Simon Willison’s Weblog


Tuesday, 2nd January 2024

Tom Scott, and the formidable power of escalating streaks

Visit Tom Scott, and the formidable power of escalating streaks

Ten years ago yesterday, Tom Scott posted this video to YouTube about “Special Crossings For Horses In Britain”. It was the first in his Things You Might Not Know series, but more importantly it was the start of a streak.

[... 1352 words]

NPM: modele-social (via) This is a fascinating open source package: it’s an NPM module containing an implementation of the rules for calculating social security contributions in France, maintained by a team at Urssaf, the not-quite-government organization in France that manages the collection of social security contributions there.

The rules themselves can be found in the associated GitHub repository, encoded in a YAML-like declarative language called Publicodes that was developed by the French government for this and similar purposes.

# 5:55 pm / government, opensource, npm

Since the advent of ChatGPT, and later by using LLMs that operate locally, I have made extensive use of this new technology. The goal is to accelerate my ability to write code, but that's not the only purpose. There's also the intent to not waste mental energy on aspects of programming that are not worth the effort.

[...] Current LLMs will not take us beyond the paths of knowledge, but if we want to tackle a topic we do not know well, they can often lift us from our absolute ignorance to the point where we know enough to move forward on our own.

Salvatore Sanfilippo

# 2:50 pm / salvatore-sanfilippo, ai, generative-ai, chatgpt, llms