Pluralistic: How plausible sentence generators are changing the bullshit wars (07 Sept 2023)

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Pluralistic: Linkty Dumpty (15 July 2023)

Today's links

  • Linkty Dumpty: Things I thought about when I was supposed to be on holidays.
  • This day in history: 2003, 2008, 2013, 2018
  • Colophon: Recent publications, upcoming/recent appearances, current writing projects, current reading

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Google’s AI Hype Circle

We have to do Bard because everyone else is doing AI; everyone else is doing AI because we’re doing Bard.

An anatomical cutaway of a man’s head in cross-seciton. His brains have been replaced by a computer mainboard. In the center of the board is a virtuous circle diagram of three arrows pointing to one another. Each arrow features a flailing sillhoutted figured whose head has been replaced by the glaring red eye of HAL 9000 from Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey.’ In the center of the circle is the multicolored G Google logo.
Trevor Parscal/CC BY-SA 3.0; Cryteria/CC BY 3.0; modified

The thing is, there really is an important area of AI research for Google, namely, “How do we keep AI nonsense out of search results?”

Google’s search quality has been in steady decline for years. I blame the company’s own success. When you’ve got more than 90 percent of the market, you’re not gonna grow by attracting more customers — your growth can only come from getting a larger slice of the pie, at the expense of your customers, business users and advertisers.

Google’s product managers need that growth. For one thing, the company spends $45 billion every year to bribe companies like LG, Samsung, Motorola, LG and Apple to be their search default. That is to say, they’re spending enough to buy an entire Twitter, every single year, just to stay in the same place.

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Pluralistic: Google's chatbot panic (16 Feb 2023)

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“Conversational” AI Is Really Bad At Conversations

A read-only interlocutor is a robot troll.

A vintage 5.5" floppy disk. Its write-protection tab has been covered with the glaring red eye of HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Its label contains the scrawled word “ChatGPT.” In its center disc is a hypnotic spiral.
Cryteria/CC BY 3.0

In 1977, my father, a computer scientist, brought home a teletype terminal (a keyboard and a printer, no screen) and an acoustic coupler (a box with two suction-cups that matched up with the speaker and mic on the receiver of a standard Bell phone), and he connected it to the DEC PDP minicomputer at the University of Toronto. I was seven years old. I was hooked.

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