Simon Willison’s Weblog


11 items tagged “mattwebb”


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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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

robotlab juke bots (via) Decommissioned industrial robot arms reprogrammed to act as super precise DJs. # 30th March 2007, 11:13 am

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