Blog

#tech

Lot of great discussion of modern worship music, the depth of lyrics vs. what AI can do, practical uses of AI in songwriting, and more. This is a solid video.

Love cool manufacturing videos like this one. Apple knows their audience.

… by watching hours of snuff videos on X.

Big yikes.

Hallucinating artificial intelligence can tank a court case by creating fake case citations that leave the lawyers open to sanctions or the proceeding itself vulnerable to being overturned, a former litigator said.

Last month, a judge handed down a $5,000 penalty on a law firm representing Colombian airline Avianca Inc., which used ChatGPT to write its legal brief, but the AI included fabricated judicial decisions.

A similar case happened in South Africa, and the judge and magistrate overseeing the cases ripped the law firms in their decisions.

“There is potential harm to the reputation of judges and courts whose names are falsely invoked as authors of the bogus opinions and to the reputation of a party attributed with fictional conduct,” the judge presiding over the Avianca case wrote. “It promotes cynicism about the legal profession and the American judicial system.”

Fox News

When I was in high school, Internet-powered translation services were just starting to come about. Write up a paper in English, drop it in, select French, and bang goes the donkey. Of course anyone that knew French could tell that the paper wasn’t written in French because of all the obvious mishaps. If you know you know.

It’s much the same now. Relying on AI to do your job requires you then to spend equal amount of time checking over all the work AI did because it’s really super confident that it did the job right. Sometimes you have to be a level or two over your skills to catch the mistakes it made.

This is just one of many reasons I don’t use AI tools for coding yet. They aren’t ready. I’m not sure when they will be ready.

You never asked this question. Guaranteed. What if Elvis sung Baby Got Back?

Really impressive demo. First, this is for single-page applications. Second, there is an API for multi-page applications. Check it out in Chrome Canary and look at the code. I discussed this with my team yesterday. The demo is built on Astro. All that is shipped to the browser is 301kB. Of that 291kB is images. Less than 5.5kB for the document, CSS, and JS. CSS is powering the transitions and only a bit of JS intercepts the navigation event, loads the fragment of HTML, injects it into the DOM, and adds the necessary classes to trigger the animations.

This is a truly impressive demonstration. With very minimal effort, one can use an SSG like Astro— which can run as an SSR too— and deliver a fully working application that requires no JavaScript but progressively enhances to dynamic page transitions with easy— something that is extremely difficult even for SPA libraries— and asynchronous page loading. Only 150 lines of JS are in this project— 150 lines that ship to the browser.

For an old curmudgeonly standards guy like myself, this gives me some hope that we can get back to the days of the largest assets we send to the browser are images instead of hundreds of kilobytes of JavaScript.

Source: Bramus

“I just posted something benign on social media and now have a ton of people saying I’m a genocidal monster!

If you’ve been accused of genocide for saying putting anchovies on pizza should be a crime or that boys cannot become girls, this video is for you. Laugh at the stupidity of it and recognize that everyone is collectively going through this stupidity, not just you.

On Poetry and the Rise of AI

There were eras in which the work of Christian poets was respected and even lauded. But that was then and this is now. While we still value poetry in the form of songs, most of us pay scant attention to reading or writing poetry. There could be any number of explanations for this, though I am inclined to blame the decline of formal verse (i.e. defined forms of poetry) and the rise of free verse (i.e. neglecting rhyme and meter), much of which is enough to cause the best of us to give up on poetry altogether.

Tim Challies, Poetry of Redemption

I have been trying to will myself back into poetry. I used to consume a lot of poetry. Pretty sure I lost it in my tumultuous twenties. The quote above started my Sunday with lament and awareness that it wasn’t just me seeing poetry’s decline.

And then I read this morning that the rising AIs cannot write poetry. Or do basic arithmatic, which is unsurprisingly interlinked with poetry.

So I decided to try a nonce form and asked ChatGPT to produce a poem with a particular number of stanzas and a set number of stanzas per line. Over and over, it would write a few stanzas with the correct number of lines and then veer off towards the end and produce a much longer stanza. Like it lost count.

The danged robot couldn’t count.

AK Krajewska, Robot without rhyme or rhythm

Some very interesting points follow in the article— which you really should read.

Ted Chiang explained that when large language models (LLMs) are trained, they don’t actually assimilate the underlying principles. Instead, they produce the statistically likely next thing.

These LLMs does actually understand, as they cannot. Well, they can understand, but not truly. Because English doesn’t give us multiple words for understand. In Christian circles, we oft separate head and heart knowledge. These AIs have head knowledge but no heart.

More than that, formal verse is an exercise in applying principles you’ve understood. ChatGPT could produce a statistically likely definition of a sestina based on all the examples of sestina definitions it had come across in its training. To produce a sestina, it would have to have assimilated the principles.

[…]

There’s one more reason why LLMs can’t write formal verse, and this one is a little more obvious, though still, I think, worth mentioning. LLMs are trained exclusively on written text. They do not have the sound of words in their training, as far as I know.

[…]

Formal verse with meter and rhyme relies on the sound of the words. While you can guess what words are statistically likely to rhyme based on their spelling, it’s only saying them out loud that lets you know if you’ve succeeded.

Our language is far more complex than letters combined. Pronunciation is key to writing poetry. Manipulation of pronunciation too.

I wonder what other effects LLMs will have on literature. Might formal verse in English, which has fallen out of favor since the early 20th century, make a comeback as a prestige form, edging out free verse?

And there was the full circle to Tim Challies. Tim noted that the last hundred years have seen a dearth of poetry. But now it may be what separates us from the AI.

Finally, I wonder if, given that LLMs can produce polished but contentless prose corporate speak, will poetry make a comeback as the form for signaling sincerity? Could you imagine getting a notice of layoffs from your very humane VP in the form of sonnet? I’m not sure it would be a better world but it would be interesting.

Working on SEO, Twitter Cards, and Open Graph enhancements for “Finley, I am.” this morning. Minor behind the scenes things that will make sharing better. Last night I added a similar articles section to article pages to help surface things you may also like.

While I’m getting back into blogging after a couple year dry spell, there are posts on here going back 7+ years.

I love how easy it was to implement this in Astro while not worrying about the impact on the UX, since it is all generated at build time.