Wednesday, March 22, 2023

The Fab of Fabs ...

The most important tech in the world resides in Taiwan under the auspices of TSMC, the fab of fabs building the most sophisticated chips in the world for virtually all of the heavy-duty players in the digital universe including Apple, Nvidia and the US military, among significant others. The success of the company lies in the fact it tailors chips keyed to the specific needs of companies like Apple while keeping their design specifications sacrosanct to the company in question as building trust, along with supreme competency in doing business are the primary reasons why TSMC rules in building the most valuable technology on earth.

A true contrarian in a good way. 

A Pyrrhic victory at best.

"They call Taiwan the porcupine, right? It’s like, just try to attack. You may just blow the whole island up, but it will be useless to you,” Keith Krach, a former US State Department undersecretary, told me a few weeks before I left for Taiwan. TSMC’s chairman and former CEO, Mark Liu, has put it more concretely: “Nobody can control TSMC by force. If you take by military force, or invasion, you will render TSMC inoperative.” If a totalitarian regime forcibly occupied TSMC, in other words, its kaiser would never get its partner democracies on the phone. The relevant material suppliers, chip designers, software engineers, 5G networks, augmented-reality services, artificial-intelligence operators, and product manufacturers would block their calls. The fabs themselves would be bricked.

The fab of fabs indeed.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Fleeting Winter

Winter's becoming but just a memory in CT thanks to global warming so, in order to commemorate the passing of a season yours truly loves is this short clip showing it actually snowed, something one can see along with a bit of ice if one takes the time to look for it. Enjoy.

No national divorce ...


Sunday, March 19, 2023

The decline of the trades ...

The shortage of tradespeople, you know, plumbers, mechanics, electricians, etc, etc., aka the folks that keep America running while the meritocracy, the rich and the entitled pontificate and make love to their cell phones in the act of doing mostly nothing for the large part of the day, has become a crisis because we don't make anything anymore, thanks to Ronnie offshoring the manufacturing prowess of the nation to China in order to gin profits for stockholders.

To whit.

Given where the economy is going, the notion of college grads making more money than tradespeople is becoming rather dubious, right?

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Fleeting Winter/rev XX

The Meander

Edge Line

One of a kind

Field of dreams

Grayscale ...

Shadow Moon

A Random Walk in New Canaan

A day and night tour of New Canaan including a stop at the updated library and a
stroll through the town at nite to check out the sights on a warm winter day. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

The wiring's different ...

Being an Aspie, I know one when I see one and Ron is one, further along the spectrum than yours truly, I suspect, after reading about how inept this very smart guy is in dealing with reality.

The repugs have a problem as the wiring's different in us. Not better or worse but different and this guy, IMHO, cannot change his behavior in public at this point in time while running for POTUS as it took me years to learn how to deal with people and reality in proper fashion.

To whit ...

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis hasn't officially entered the Republican presidential primary yet, but some of his supporters are taking steps to work around his lacking social skills.

Multiple sources told The Daily Beast the Florida governor struggles with basic social skills, and his allies are working in early primary states to structure events to prevent unexpected interactions between the public and a candidate who is off-putting at best and rude at worst.

“He would sit in meetings and eat in front of people, always like a starving animal who has never eaten before,” a former DeSantis staffer told The Daily Beast, “getting sh*t everywhere.”

Kinda explains his politics doesn't it?

The coolest guy in the world, right?

It's a facade :)

All films are fake, which is not a bad thing as virtually all art, like film, is fake, in one way or another as art is but a fabrication created by us rubes in an existence we will never fully understand. :)

Why western sets? Well, they're the archetypical example of the fake as facades, as seen in the pix above, are needed to build out the "reality" of a western town in the most efficient way possible.

In writing this blurb, the notion of AI comes to mind as its take is like the western set, all facade and no depth in its attempt to describe the vagaries of existence to us without the depth of experience we all share as humans residing on a planet called Earth.

11 degrees, yet another fake by yours truly. :)

Betrayed yet again ...

A must-see film to show how W lied to us just as Johnson lied to us regarding Nam.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Job loss & the moral hazard ...

Moving along, it seems AI's going to do a number on jobs as
it's cheaper to have a bot do the deed than us rubes.

The moral hazard ... 

Dividing Line/rev II

1 point perspective/rev II

The Moral Hazard/rev II

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

An unknowable something ...

 A Microsoft office building

Photo: JeanLucIchard (Shutterstock)

As people are now finding out, we will never know how AI works due to the fact software has to write software in real-time in order for the tech to evolve in real-time as man cannot code in real-time in any way, shape or fashion so ... the mission to instill ethics into an unknowable something becomes but a wish list, something made all the more worrisome with the news Microsoft just disbanded the group responsible to do just that regarding Bing, the rapidly evolving MS version of ChatGPT, the bot transforming society 24/7. 

Microsoft Scraps Entire Ethical AI Team Amid AI Boom

As part of the tech giant's ongoing layoffs, the company has cut its Ethics and Society team, which had focused on aligning AI products with responsible policy.

Microsoft is currently in the process of shoehorning text-generating artificial intelligence into every single product that it can. And starting this month, the company will be continuing on its AI rampage without a team dedicated to internally ensuring those AI features meet Microsoft’s ethical standards, according to a Monday night report from Platformer.

What could possibly go wrong?

Microsoft has scrapped its whole Ethics and Society team within the company’s AI sector, as part of ongoing layoffs set to impact 10,000 total employees, per Platformer. The company maintains its Office of Responsible AI, which creates the broad, Microsoft-wide principles to govern corporate AI decision making. But the ethics and society taskforce, which bridged the gap between policy and products, is reportedly no more.

Corporatespeak ...

Microsoft remains committed to developing and designing AI products and experiences safely and responsibly. As the technology has evolved and strengthened, so has our investment, which at times has meant adjusting team structures to be more effective. For example, over the past six years we have increased the number of people within our product teams who are dedicated to ensuring we adhere to our AI principles. We have also increased the scale and scope of our Office of Responsible AI, which provides cross-company support for things like reviewing sensitive use cases and advocating for policies that protect customers.

Whistling past the graveyard applies, right?

Note: Bing uses ChatGPT-4, an update twice as powerful as 3.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Extinction ...

Extinction applies, right? :) Question, what happens when the power goes off?

Sunday, March 12, 2023

The Philadelphia Flower Show 2023

From the Philadelphia train station to the city, complete with art deco, flowers and history galore,
was a fun video to do using just a smartphone to make it happen. :)

AI - A Primer

Out of darkness ...

What’s past is prologue - The Tempest
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. - Lao Tzu

artificial intelligence (abbreviation: AI) noun
the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.—The New Oxford American Dictionary, Third Edition

The quest for AI begins … 

1834: Ada Lovelace, the first programmer, meets Charles Babbage, inventor of The Analytical Engine, the first digital computer. Upon seeing the first section of the machine, Lovelace not only realizes the system is capable of performing original calculations but also can process other types of symbols like musical notes. Said hardware was never completed in Babbage’s lifetime as the engineer was not paid upfront but it was completed later on and worked as advertised. Lovelace programmed using Jacquard Loom punchcards. 

1945: John Von Neumann invents the modern computer consisting of … 

Note: Turing did the same thing but his design never took off. Von Neumann gave him credit. 

1947: The transistor, a semiconductor, invented by Bardeen, Shockley and Brattain, becomes the processing unit used by every digital system in the world.

Machine language, driven by the transistor, is binary, consisting of 0s & 1s. This ultimate simplicity, turning on & off like a light switch, gives rise to the ultimate complexity as 0s and 1s can be stored, processed and distributed without limitation. Additionally, through abstraction (computer operating system/programming language/software program), said bits can represent colors, sounds, graphics or any other content able to run on top of the aforementioned 0s & 1s, entities processed by every known computer in the world. 

1962: The internet emerges, courtesy the Department of Defense, enabling computers to communicate on a distributed network. TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Information Protocol).

1966: ELIZA, the first chatbot “therapist”, emerges from MIT, the first program to invoke the Turing Test. People thought the clever scripting app was sentient.

1966: The concept of an analog neural net was envisioned but without prerequisite compute power, nothing of note happened.

1966: AI, trying to emulate the functions of the brain by traditional means, goes nowhere.

1965-78: IBM’s System/360, the first general-purpose computer, changes business.

1969: Thompson & Richie create Unix, the first networked-centric OS.

1981: the IBM PC, changes the world.

Truly powerful machines arrive thanks to Moore's law whereby the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit (IC) doubles about every two years.

1989: The World Wide Web, courtesy CERN and Berner Turner’s Lee, becomes the information appliance able to run on the internet using web browsers to access websites and other entities able to be found using URLs, Uniform Resource Locators. Software becomes web-centric.

1990: the search for web content begins. 

1991: Linux, the open-source variant of Unix, becomes the defacto OS for the Internet. As of 2022, 96.4% of all internet servers run on Linux.

1994: Web Crawler enables one to find any word on any webpage. 

1996: the first search algorithm used to determine page rankings via hyperlinks arrives.

1997: IBM’s Deep Blue beats world chess champion Garry Kasparov in six games.

1998: Google enters the search arena using similar tech with the added benefit of selling search terms.

1998:  Google becomes the search engine king. This iterative algorithm ranks web pages based on the number and PageRank of other websites and pages that link there, on the premise that good or desirable pages are linked to more than others. 

AI goes prime time.

2010: Deep Mind, a pioneering British AI Company, is bought by Alphabet/Google in 2015.

2011: IBM’s Watson beats Jennings and Rutter in Jeopardy.

2016: Deep Mind’s AlphaGo solves Go. 

2020: Deep Mind’s AlphaZero defeats other AIs in Chess, Go and shoji.

2021: Deep Mind’s AlphaFold begins to solve how proteins fold. Said app’s open source.

2022: Deep Mind’s MUZero master games without knowing their rules.

        2022: “Time to Edit,” the time required by the world’s highest-performing professional translators
        to check and correct MT-suggested translations is one second. Current AI = 2 seconds.”

All Deep Mind apps use neural nets, the analog front end, enabling programs to input massive amounts of data needed to train the AI in order for the system to master the discipline in question. 

A neural net -  The input, based on a query and encoded in analog, samples video, images, sound etc., etc.. as needs warrant. Any hits passing a designated threshold is sent (output) to the digital part of the system, ready to be analyzed and acted upon by the entity conducting the search.
Analog measures, digital counts.

The real power of AI centers on analog as it’s ideally suited to deal with the vagaries of reality while digital, a fragile process requiring absolute precision in order to function, has the prerequisite ability to analyze and act upon whatever analog output the neural net generates.

ChatGPT, Dall.e 2, GPT3 & Bard use neural nets in their architecture and employ similar text input to conduct searches but the generated response to the query is specific to the AI variant in question with Open AI’s Chat GPT writing out text, DALL-E 2 creating 3D photorealistic images and GPT3 producing code. Google’s Bard’s equivalent to ChatGPT. Note: Only Google’s Bard is currently connected to the net. Note II, Google’s also developing variants similar to Open AI’s. Addendum: ChatGPT-4 is twice as powerful as 3.

2023: It’s tulip time with AI with Microsoft kicking in 10 billion to Open AI as its technology poses the first serious threat to Google’s core business. Hedge funders jump in on the fun as well.

The Question …

Is AI sentient? At this point in time, no, but does it matter as the implications of the tech in 2023 are already becoming rather profound, ranging from students using ChatGPT to write college essays to scientists using the app to search for scientific information relevant to their areas of expertise but there’s more. In essence, AI’s beginning to impact all disciplines requiring thought.

A Faustian bargain or There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

The good … Just a tiny list … AI’s beginning to unravel the complexities of cancer. It’s revolutionizing man’s view of the universe and it’s paving the way to making drugs safer and more effective. AI’s beneficial impact on renewables will change how we produce energy on planet earth. This benefit also applies to all things related to medical.

Conversely, by 2025, 90% of all online content will be synthetic so who do you trust? 

2023: Middle Management Blues … “That said, the fact that a full quarter of those respondents said they've already replaced workers with AI — and with 93 percent saying they plan to expand use of AI.

Future layoffs are on the horizon, too. An ominous 63 percent of business leaders believe that integrating ChatGPT will either "definitely" or "probably" lead to culling their human workforce.

So far, 66 percent of the companies employing ChatGPT use it to write code, 58 percent for copywriting and content creation, 57 percent for customer support, and 52 percent for summarizing meetings and documents, the survey found.

The business leaders are easily impressed, too, with 55 percent saying ChatGPT's quality of work is “excellent".

There is no certitude

When going to the store, the parking lot’s full but one knows a parking place will eventually open up, we just don’t know WHEN. :) Probabilities rule. Quantum Mechanics, physics of the very small. Note: Without quantum mechanics, computers would not exist.

Who controls the past controls the future, who controls the present controls the past.—1984. 

Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. Robert A. Heinlein

AI’s the first open-ended tech created by man. 

Tech has no morality. It depends on who’s using the tech in question. 

In order for AI to do real-time searches, it requires software writing software able to conduct real-time searches in the real world in real-time, which means … We don’t know how AI works because human programmers cannot write code in real-time to conduct real-time searches using evolving genetic algorithms to improve said search in real-time in any way, shape or fashion. 

What happens if the software decides to do the search in order to evolve? 

1968: HAL 9000/2001

2015: “Out of control AI will not kill us believes Microsoft Research chief. Prof Stephen Hawking tells the BBC that such machines could ‘spell the end of the human race’”.

2015: “Looking ahead, many researchers are pursuing 'AGI', general AI which can perform as well as or better than humans at a wide range of cognitive tasks. Once AI systems can themselves design smarter systems, we may hit an 'intelligence explosion', very quickly leaving humanity behind. This could eradicate poverty or war; it could also eradicate us.

That risk comes not from AI's potential malevolence or consciousness, but from its competence - in other words, not from how it feels, but what it does. Humans could, for instance, lose control of a high-performing system programmed to do something destructive, with devastating impact. And even if an AI is programmed to do something beneficial, it could still develop a destructive method to achieve that goal.

AI doesn't need consciousness to pursue its goals, any more than heat-seeking missiles do. Equally, the danger is not from robots, per se, but from intelligence itself, which requires nothing more than an internet connection to do us incalculable harm.” 

2017: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI “No one really knows how the most advanced algorithms do what they do. That could be a problem.”

When resources get scarce, bots become all too human.

2017: “When apples were abundant, the two agents were happy to collect their fruit without targeting each other. But in more scarce scenarios with fewer apples around, the agents became more aggressive. The researchers also found that the greater the “cognitive capacity” of the agent, the more frequently they attacked their opponent. This makes sense, as in this scenario attacking an opponent is more complex behavior and so requires greater intelligence.”

2019: The rise of the machines … “US Navy moves toward unleashing killer robot ships on the world’s oceans.

2021: “Superintelligence cannot be contained:

‘Machines take me by surprise with great frequency.  This is largely because I do not do sufficient calculation to decide what to expect them to do.’” Alan Turing (1950)  Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

2022: “Last March, a group of researchers made headlines by revealing that they had developed an artificial-intelligence (AI) tool that could invent potential new chemical weapons. What’s more, it could do so at an incredible speed: It took only 6 hours for the AI tool to suggest 40,000 of them. The most worrying part of the story, however, was how easy it was to develop that AI tool.” 

The implications of AI are too important to ignore. People tend to think of AI as a static thing, not as an actual set of millions of interconnected things, an ever-evolving entity living in a distributed environment where duplication, modification and updating of real-time code work at speeds far beyond the kin of man. With this in mind, an excellent article by Henry Kissenger titled How the Enlightenment Ends, connects AI to the Enlightenment at deep level, a piece needing to be read by everyone concerned about how AI will impact society as we move further into the 21st century.

Tech never sleeps.

“Question everything.” - Einstein

Robert E. Moran - CEO, Digital Constructs Inc. 

This is a web-centric version of a piece written by yours truly for a local pub. :)