Tuesday, 5th December 2023
AI and Trust. Barnstormer of an essay by Bruce Schneier about AI and trust. It’s worth spending some time with this—it’s hard to extract the highlights since there are so many of them.
A key idea is that we are predisposed to trust AI chat interfaces because they imitate humans, which means we are highly susceptible to profit-seeking biases baked into them.
Bruce suggests that what’s needed is public models, backed by government funds: “A public model is a model built by the public for the public. It requires political accountability, not just market accountability.” # 9:43 pm
GPT and other large language models are aesthetic instruments rather than epistemological ones. Imagine a weird, unholy synthesizer whose buttons sample textual information, style, and semantics. Such a thing is compelling not because it offers answers in the form of text, but because it makes it possible to play text—all the text, almost—like an instrument.
Simon Willison (Part Two): How Datasette Helps With Investigative Reporting. The second part of my Newsroom Robots podcast conversation with Nikita Roy. This episode includes my best audio answer yet to the “what is Datasette?” question, plus notes on how to use LLMs in journalism despite their propensity to make things up. # 8:27 pm
A calculator has a well-defined, well-scoped set of use cases, a well-defined, well-scoped user interface, and a set of well-understood and expected behaviors that occur in response to manipulations of that interface.
Large language models, when used to drive chatbots or similar interactive text-generation systems, have none of those qualities. They have an open-ended set of unspecified use cases.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse screenplay (PDF) (via) Phil Lord shared this on Twitter yesterday—the final screenplay for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. It’s a really fun read. # 7:42 pm