Simon Willison’s Weblog


14 items tagged “matt-webb”


Mapping the landscape of gen-AI product user experience. Matt Webb attempts to map out the different user experience approaches to building on top of generative AI. I like the way he categorizes these potential experiences:

  • Tools. Users control AI to generate something.
  • Copilots. The AI works alongside the user in an app in multiple ways.
  • Agents. The AI has some autonomy over how it approaches a task.
  • Chat. The user talks to the AI as a peer in real-time.

# 20th July 2024, 4:40 am / matt-webb, ux, ai, generative-ai, llms

Apple’s terminology distinguishes between “personal intelligence,” on-device and under their control, and “world knowledge,” which is prone to hallucinations – but is also what consumers expect when they use AI, and it’s what may replace Google search as the “point of first intent” one day soon.

It’s wise for them to keep world knowledge separate, behind a very clear gate, but still engage with it. Protects the brand and hedges their bets.

Matt Webb

# 11th June 2024, 5:26 pm / apple, matt-webb, ai, generative-ai, llms


It feels pretty likely that prompting or chatting with AI agents is going to be a major way that we interact with computers into the future, and whereas there’s not a huge spread in the ability between people who are not super good at tapping on icons on their smartphones and people who are, when it comes to working with AI it seems like we’ll have a high dynamic range. Prompting opens the door for non-technical virtuosos in a way that we haven’t seen with modern computers, outside of maybe Excel.

Matt Webb

# 9th July 2023, 3:29 pm / matt-webb, ai, prompt-engineering, generative-ai, llms

If I were an AI sommelier I would say that gpt-3.5-turbo is smooth and agreeable with a long finish, though perhaps lacking depth. text-davinci-003 is spicy and tight, sophisticated even.

Matt Webb

# 31st May 2023, 2:52 pm / matt-webb, ai, generative-ai, llms

The surprising ease and effectiveness of AI in a loop (via) Matt Webb on the langchain Python library and the ReAct design pattern, where you plug additional tools into a language model by teaching it to work in a “Thought... Act... Observation” loop where the Act specifies an action it wishes to take (like searching Wikipedia) and an extra layer of software than carries out that action and feeds back the result as the Observation. Matt points out that the ChatGPT 1/10th price drop makes this kind of model usage enormously more cost effective than it was before.

# 17th March 2023, 12:04 am / matt-webb, ai, openai, generative-ai, chatgpt, llms, llm-tool-use

Browse the BBC In Our Time archive by Dewey decimal code. Matt Webb built Braggoscope, an alternative interface for browsing the 1,000 episodes of the BBC’s In Our Time dating back to 1998, organized by Dewey decimal system and with related episodes calculated using OpenAI embeddings and guests and reading lists extracted using GPT-3. “Using GitHub Copilot to write code and calling out to GPT-3 programmatically to dodge days of graft actually brought tears to my eyes.”

# 13th February 2023, 4:03 pm / matt-webb, gpt3, openai, generative-ai, llms, embeddings


15 rules for blogging, and my current streak (via) Matt Webb is on a 24 week streak of blogging multiple posts a week and shares his rules on how he’s doing this. These are really good rules. A rule of thumb that has helped me a lot is to fight back against the temptation to make a post as good as I can before I publish it— because that way lies a giant drafts folder and no actual published content. “Perfect is the enemy of shipped”.

# 10th September 2020, 6:09 pm / blogging, matt-webb


Popular Science+. Matt Webb’s write-up of the Mag+ project, the platform behind the highly praised Popular Science+ iPad application.

# 12th April 2010, 1:06 pm / berg, design, ipad, magplus, matt-webb


Scope. Matt Webb’s opening keynote at this year’s reboot11. You owe it to yourself to read it.

# 8th July 2009, 8:15 pm / matt-webb, reboot, scope, talks


The technological future of the Web is in micro and macro structure. The approach to the micro is akin to proteins and surface binding--or, to put it another way, phenotropics and pattern matching. Massively parallel agents need to be evolved to discover how to bind onto something that looks like a blog post; a crumb-trail; a right-hand nav; a top 10 list; a review; an event description; search boxes.

Matt Webb

# 1st January 2008, 12:13 pm / agents, matt-webb, microformats, patternmatching, phenotropics, web


BBC Olinda digital radio: Social hardware. Schulze and Webb made a social radio prototype for the BBC; the IPR will be under an attribution license so manufacturers can run with it without asking for permission first.

# 20th August 2007, 9:47 pm / attribution, bbc, digitalradio, hardware, jack-schultz, matt-webb, olinda, radio, schulzeandwebb, socialradio

robotlab juke bots (via) Decommissioned industrial robot arms reprogrammed to act as super precise DJs.

# 30th March 2007, 11:13 am / jukebots, matt-webb, robotarms, robotlab, robots

From Pixels to Plastic. Awesome talk given by Matt Webb at ETech, on the emerging culture of Generation C, cheap hardware prototyping and physical extensions to the online world.

# 30th March 2007, 11:09 am / etech, generationc, hardware, matt-webb


about making things (via) Matt Webb on thinking through making.

# 31st July 2006, 3:09 pm / matt-webb