Welcome to the 15th edition of AI versus Marshy!
The newsletter that seeks to demystify what's going on with artificial intelligence, share what's interesting, and filter through hype and doom-mongering to help YOU decide what's coming.
This week we look at:
🔫 Controlled by a few: AI warning shots
🎶 Tool of the week: Stock Music
👻 Giving AI a soul - a different way of looking at this
I'll also share info about a little WhatsApp group for writing and editing feedback we've started - details at the end of the mail.
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The race to capture share, not share
Imagine you're on an large island of 1,000 people.
You own a factory on this island that employs some of the people, and there's a couple of other factory owners on the island that employ the rest.
Most people on the island earn money, and have enough to buy food and provide for themselves.
Around 5% of the island struggle to make ends meet and are on the poverty line.
There's a catch for the factory owners: you earn far more money than the rest of the island from these production methods and live an eye-wateringly comfortable life.
This crude analogy is an echo of what's being shouted in a number of articles of late. Jacopo Pantaleoni is an engineer who joined Nvidia in 2001. Nvidia is one of the largest suppliers of GPUs - tech that powers gaming, crypto and AI.
He is releasing a book next month, stipulating that the real danger of AI isn't the human (or job) killing - but the concentration of power that comes with it being in the hands of a few tech giants.
Google owns search. Amazon and Microsoft own "the cloud". Nvidia owns the vast majority of GPUs.
This concentration of resource isn't a good thing.
Mike Pearl does a good summation of all the good things big tech has done for us in the past in an article called How Big Tech is Ruining the Dream of AI. It's an accurate takedown of what's happened thus far - non-specific promises, commodification to the point of uselessness, and a reference to "enshittification."
It's not black and white - in my first newsletter I mentioned Sam Altman's take - turning Open AI into a for-profit (instead of the NFP it originally was) is to "harness the power of capitalism" so that it can grow and ultimately be handed over to the people.
It was said non-ironically and with unassailable self-belief.
But if we look at the environment - harnessing the power of capitalism is fraught at best.
Tool of the week: StockMusic.app
My friend used to run a website called JingleMonster - where (as a musician) he'd produce stock music for clients and it became a lucrative side-hustle. This was well before side-hustles were a thing!
Well now AI has taken over.
StockMusic lets you generate music you can use in anyway you can fathom without royalties.
I created a login and had a go at generating an "exploration game" track - but I'm still waiting for it to load.
In the meantime if you just need "something" that's not silence, YouTube Audio Library can provide you some free-to-use sounds.
AI and Souls
There's stuff I wouldn't ordinarily give the time of day to if this newsletter doesn't exist.
Put the Open Souls project in this category.
I really like Kevin's enthusiasm. His focus is on an AI in a different way. Instead of aiming to create some super intelligence that can understand everything we do and say - his focus is on building something really small that can enhance AI.
There's a lot to like about this:
- It's research-led
- Its open source
- He runs the tech demo live - a big challenge given how many things can go wrong with this technology
The demo follows a zoom conversation where things sound a bit melodramatic and contrived.
The reason its interesting isn't because this tech is a GAME-CHANGER (if you keep saying that it loses its meaning) but because its a well-designed piece of the puzzle that could assemble into something meaningful one day.
Think of a disaster response line that's inundated with calls and not everyone can get through... would a more empathetic sounding AI that can point to urgent supports be bad in this case?
We don't know - but its work like this that gets us closer to those answers.
That's it for another week!
I've been focused on some strategy work in the automotive space, working with a new mentor on my vision, and shipping more words.
On the latter - we've started a small WhatsApp community called Writer's Circle where we submit pieces for feedback weekly each Friday, there's a few of us and we're refining the process as we go.
If that's interesting to you feel free to put your details in this form.
Take care and have a great weekend!
p.s. My email software's markdown auto-format functionality stopped working today, hopefully it's a "it will fix itself" situation - but I'm not sure if there's much of a difference to the end-reader! My preview looked pretty good.