Learning from ourselves

This is an interesting personal document for me: 19 or so years ago I attempted to capture life lessons I wanted to pass on, or remind myself of. I crystalized it on Github, last Thursday, 10 years ago. What beliefs of mine have changed? What makes me cringe? What do I wish I held stronger to? What have I not lived up to? It starts with my Personal Mission Statement I wrote on this blog, eons ago. It goes on to share aphorisms, bits of hard learned wisdom, and more. There is so much here to introspect on. Everyone has something to teach, especially to ourselves.

Emma, my awesome daughter, created a duet with John Lennon and Kermit the Frog, singing Rainbow Connection

M daughter created an amazing duet between John Lennon, and Kermit the Frog, singing “Rainbow Connection”, with a little Python, a John Lennon voice AI (ML) model, and Garageband. The way she tracked and leveled the audio is lots of fun. I love this so much! I think there is a wonderful lyrical connection between them that makes this extra special. Check it out on YouTube, keep listening to the 2nd verse to hear John start to sing, and the 3rd verse to hear both of them together: John Lennon and Kermit the Frog side by side, playing guitar and banjo respectively

Sometimes the way forward is back, and that’s not a retreat – on the wrong abstraction by Sandi Metz

I’ve seen problems where folks were trying valiantly to move forward with the wrong abstraction, but having very little success. Adding new features was incredibly hard, and each success further complicated the code, which made adding the next feature even harder. When they altered their point of view from “I must preserve our investment in this code” to “This code made sense for a while, but perhaps we’ve learned all we can from it,” and gave themselves permission to re-think their abstractions in light of current requirements, everything got easier. Once they inlined the code, the path forward became obvious, and adding new features become faster and easier.The moral of this story? Don’t get trapped by the sunk cost fallacy. If you find yourself passing parameters and adding conditional paths through shared code, the abstraction is incorrect. It may have been right to begin with, but that day has passed

Source: The Wrong Abstraction — Sandi Metz

An introduction to ChatGPT for educators

Jonathan Soma, a professor at Columbia’s Journalism School, wrote a short, useful introduction to ChatGPT for educators that will offer some insight for those interested:

Source: An introduction to ChatGPT for educators (and maybe journalists)

Google Engineer Claims AI Chatbot Is Sentient: Why That Matters – Scientific American

This was from May of last year, it feels like ten years ago already. The prognosticators saying that Google is in trouble because of ChatGPT aren’t recognizing the work that Google, and many other companies, have already put into machine learning. Between these efforts, and many others, it’s going to be a mind-blowing year.

Lemoine, a software engineer at Google, had been working on the development of LaMDA for months. His experience with the program, described in a recent Washington Post article, caused quite a stir. In the article, Lemoine recounts many dialogues he had with LaMDA in which the two talked about various topics, ranging from technical to philosophical issues. These led him to ask if the software program is sentient.

Source: Google Engineer Claims AI Chatbot Is Sentient: Why That Matters – Scientific American

The Case: to Expand the House of Representatives – YouTube

There is a capacity issue with the House of Representatives that results in terrible work-arounds where no one feels adequately supported by it. The writers of the Constitution understood this would happen and the House used to grow in size with the country’s population. Here is a short video explaining why we should resume that process: