Simon Willison’s Weblog


Thursday, 23rd November 2023

To some degree, the whole point of the tech industry’s embrace of “ethics” and “safety” is about reassurance. Companies realize that the technologies they are selling can be disconcerting and disruptive; they want to reassure the public that they’re doing their best to protect consumers and society. At the end of the day, though, we now know there’s no reason to believe that those efforts will ever make a difference if the company’s “ethics” end up conflicting with its money. And when have those two things ever not conflicted?

Lucas Ropek # 8:41 pm

The 6 Types of Conversations with Generative AI. I’ve hoping to see more user research on how users interact with LLMs for a while. Here’s a study from Nielsen Norman Group, who conducted a 2-week diary study involving 18 participants, then interviewed 14 of them.

They identified six categories of conversation, and made some resulting design recommendations.

A key observation is that “search style” queries (just a few keywords) often indicate users who are new to LLMs, and should be identified as a sign that the user needs more inline education on how to best harness the tool.

Suggested follow-up prompts are valuable for most of the types of conversation identified. # 5:37 pm

YouTube: Intro to Large Language Models. Andrej Karpathy is an outstanding educator, and this one hour video offers an excellent technical introduction to LLMs.

At 42m Andrej expands on his idea of LLMs as the center of a new style of operating system, tying together tools and and a filesystem and multimodal I/O.

There’s a comprehensive section on LLM security—jailbreaking, prompt injection, data poisoning—at the 45m mark.

I also appreciated his note on how parameter size maps to file size: Llama 70B is 140GB, because each of those 70 billion parameters is a 2 byte 16bit floating point number on disk. # 5:02 pm

2023 » November