Jonathan Bartlett

Senior Fellow, Walter Bradley Center for Natural & Artificial Intelligence


How are Developers Using OpenAI’s Tools in their Software?

There are several interesting uses of the new AI tools, but time will tell which ones take off
OpenAI has released two major tools for developers to make use of GPT-3 and DALL-E.  GPT-3 is the radical new text generation tool, which generates large or small amount of texts from simple prompts.  It can also classify text into categories  GPT-3’s text-generation system forms the core of OpenAI’s new chatbot, ChatGPT.  DALL-E is an image generation tool, which creates images from text prompts.  Together, these two tools provide today’s state-of-the-art in AI-based content generation. So how are developers making use of these new features?  Today we are looking at several ways that these tools have been put to use. Basic Content Generation The core of GPT-3 is generating content from prompts.  Whether for making blog posts, writing

Musk’s Tyrannical Turn With Twitter

While the political bias is gone, the ego bias seems to have just begun
I was hopeful when Elon Musk took control of Twitter. As a longtime Musk skeptic in many areas, I thought that his move into Twitter would actually be a good thing. First of all, it matches his background better than Tesla. Twitter is a software play, and Musk’s actual expertise is in building software. Second, Twitter is just about software, not artificial intelligence, which tends to be where Musk gets into trouble. Finally, Musk has at least claimed to be a libertarian, though this seems to be limited to situations where he simply decides that he doesn’t want to do what is required of everyone else. Elon Musk When Musk first took control, it looked positive. Despite the incessant screaming of the media, Musk’s first actions were fantastic. He unbanned a lot of accounts

FTX Implosion: There Are Warning Signs from Binance

The CEO of Binance fundamentally misrepresented the character of the firm's engagement of the Mazars auditing firm
Since the implosion of FTX, many have been watching cryptocurrency exchange Binance to see if it might be the next crypto firm to face a liquidity crunch. While the CEO of Binance, known in the crypto world as CZ (Changpeng Zhao), has assured investors and depositors that the firm is financially sound, many of its recent moves have left observers wondering if there is more to the story. The Audit that Wasn’t The first major red flag was the “audit.” Binance has long been criticized for failure to provide audited financial statements. Because it is not a public company, an audit is not a legal requirement. Nonetheless, many crypto watchers view the failure to have an external audit as evidence of concern about possible outcomes. On December 7, Binance put out

Understanding the Fall of FTX — the False Reality of Market Caps

Let’s have a look at the critical question that was never asked in the first place…
In finance, the “market capitalization” or “market cap” of a security or currency is a simple way to evaluate the overall “value” of the total entity (this is also called “network value” in terms of a cryptocurrency). It is easiest to think about market caps in terms of stocks instead of currencies. In the stock market, if ABC Company is broken up into 100,000 shares, and the going market price is $3 per share, then the market cap of ABC is $300,000. Likewise for coins, if there are 100,000 coins available, and the current market price of the coin is $7, then the market cap of the coin will be $700,000. The idea behind the market cap is that, if every coin were sold at the current market price, this would be the amount of money it would require to buy them

The Graying of the Art — and AI — World

Why is so much modern media made up of rehashes and remakes?
The world of popular art (TV, movies, etc.) has a problem. I would even go as far as to label it a crisis. The problem is that the art world is becoming increasingly derivative. There are some points where it is obviously derivative—every movie is a remake, and every TV show is a reboot. We are getting the same stories regurgitated instead of novelty. However, there are also more subtle ways that this is happening.  TV comedies work largely by including inside jokes from previous TV shows.  One of the most popular writers of the 20th century was Louis L’Amour. What I think made L’Amour’s stories so great is that he could draw from a vast amount of personal experience. He could write about a lot of these things because he had done

Tesla’s Optimus is Sub-Optimal

With other robotics programs far outrunning Tesla, it can be hard to see what Elon Musk is adding to the field and why he's even trying
As promised, Elon Musk demonstrated his prototype robot “Optimus” at the 2022 Tesla AI Day.  The original plan for the robot included: Navigating the world through AutoPilot (the Tesla vehicle’s driver assistance system)Being able to perform repetitive or dangerous tasks safelyBeing able to be instructed using natural language instead of programming A year later, the Tesla robot has not even remotely demonstrated the ability to do any of these things with any sophistication.  That’s not surprising given Elon Musk’s penchant for promising things and not delivering them, but it does drive home the point that many of Musk’s mistakes stem from his more general misconceptions about the nature of the world.  Musk is great at organizing people, capital, and

The Vector Algebra Wars: A Word in Defense of Clifford Algebra

A well-recognized, deep problem with using complex numbers as vectors is that they only really work with two dimensions
Vector algebra is the manipulation of directional quantities. Vector algebra is extremely important in physics because so many of the quantities involved are directional. If two cars hit each other at an angle, the resulting direction of the cars is based not only on the speed they were traveling, but also on the specific angle they were moving at. Even if you’ve never formally taken a course in vector algebra, you probably have some experience with the easiest form of vector algebra — complex numbers (i.e., numbers that include the imaginary number i). In a complex number, you no longer have a number line, but, instead, you have a number plane. The image below shows the relationship between the real numbers and the complex numbers: As you can see, the traditional number

Musk’s Starlink Tied to Traffic Chaos in Orbit and on Earth

If nothing else, Elon Musk’s SpaceX has brought public attention to the future of space, who it belongs to, and how it is paid for
This week has seen quite a struggle for Elon Musk’s SpaceX and its satellite-based internet service Starlink. SpaceX had recently pocketed some interesting wins for Starlink. Its offer to keep Ukrainians online in the midst of the recent crisis earned Starlink favor in the eyes of both the military and Eastern European nations. It has also started launching operations in Latin America. Just days ago SpaceX performed its 35th launch of the year, adding 52 more Starlink satellites. However, Starlink has also faced a number recent headwinds which could spell trouble for the service. While its public beta test performed well for many users, as the service has expanded, the capabilities of the network appear to be stretched. Despite promises of 50 megabit download

Just As Cryptocurrencies Went Mainstream — a Huge Collapse!

A central weakness is that investors must go through exchanges which have none of the safeguards established for the blockchain itself
The cryptocurrency markets have been in total upheaval for the last several months. The blowup essentially started when the stablecoin UST (provided by Terra) suddenly lost its peg to the US dollar. A stablecoin is supposed to maintain a 1:1 trading match to an underlying currency, so 1 UST is supposed to be worth $1. Most trading in crypto is trades between stablecoins and other coins rather than actual cash transactions using stablecoins. Due to some unforeseen (but not necessarily unforeseeable) issues, UST lost its peg; between May and June its value dropped from $1 to just over two pennies. This near erasure of value affected Terra’s other cryptocurrency, LUNA, which dropped from $80 to effectively zero over the same time period. These near wipeouts have created enormous

How Well Do Researchers Say Chatbots and Other AI Really Perform?

The 400 researchers found that getting moderately high performance requires models with around 100 billion parameters, an exponentially hard problem
A vast team of over 400 researchers recently released a new open-access study on the performance of recent, popular text-based AI architectures such as GPT, the Pathways Language Model, the (recently controversial) LaMBDA architecture, and sparse expert models. The study, titled the “Beyond the Imitation Game,” or BIG, tries to provide a general benchmark for the state of text-based AI, how it compares to humans on the same tasks, and the effect of model size on the ability to perform the task. First, many of the results were interesting though not surprising: ● In all categories, the best humans outdid the best AIs (though that edge was smallest on translation problems from the International Language Olympiad).● Bigger models generally showed better results.● For some

Reviving the Relational View of Mathematics

Unfortunately, some textbooks teach number rules rather than relationships, so students may not know why the rule matters
While helping a friend’s teenage son with math, I was perusing the textbook used. I was dismayed by the presentation of the topic of translating graphs. More than that, I believe the issue reflects some general problems with how mathematics is typically presented to high school students. Specifically, the text addressed how to do graph transformations for exponential functions. That is, if you have a function with the form y = a ⋅ bx (where a and b are constants), how would you create a new equation whose graph was moved up, down, left, or right? The method the book proposed, while technically correct, misses a huge opportunity to help students. The book presents a general form for transforming exponential equations. The form is y = a ⋅ bx–h + k. Here, h is the number of

New York Times Documentary Takes on Musk’s “Self-Driving” Claims

In an era where Big Media tend to just play along with Big Tech hype and vaporware, a Season 2 film homes in for a closer look
The New York Times has a new TV show through FX Networks, called The New York Times Presents, a series of standalone documentaries presented by journalists from the paper. Mind Matters News readers will likely take a special interest in the first documentary of Season 2 because it deals with the technology of self-driving cars at Tesla and we have been talking about these issues for years. The film, titled Elon Musk’s Crash Course, follows the development of Tesla Motors and its claims about full self-driving vehicles. On the whole, while the I can commend the documentary as one of the first large-scale media efforts to take the issues with Tesla self-driving cars seriously, overall it emphasizes the wrong issues. At the beginning, Elon Musk is portrayed as a visionary

Arm in the Cloud?: Lower Cost and Higher Performance

A quick tutorial on why Arm technology has 90% of the cell phone market
Central processing units (CPUs) are usually classified according to their architecture. Historically, desktop computers (especially non-Apple computers) were almost entirely based on Intel’s x86 32-bit architecture, with more recent ones supporting AMD’s 64-bit extensions for more modern computers. The x86 architecture has never ruled because it was a great architecture for the future, but merely because of compatibility — essentially, if you write software to one architecture, it won’t run on another one. The one company that pushed more aggressively for new architectures was Apple, which switched its Macintosh operating system through four major CPU architectures: Motorola 68k, PowerPC, Intel x86, and now Arm. Not only that, their earlier Apple II series ran

How Does A Kubernetes Cluster Work?

A general overview of the Kubernetes environment
Now that you have some concrete experience using Kubernetes, this article will present the basic theory of how a Kubernetes cluster works. We won’t talk about how to accomplish these things in the present article – the goal is to provide you with a broad understanding of the components of Kubernetes. Basic Kubernetes Components Kubernetes comes with a lot of different components, and it is hard to get them all shown on the same diagram. Therefore, I will just give a high-level picture of what a Kubernetes cluster looks like. The image below shows the basic setup, which we will cover in this article. You see here a separation between the internal Kubernetes network and the Internet. Note that this separation is not necessarily physically enforced. That is, depending

Getting Started with Kubernetes: A Cluster Setup Walkthrough

Setting up a Kubernetes cluster in Linode is incredibly simple
This series will give you an overview of Kubernetes, the popular open-source cloud computing platform developed by Google. Kubernetes allows for the development of cloud-based platforms using entirely open specifications, so you are never tied down to a specific vendor. Many cloud vendors, such as AWS, have proprietary ways of developing scalable web applications (such as their Lambda system). The problem is that this ties your application to their system, and, as we have seen with Parler, Amazon gives and Amazon takes away. Therefore, it is wise to not tie your infrastructure too tightly to a single vendor. Kubernetes allows you to build large-scale scalable applications in the cloud in a way that is transferable to a variety of vendors. This tutorial will walk you through setting up

Getting Started with Kubernetes: A Brief History of Cloud Hosting

A history lesson for a better understanding of why web infrastructure hosting is the way it is
Oftentimes it is hard to understand why something is the way it is unless you understand its history. To start with, I want to present a quick overview of the history of web infrastructure hosting to give you a better feel for what sorts of problems cloud native development solves. The Old Way Way back in the early days of the Internet, web applications were hosted on specific server machines. That is, when you wanted to host a web application, you had to purchase a physical machine, install Linux or some other operating system on it, and then pay an Internet Service Provider to put your machine on their network. This process was both time-consuming and expensive, often costing hundreds of dollars a month just to rent the space where you install your own server. If you needed

What Do We Want With Mathematics Curriculum?

If we are going to dedicate such a large portion of our children's lives to learning mathematics, we had better know why
Modern policy discussions in America almost always leave out the biggest question – why are we doing what we are doing in the first place? Leaving out first principles always leaves people trying to find the most practical way to accomplish nothing in particular. We have become accustomed to not asking questions about first principles because they always sound too doctrinaire, but then we wind up, at best, making the misplaced assumption that everyone is reaching for the same goal, or, far worse, viewing the activities themselves as the goals. One place where this problem repeatedly rears its ugly head is education, and especially mathematics education. Why are we teaching math? What do we want people to get out of a math education? Humans have survived eons knowing nothing more

First Steps to Serverless on AWS: A How-To Guide

A step-by-step tutorial on how to build and deploy a simple serverless web application on AWS
In a previous article, we talked about what serverless applications are and how they work. In this article, we will build and deploy a simple serverless web application on AWS (AWS is the cloud computing platform created by Amazon). For this application, I will assume that you have an AWS account already set up (if not, start here). While AWS has an enormous number of tools available for developers, we will focus on two: Lambda and API Gateway. Lambda is the general serverless function-invocation system on AWS. Essentially, everything that happens in AWS, whether it is a file upload, a video transcoding job, or an HTTP request, can be enabled to trigger a function defined in Lambda for further processing. Lambda functions essentially exist as a virtual machine that waits

Serverless Computing: What Is It?

A serverless system makes for a more convenient and efficient experience
A new trend in cloud programming these days is known as “serverless” programming. This term is a bit confusing, because it does not mean that your code isn’t running on a server. What it does mean is that you don’t have to manage the server(s). The Physical Server In the early days of the Internet, nearly all communication was directly between the “client” (the person using a web browser or other application) and the “server” (the physical device you were communicating with). Of course, there is a limit to the number of connections that a single physical machine can process. Early on, several mechanisms were developed that allowed companies to grow their services beyond what a single machine could handle, splitting the load among

Trudeau’s Truckers Reveal Problems with Banking Infrastructure

And crypto isn't the solution you might think it is
On February 14th, Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, invoked the Emergencies Act in order to stop the flow of funding to the truckers who were protesting vaccine mandates in Canada. This order allows and encourages banks to freeze the accounts of anyone suspected of involvement with the protest. The Canadian use of the Emergencies Act in this way has been widely criticized for its draconian and expansive overreach of governmental authority. However, that hasn’t stopped the Canadian government from moving forward with the plan, and they have said that they have already begun freezing accounts. Image from Maksim Sokolov (Maxergon), February 12, 2022 Even before this, though, a Canadian judge had halted access to funds donated to the truckers through the GiveSendGo