thoughts on four genres of futurism. by Dave Karpf. Pundit futurism, The Professional, Techno-optimist Futurist, Cassandra-futurism, The Sci-fi futurist

Google Pixel 6 Pro, $220, specs

Bruce Schneier’s “AI and Democracy” talk at Capricon 44

February 4th, 2024

Bruce Schneier talked at Capricon about fifteen ideas he had on AI that are forming up into a 2024 book. One thing he mentioned is that AI would make lawsuits much cheaper to launch and carry out, and multiplying the number of lawsuits would mean that courts would need to adopt AI adjudication to adapt to this. Bruce passed over this pretty quickly, but I think this will have early and pronounced effect on society.

It looks like legal work is a problem AI will be able to solve soon. That is, AII tools will be able to contribute effectively to the process of filing and carrying out lawsuits. This is not one problem, but a set of related problems that AI will soon be able to do effectively. Given a set of facts and objectives, an AI will be able to determine what type of lawsuit to file, write it up in the proper jargon and format suitable for submission, determine and write a response to opposing counsel motions, summarize and prioritize discovery material, etc. A lot of legal work is routine, repetitive, and very similar to previous cases. Really, a perfect problem for AI.

The immediate upshot is that a lawyer using AI tools will be able to do much more legal work, work faster, and lawsuits will be much cheaper to launch. The short-term impact is that the number of lawsuit filed will go up multiple-fold and this will crash the courts. Gum them up. Bring things to a standstill. US courts are operating at capacity already and can’t handle more cases.

There isn’t any way for courts to prevent this. The lawsuits will be filed by lawyers at established law firms. Lawyers will use AI as a tool, review AI written suggestions and briefs, and from the court’s perspective these lawsuits will look just like the existing lawsuits, there will just be many more of them.

In the long term, it will make sense for judges and the courts to adopt AI tools to accelerate their end of things, but this will require new laws. New laws means years of hearings, discussion, negotiation, etc. Government functions require deliberation and consideration before making big changes. And who will develop AI tools for courts? The market is smaller and more uncertain than the market of making these tools for private law firms. And judges are very conservative, notoriously slow to act, to react, to adopt new technology.

So AI-assisted lawyering will hit the courts at some point in the next few years, but it will take a decade or more for the courts to effectively react.

Links for January 2024

January 15th, 2024

Robert Comploj, glass artist.

My proposed additions to the New York Times style guide to improve its political coverage by Dan Froomkin

Rich People Don’t Talk to Robots. How is it possible that I still need to explain this? by Josh Brown

10 Python Pandas Code Snippets That Solve Tasks Efficiently

Librarian on social media, mychal3ts

Links for December 2023

December 10th, 2023

New gene therapies confront many sickle cell patients with an impossible choice: a cure or fertility.
CRISPR treatment for sickle cell approved (Casgevy)

USB Logic Analyzer – 24MHz/8-Channel ($20)
Bus Pirate – v3.6a ($33) — v4.0 still experimental

Flipper Zero — Multi-tool Device for Geeks ($150)
CC1101 chip, making it a powerful transceiver < 1 GHz, 125 kHz RF
ID antenna, NFC module 13.56 MHz, BLE, infrared transmitter/receiver, 1-Wire, GPIO

Mini WiFi Surveillance HD Camera, $12.50
2K Pan/Tilt Security Camera, $26

A New mRNA Malaria Vaccine. By targeting resident memory T cells in the liver, a novel mRNA malaria vaccine prevented infection, even in those with prior exposure.

Falling In And Out Of Love With LA’s Mystery-Cloaked Magic Castle, part2, part3

How Many Creationists Are There in America?
2019 poll: 61%-81% US adults pick evolution, 32%-62% of US white evangelical prostestants

Disk mount issue

November 27th, 2023

I added a new disk, removed one on my workstation. It is running Ubuntu 20.04. Booted up, and the drive letters have changed, and the md number of a RAID 1 array changed. So I updated /etc/fstab and went to mount the /dev/md1 array. The mount command completes without error, but the disk did not mount. Turns out, needed to:

systemctl daemon-reload

Then the mount worked, and I could add the new disk to the RAID 1 array.

Limit Firefox memory

November 11th, 2023
  1. Open Firefox, go to about:config.
  2. Go to browser.tabs.unloadOnLowMemory, set it to true.
  3. Go to browser.low_commit_space_threshold_mb, set it to 2/3 or 3/4 of total memory on your computer. (e.g. 32GB -> 24000).

Links for November 2023

November 4th, 2023

G.M.’s Cruise Moved Fast in the Driverless Race. It Got Ugly.
“Half of Cruise’s 400 cars were in San Francisco when the driverless operations were stopped. Those vehicles were supported by a vast operations staff, with 1.5 workers per vehicle. The workers intervened to assist the company’s vehicles every 2.5 to five miles, according to two people familiar with is operations. In other words, they frequently had to do something to remotely control a car after receiving a cellular signal that it was having problems.”

Giant Pyramid Buried in Indonesia Could Be The Oldest in The World, Researchers Say
Gunung Padang

The genetic heritage of the Denisovans may have left its mark on our mental health. The study reveals that the genetic variant observed, which affects zinc regulation, could have signified an evolutionary advantage in our ancestors’ adaptation to the cold., link

https://www.watermarkremover.io/

Recent Trades – U.S. Congress. Reported within 45 days of trade.

NYT CTE in kids story

Zeppelins from Another World

Interview with GlobalFoundries CEO Dr. Thomas Caulfield by Dr. Ian Cutress
“There are only five foundries on the planet of any scale, > two billion dollars revenue. In 2022, GlobalFoundries was 8 billion dollars. In Taiwan it’s TSMC and UMC, then there’s GlobalFoundries with our global footprint, then Samsung Foundry and SMIC in China.”

SSD-Tester — SSD, M.2, thumb drive benchmarks

Warped Front Pages: Researchers examine the self-serving fiction of ‘objective’ political news

Kellogg, Kraft Win Antitrust Suit Against Egg Companies

Links for October 2023

October 2nd, 2023

Exclusive: John Kelly goes on the record to confirm several disturbing stories about Trump

Hair Turns Gray Due to Stuck Stem Cells: Hair-coloring stem cells must swing back and forth between their maturity states to give hair its color. Sun et al., 2023

Unvaccinated more likely to have heart attack, stroke after COVID, study finds. Being fully vaccinated reduced the risk by about 41 percent.Jiang et al, 2023

Are the costs of Brexit big or small? by John Springford
“the British economy is around 5 per cent smaller due to Brexit”

The Overwhelming Case for CBDCs (central bank digital currencies) by Willem H. Buiter

Scarce Labor As The Cause Of Innovation. The Habakkuk thesis, Rome and the robotics revolution by Angela Nagl

Book: Ignition!: An informal history of liquid rocket propellants. by John D. Clark

The Tacit Knowledge Series

Why can’t our tech billionaires learn anything new? On Marc Andreessen’s “techno-optimist manifesto” by Dave Karpf


Links for September 2023

September 16th, 2023

The Trilateral Shitpost Fire that was the 1980 GOP convention, part 1: On the long history of thinly veiled antisemitic conspiracy theories on the GOP’s right edge by Seth Cotlar

An Exciting New Approach to Autoimmune Diseases by Eric Topol

Absent Gods, Absent Catastrophes : The Sharing Knife and The Lord of the Rings

Disaster Conservatism: There’s nothing worth saving from the Tory years. Nothing at allby Nick Cohen