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

Consumer Reports: The Future of Memory Safety

Consumer Reports published a paper on promoting the use of memory safe-languages and the challenges involved: Memory Safety Convening Report – Memory-Safety-Convening-Report.pdf

More in The Register

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:

The Expanding Dark Forest and Generative AI

A thought provoking essay from Maggie Appleton about where we are, and where we’re headed, with Generative AI and the Internet:

Proving you’re a human on a web flooded with generative AI content

Source: The Expanding Dark Forest and Generative AI

Bring back personal blogging – The Verge

A good read about blogging to start the new year:

The personal blog built the internet, and maybe it can fix it.

Source: Bring back personal blogging – The Verge

Happy Birthday Rose, We Miss You

Today would be Rose’s 45 birthday. She was taken by a sudden heart attack no one expected. My heart is especially with Mom, who lost her baby daughter, for Richelle, who lost her sister, and Jordan, who lost their closest confident, their escape hatch, and one person they knew they could lean on and trust, no matter what. So many are missing her, I know this, since we’ve been so out of balance since, never able to regain solid ground.
What is it with September? It still feels like our family slipped into the Upside Down of Stranger Things that day. One person, after the next, would pass away after Rose. And around us all, the world itself has become more and more insane. September! Tomorrow is 9/11. And Hunter passed away four days later. Maybe it was then that Space and Time cracked?
Grief is not something you pass thru and are done with, though so many try and tell you, you will feel better one day. It’s not simply a matter of time. The passing of time is necessary, but not sufficient. Feelings of grief touch you time and again, because they represent the love you had, that you no longer can give, and now ache for meaning and connection.
Here is to all of you missing someone this September. May their memories comfort you. May God, or fate, or the Force, or the deterministic universe, or whatever you worship that ultimately decides the cards dealt for you, keep your loved ones, and you, safe. May we all find homes for our love to reside, and the belonging of those we miss.