Simon Willison’s Weblog


Monday, 2nd October 2023

Weird A.I. Yankovic, a cursed deep dive into the world of voice cloning. Andy Baio reports back on his investigations into the world of AI voice cloning.

This is no longer a niche interest. There’s a Discord with 500,000 members sharing tips and tricks on cloning celebrity voices in order to make their own cover songs, often built with Google Colab using models distributed through Hugging Face.

Andy then makes his own, playing with the concept “What if every Weird Al song was the original, and every other artist was covering his songs instead?”

I particularly enjoyed Madonna’s cover of “Like A Surgeon”, Lady Gaga’s “Perform This Way” and Lorde’s “Foil”. # 6:50 pm

[On Python 3.12 subinterpreters] there’s massive advantages for mixed C(++) and Python: I can now have multiple sub interpreters running concurrently and accessing the same shared state in a thread-safe C++ library.

Previously this required rewriting the whole C++ library to support either pickling (multiplying the total memory consumption by the number of cores), or support allocating everything in shared memory (which means normal C++ types like `std::string` are unusable, need to switch e.g. to boost::interprocess).

Now is sufficient to pickle a pointer to a C++ object as an integer, and it’ll still be a valid pointer in the other subinterpreter.

ynik # 6:13 pm

jq 1.7. First new release of jq in five years! The project has moved from a solo maintainer to a new team with a dedicated GitHub organization. A ton of new features in this release—I’m most excited about the new pick(.key1, .key2.nested) builtin for emitting a selected subset of the incoming objects, and the --raw-output0 option which outputs zero byte delimited lists, designed to be piped to “xargs -0”. # 4:58 am

I think that discussions of this technology become much clearer when we replace the term AI with the word “automation”. Then we can ask:

What is being automated?
Who’s automating it and why?
Who benefits from that automation?
How well does the automation work in its use case that we’re considering?
Who’s being harmed?
Who has accountability for the functioning of the automated system?
What existing regulations already apply to the activities where the automation is being used?

Emily M. Bender # 12:20 am

2023 » October