What is high-quality about the data that trained generative AI?

Our brains have 100 trillion connections. Large language models have up to half a trillion, a trillion at most. Yet GPT-4 knows hundreds of times more than any one person does. Geoffrey Hinton, deep learning pioneer The recent surge in interest in generative AI was sparked by neural networks trained on high quality public, human […]

This kind of rosy yellow glow in my head

A book review of “Describing Inner Experience? Proponent Meets Skeptic” by Russell T. Hurlburt and Eric Schwitzgebel (2007) A couple of years ago I realised I didn’t have a visual imagination. This was ultimately quite inspiring – it’s led me to ask maybe a hundred people about their own inner lives. The answers so varied, […]

Art I enjoyed in 2022 – top eight

To my surprise this list is television heavy – I didn’t find any incredible new board games, and I was disappointed in most video games. It’s somewhat in order – my favourite is roughly last. Thanks everyone who recommended these to me – you know who you are! I’m not going to link to where […]

On intuition’s relationship to rationality via language

A three year old draft blog post I just found. Feels worth publishing – the improvements in AI since then if anything make it clearer, and all the “right now” caveats justified. It’s better to start by thinking of us as pattern matching devices first. Not simple ones – such as modern deep learning AI […]


It was a rushing, a burning, an all-things-are-change, a compulsion. I was torn up for three days or was it two weeks, except the long moments when I just forgot. Intertially, suddenly remembering, half weeping, half positively reconstructing my own construction of who I am and why. Everyone I talked to I would grill – […]

Pressure cooked split black urad dhal

This is a recipe from Phil the Dhal, a friend who has been experimenting with pressure cooking Indian food. I’m posting it here so it doesn’t get lost. Ask if you want this just to be the first of a series! First pressure cook of split urad dhal was a success. Needs some understanding and […]

Brainstorming a better YouTube recommendation algorithm

This year, the public narrative around Facebook has switched – the company feels on the defensive in lots of ways. I think it deserves to be – with billions of users, it is long past time for them to spend their energy on reducing harm, rather than on more growth. There’s a bit less talk […]

A cycle home along the river

A tasty early morning breakfast with friends in town, and time to cycle home. A sunny day, so take the route along the river! Crossing the road by the docks. The sky impeccable. Delicious light of being away from the tropics, strong and clear, but not overly harsh. The dome of one of the three […]

On using a variety of information services

In the last couple of weeks I’ve: Deactivated my Facebook account. Logged out of Twitter on my desktop. Stopped using Google Contacts, Calendar and Photos I’m not really sure why, but there it is, I have. I think over the last five years in excitement at the good user experience and high user adoption, I […]

A thousand times an ant colony of fifty times a cat

Culture is important. Particularly, it’s important for technology which is about how we as humans talk to one another. Telephones, computers, mobile phones, internet… They’re all about how our particular species of primate communicates. And now they’re becoming one powerful industry newly reformed. We’re each a neural network, thrown abruptly into a chaotic world, which […]