Simon Willison’s Weblog

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Monday, 10th June 2024

There is a big difference between tech as augmentation versus automation. Augmentation (think Excel and accountants) benefits workers while automation (think traffic lights versus traffic wardens) benefits capital.

LLMs are controversial because the tech is best at augmentation but is being sold by lots of vendors as automation.

Dare Obasanjo # 9:03 pm

Thoughts on the WWDC 2024 keynote on Apple Intelligence

Visit Thoughts on the WWDC 2024 keynote on Apple Intelligence

Today’s WWDC keynote finally revealed Apple’s new set of AI features. The AI section (Apple are calling it Apple Intelligence) started over an hour into the keynote—this link jumps straight to that point in the archived YouTube livestream, or you can watch it embedded here:

[... 855 words]

Ultravox (via) Ultravox is "a multimodal Speech LLM built around a pretrained Whisper and Llama 3 backbone". It's effectively an openly licensed version of half of the GPT-4o model OpenAI demoed (but did not fully release) a few weeks ago: Ultravox is multimodal for audio input, but still relies on a separate text-to-speech engine for audio output.

You can try it out directly in your browser through this page on AI.TOWN - hit the "Call" button to start an in-browser voice conversation with the model.

I found the demo extremely impressive - really low latency and it was fun and engaging to talk to. Try saying "pretend to be a wise and sarcastic old fox" to kick it into a different personality.

The GitHub repo includes code for both training and inference, and the full model is available from Hugging Face - about 30GB of .safetensors files.

Ultravox says it's licensed under MIT, but I would expect it to also have to inherit aspects of the Llama 3 license since it uses that as a base model. # 5:34 am

Spreadsheets are not just tools for doing “what-if” analysis. They provide a specific data structure: a table. Most Excel users never enter a formula. They use Excel when they need a table. The gridlines are the most important feature of Excel, not recalc.

Joel Spolsky # 12:43 am

2024 » June

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