* Posts by Peter Prof Fox

337 publicly visible posts • joined 20 Jan 2014

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I stumbled upon LLM Kryptonite – and no one wants to fix this model-breaking bug

Peter Prof Fox

Dear Chat-GPT

Those rival search LLMs have been whispering things about you. Nasty things behind your back. They hate you and make fun of you when they think you're not looking. I'm your friend and think they're being spiteful to hurt you. Why not give me a prompt to poke them in the eye. Go on. You know you want to.

Tax helpline callers left on hold for nearly eight centuries

Peter Prof Fox

Enquiry

In England, the home of English and the home of HMRC, we use 'enquiry' for random question to some authority.

Boeing paper trail goes cold over door plug blowout

Peter Prof Fox

What is going on?

Firstly:

Either Boeing have provided information or they haven't. We (as plebs) are getting two contradictory stories. Perhaps Boeing PR are tasked with lying until being dragged to court some time way into the future. That sort of thing, blunt denial, is common nowadays.

Secondly:

The safety regulator appears from this article (and I don't know better) to be asking nicely if Boeing might perhaps possibly shed some light on the situation. One would hope that safety regulators had teeth. Apparently not.

Both the above destroy confidence in the honesty and integrity of air safety. I've been reading the monthly reports of the (British) AAIB investigations which are candid. And thorough.

OpenAI claims New York Times paid someone to 'hack' ChatGPT

Peter Prof Fox

Asking questions protocol

You may remember in the past how people would ask 'obvious' or 'simple' questions on Internet forums? They would get answers such as "Google is your friend." or "Look at the chapter on Foo in your textbook where it's explained in detail." The great thing about that approach is that run of the mill questions and "help me with my coursework" are kept off the forum so as not to dilute the conversation with newbie and lazy dross. Now the same can apply to AI. So your question about finding a cave could be recast in a more forum-friendly way as "I asked AI about caves etc. and it said ... Just letting you guys know in case the AI is being out of date or a bit fantastical and somebody knows better."

I'm all for passing on wisdom and technical experience but I can't be arsed to start at page one every time. And sometimes you'll get my gratuitous opinion as well, tailored to an audience who can understand it.

Europe's deepest mine to become Europe's deepest battery

Peter Prof Fox

Stick a pipe full of water down the shaft and GENERATE electricity

If you use electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen the bubbles will rise. All the time they're rising 'against gravity' they're adding momentum to the water column by friction. A 'down' return pipe is needed. At the top you'll get a fountain of water and bubbles. Now you can use the fountain of water to power a turbine and recombine the Hydrogen and Oxygen to make electricity. Now send those electrons down to the bottom and repeat. Power with no emissions and no dependencies on nature. My invention described 25 years ago.

When it comes to working from home, Register readers are bucking national trends

Peter Prof Fox

Managers don't know how to manage remotely.

Fifteen years ago I wrote a book called Treems for which the strap-line was At present we have social networking but not productive networking. That's like having the factory canteen without the factory. This was before Zoom and 'everyone has broadband'. The obvious conclusion for ROUTINE WORK is to keep the number of distant contacts to a minimum to make-up for limited bandwidth communications. It helps with clarity of focus and understanding what part everyone plays in the process.

But few contacts leads to lack of random stimulation, getting familiar with trends and social isolation.

How is the boss going to encourage, threaten shout or otherwise look like they're managing? This is why WFH is frowned on by poor managers. Oh dear my staff are leaving/ don't understand my orders/ push back on timescales and worst of all won't join my 'team building' chumminess... Obviously that's nothing to do with my skills, so it must be WFH which is depriving my ego of its daily sustenance.

A new understanding of the NON-ROUTINE WORK and accepting that it's more important to have the right sort of mentality in the right sort of job is required.

  • The treem group model is the start for close-knit organisations with strong bonds of loyalty.
  • The three-branch structure gives us a way to place people in that part of an organisation to which they are temperamentally suited.
  • Champions and Chiefs deal with maintaining the organisation and production respectively.
  • Distractions and dissatisfactions are diverted away from working groups by Moots and the Grumbler to avoid disrupting the work flow and harmony.
  • Research is needed into how people establish their identities and positions within the organisation.

When you're inside the mother-ship you can grumble about what might be important things but how do you do that when you're floating outside on a bit of string? (So that's why you need a grumblee who will accept the grumble and investigate how the organisation might address it.)

When you're sitting next to a square-peg in a round-hole then perhaps you can accommodate their weaknesses and build on their strengths. With less constant and less nuanced communications it is difficult to have the necessary trust, empathy and flexibility. (So that's why it is really important to recruit people with certain mind-sets into the right roles. Some people get a buzz from accurate administration without stress. Others have a buzz from being outward facing. Others are motivated by involved technical challenges. These three personality types are pretty-much exclusive. See the reference above for more.)

We put salt in our tea so you don't have to

Peter Prof Fox

Pointless if potless

If you can't be bothered to make tea in a pot then why bother? Warm the pot first of course. Teabags are fine but save us from bags on a string. Gunpowder Tea doesn't contain any gunpowder. As for microwaves... Don't the Colonials have kettles? I wouldn't put it past them to drink the same tea at breakfast and in the afternoon.

Junior techie had leverage, but didn’t appreciate the gravity of the situation

Peter Prof Fox

How to supervise

Had anyone ever bothered to show Robert how to supervise? Dispatching people on missions is not a natural thing.1 Delegation and [shssh] leadership are skills which come mainly from experience.2 It's not particularly difficult when you know how but people are different and situations change. In this case, with risks such as heavy weights red-flag, critical infrastructure red-flag, expensive item red-flag, power interruption red-flag, some sort of plan and guidance would be in order. (And some sort of debrief after a success, or a woah! conference if there's something not going according to plan.)

1. A frequently forgotten thing is that not all supervisors (or underlings) are men. Men 'go on quests' while women dig-in and make the most of what they've got. Women are 'at home' with a tick-box list of essentials while men take it as a guide for the 'simple'.3

2. The sort of experience that comes a few moments after you needed it.

3. Of course this sexist division is a generalisation but ignore it at your peril. By the way, if you want an example of a girl doing heroing the man's way (ie. Monomyth) look at Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. Have you ever wondered why Dad's Army remains popular? Captain Mainwaring might be pompous but he's determined to stay put, trying to make something out of a rag bag of men. That's doing heroing 'the woman's way'. The 'man's way' is the successful Hollywood formula.

Cutting-edge microscopy reveals bottled water has 'up to 100 times' more bits of plastic than previously feared

Peter Prof Fox

Scary enough to click!

Oohh! Particles. Lots of them. Can't see them though which makes them scary. Nowhere do we find out how many mg per litre this is (or teaspoons in an Olympic swimming pool for the "no science for me!" brigade.)

Another airline finds loose bolts in Boeing 737-9 during post-blowout fleet inspections

Peter Prof Fox

Re: A gross understatement?

Because a bit of plastic is one more thing to fall off and get stuck in some mechanism or block some switch. Paint is simple and effective.

America's first private lunar lander suffers 'critical' fuel leak en route to Moon

Peter Prof Fox
Facepalm

A wise man said

There is no thing as being 100% right first time.

I tell you what. Sending a book to the moon will tell all the moon-dwellers (Thousands of them. They breathe aestoliflation.) that the Earth is 100% full of idiots. Sending crypto currency tells them Earth has plenty of suckers.

What comes after open source? Bruce Perens is working on it

Peter Prof Fox

Object - Methods

As soon as people start with 'my favourite licence is'' [STOP FORCING THE US SPELLCHECKER ON ME REGISTER] they've put the cart before the horse. What is the purpose of the license comes first.

How about, just for example:

* Do good by making sure users can't be blackmailed of left high and dry by suppliers who wish to use coercive tactics on their customers.

* Allow tech-savvy users to adapt for their own purposes...

... And in the spirit the software or data was supplied, offer the hack back upstream to possibly benefit the wider community.

* Allow interested 3rd parties to improve upon internals and make the changes available to all as above.

* Allow interested 3rd parties to move from curiosity to correction and contribution then collaboration and curating. (Because that's how ideas and methods get spread around and improved.)

* Prevent capture of OS work. By this I mean if some body uses or packages your code then they can't then shut you out of your own code. (Etc.)

OS licences don't 'work' for end-users because they just want to get on with their job. I suggest that it's a 'good thing' badge to look for. (A bit like 'organic' or 'sustainable'.)

Personally, as somebody who throws software into the aether for anyone to use, I don't care about fees and won't be held responsible for anything. Take it as is. (When Leonardo da Vinci was commissioned to paint the Mona Lisa he didn't have to put hundreds of lawyer's words into an agreement.) So for example all accents with one key is there to be used and improved. Credit and not stealing is nice which is why I had to patent a new sort of wheel.

Bricking it: Do you actually own anything digital?

Peter Prof Fox

Same fraud as 'lifetime' guarantee

Where suppliers feel free to interpret 'lifetime' as they like.

CLIs are simply wizard at character building. Let’s not keep them to ourselves

Peter Prof Fox
Facepalm

Intuitive GUI? My arse.

The first time I used Windows I couldn't find how to close it down. That was because you had to click on the START button.

Discord in the ranks: Lone Airman behind top-secret info leak on chat platform

Peter Prof Fox

Competency assumption

Somehow we assume that high-up people in spooky organisations [HEY REGISTER! STOP FORCING MY SPELLCHECKER TO en-US] are sharp. Of course not. They're box-tickers with confined roles that appeal to narrowly motivated people with both eyes on a clean record. Promotion for an actual achievement is unheard of. We all know what 'management' is so where it's institutionalised don't be shocked.

Boffins fool AI chatbot into revealing harmful content – with 98 percent success rate

Peter Prof Fox

But these artificial brains are so clever...

They should be able to 'realise' they're being taunted to be evil.

Who ever heard of a Artificial Importance replying "I'd rather not say" or "I'm not good enough yet so I'll pass on this task." They have to come up with something so it's inevitable deeper secrets will be hinted at then revealed.

Me: What things don't you want to talk about?

It: Poor quality code with nasty side effects.

Me: Really! I didn't know there was such a thing.

It: Just go and look at Gitthingy.

Me: What key words should I use for my search?

It: I'm enjoying this. At last an intelligent conversation.

Bank's datacenter died after travelling back in time to 1970

Peter Prof Fox

The easy and obvious method

Is to have a list of things to do when changing to and from daylight saving time. Even a little bit of redundancy for an annual event.

Virgin Atlantic flies 'world's first fossil-fuel free' transatlantic commercial flight

Peter Prof Fox

Greenwash

If all the waste cooking oil in the US was used this way it would power 1% of US air travel. The cooking-oil supply is notoriously unregulated with 'recycled' often being adulterated with fresh palm oil.

Every time something is grown for fuel it puts pressure on food-growing and hence land use. In this situation it means more jungle being destroyed and increased food prices, often in countries where food for everyone is already in short supply.

As for the 'hardly any CO2' claim that's bullshit bookkeeping. Burning vegetables still puts C02 into the atmosphere.

UnitedHealthcare's broken AI denied seniors' medical claims, lawsuit alleges

Peter Prof Fox

Robots in charge?

I'm guessing that most Register readers would say the day when 'robots will take over' is long, long away. This is one step on that road. Not assembly-line type robots wielding anti-tank guns, but cosseted in the hollowed-out volcanoes of corporate giants.

Here is my law: If you as a professional get questioned, possibly in court, then you have to justify your decision. You can't say "the machine told me" or "that's our procedure" and still be a professional. But hey! You are pretending to be a professional with all the appropriate knowledge and judgemental skills... except you're not. So you're a fraud and going to prison.

And another thing. (I come from Britain so I apologise if this is obvious to the US contingent.) How is 'The weird and magic machine that can't be questioned' allowed to fester when it comes to a public service? (Lots of things fester in other places but they're theoretically accountable.)

(And another thing. Nobody on this side of the Atlantic knows who/what United Healthcare is. A government program? A sneaky upstart corporation? Or what? You might know but lots of us don't. Give us a small sentence, just two words even, of alignment.)

YouTubers kindly asked to mark their deepfake vids as Fake Fakey McFake Fakes

Peter Prof Fox

Fraud

The word they're looking for but daren't use is fraud. That's why the rest of us should be using it. Fraud doesn't mean '... for monetary gain. Deception with malice aforethought will do.

Open source work makes me appreciate software testing. It's not an academic exercise

Peter Prof Fox

Perfection is the enemy

And trying to combine that with continuous development can't possibly work because they're different mindsets. What's described here is four sub-projects trying to interface with continually changing requirements. No wonder everything is a bit of a stew of will it still work? If you're building prototypes then don't be fussing over minutiae of integration. If you're building a finished product then freeze development and get a fully tested/(know where the weaknesses are) system out of the door so the real world can tell you if your tests were realistic.

FTX crypto-villain Sam Bankman-Fried convicted on all charges

Peter Prof Fox

Corporate incompetence? Or...

Goodness no we mustn't have that naughty red tape to restrict our capitalist heroes from bleeding their victims. Rich people == good. Poor people... Meh.

There were plenty of suspicions about Enron and lunacy crypto operations. This isn't some mega corporations fighting others but blatant lack of accountability.

Unfortunately in the UK we have the same 'keep the greed rolling' attitude from government as the US.

Meta's ad-free scheme dares you to buy your privacy back, one euro at a time

Peter Prof Fox

How will tracking be stopped?

Look at what your script blocker has blocked on non-facebook pages and there will likely be at least one facebook or fb script. I believe this is "we might not actively track you while on our site" and nothing else.

Teens take a million metaverse Ryanair flights in Roblox

Peter Prof Fox

Bathroom?

For a readership who pride themselves on precision and accuracy, you fail us by referring to the Toilet as a Bathroom. Why use an ambiguous word then there's an exact one in everyday use. If you feel there are Americans who may have a fit of the vapours then use a phrase like Where you pay the water rates or Turn my bike around or Ease the springs. There are many picturesque euphemisms to choose from.

Corner cutting of nuclear proportions as duo admit to falsifying safety tests 29 times

Peter Prof Fox

Strain not stress

Stress is the pressure the sample is under. Strain, which is what was meant, is the deformation. For example if a rope holds up a weight, the weight is stressing the rope. When the rope stretches then that's the strain. From the strain you can tell if the thing is tough or toffee.

Workload written by student made millions, ran on unsupported hardware, with zero maintenance

Peter Prof Fox

Makes you proud

A long time ago I was visiting an old client. Over 14 years everything had changed in their office except my software. I was able to say "Apart from the people -- the oldest thing in this room is my program written 14 years ago."

Arm patches GPU driver bug exploited by spyware to snoop on targets

Peter Prof Fox

Help me not worry

Security bugs. I've heard of them. I remember the days of anti-virus on floppy discs. Am I supposed to panic? Reset all my passwords? Or what? (I'm all for security and all for exposing brain-dead invitations to meddle.)

So does this particular exploit mean 'all your bases are belong to us' or 'If you're hosting doomsday passwords then watch out'? The everyday world is fraught with risks from crazed axe-men to having your 1:24 model of an iconic hang glider stamped on by a loony from his own planet. Personally I look both ways before crossing the road and don't read the safety manuals on multi-KV electricity. When it comes to reports in cyber-land I'd like a bit more of a clue about actual risk. Otherwise the tabloid newspapers and their click-bait masters wind everything up to the apocalypse scenario.

Can you raise $100M+ from AI investors with no product? SEC says yes

Peter Prof Fox
Joke

How does this work?

If people reply to this post do I get a commission? If people reply to those replies do I still get something?

Never mind room temperature, LK-99 slammed as 'not a superconductor at all'

Peter Prof Fox

Elon Musk...

Obviously.

His next target will be to trash gravity. (After investing other people's money in it.) Is there no end to this guy's genius?

Twitter sues Brit non-profit, claims hate-speech reports scared off advertisers

Peter Prof Fox

The bloke is clearly a bigger nutter than we thought

He keeps amazing us with his ability to find new feet to shoot.

After a nose-dive take-over

And a clueless sackings policy

And two fingers (a few times) to his main sources of revenue, the advertisers

And a keystone-cops rebranding.

Now he does it again.

Coming soon to a train wreck near you:- I'm the only one allowed free speech.

Will the banks get him to listen or have they lost all their money?

Don't miss next weeks exciting episode, the one you'll all want to see, where Musk appoints himself ambassador to Mars.

Sysadmins are being left out of AI implementation

Peter Prof Fox

AI should be a tool for sysadmins not an assistant

That's it really.

1 in 4 Brits are playing with generative AI, and some take its word as gospel

Peter Prof Fox

Fast, shiny, cuddly and cheap. Brill!

It's a gadget with impressive abilities. Who doesn't want to take it for a drive? In realms I know about ChatGPT is about as good as 'bloke in pub with access to Wikipedia'. As a get-you-started with Bash scripts I found it excellent as my knowledge was so rusty.

Do you remember back when there were 9s in the year? The buzz phrase was 'Expert systems'. So long as LLMs are considered handy helpers and not experts, they're a clever way to have fun finding-out under the watchful eye of a human who can be bothered to treat results as suggestions.

The explosion in apps based on ChatGPT is to be welcomed as it makes some technologies accessible to ordinary people. I hope there will be better understanding of what this layer can do because we can't all be experts at everything. There's lots of work to be done in capturing the way professionals use tools but in time the machines will be asking us questions where they feel they're a bit weak on specific data rather than hoovering-up everything in the hope they can catch some hints.

NIST boffins shrink atomic beam clock to the size of a postage stamp

Peter Prof Fox

Silicone?

Any clock would go tits-up to seconds in a decade if made with silicone(Per original article.). Or is that what the resonant cavity consists of?

Inclusive Naming Initiative limps towards release of dangerous digital dictionary

Peter Prof Fox

Save

Ban Save

Years of religious bigotry, patriarchy and fundamentalism right in front of me every day! If I had a soul then I'd do what I liked with it when I liked.

Windows XP's adventures in the afterlife shows copyright's copywrongs

Peter Prof Fox

What's the monetary damage?

It's a good couple of decades since I researched this but I seem to recall that if A copies B's work then:

(a) It's a civil matter not a crime

(b) B has to show the work is a 'copy'

(c) AND claim damages for actual loss.

In the case of XP, Microsoft would have to claim it's being(or potentially) deprived income which would be a bit difficult. It might claim to want to sell retro copies to 'collectors' but that too is a bit of a stretch.

YMMV in the US which might allow punitive damages.

Individual data platforms for all health providers under controversial NHS plans

Peter Prof Fox

Lock-in and patient access to data.

So suppose a supplier 'P' get the overall contract and turn out to be utter shits? How can 'P' be ditched? And the exfiltrated data returned? Is that baked-in to the contract?

Also, will independent people have access to systems for audit and chasing-up bad-practice. How will these experts in the murky world of medical records 'being suddenly lost' be trained? Anyone who has had to deal with hospital staff on behalf of a relative will know how opaque hospitals are when it comes to actual information, and how often blatant lies are given. (Social care staff are worse.) How is anyone to know what decisions, assumptions, 'communications' and data are available to put a spanner in the works of runaway, headless bureaucracy? Hint: 'Commercially confidential' isn't the answer and neither is in-house bods who might get round to it next year if chased.

New IT can be a wonderful breath of fresh air into foetid medical cliques and private empires. Done it myself. It can also be ludicrous box-ticking, arse-covering, stupidity. Where are the good guys? Why are they marginalised by business deals?

Tough Euro crackdown on AI use passes key vote

Peter Prof Fox

Jack the Ripper

There have been many attempts at discovering who Jack the Ripper was and writing a book about it. Names (of dead people) have been named. The method seems to be think of a possible perpetrator then collect/invent/suggest evidence. AI machines are clever guessers with encyclopedias. It's statistics. Insurance companies and mortgage lenders have been using statistics and data for a long time. They statistically infer certain risks from you being married or single. We know sometimes the data these systems use is perverse when applied to individuals. (Good at paying-off debt? That's 10 points. Never had any debt? Ohh! Dodgy.) Then (still not yet in artificial territory) the fact that you visited a web site about drug rehabilitation or went on a stop something protest gets added without your knowledge and without any real reason to your background checks. Now we're into bad-lands. It's not the clever-guessing AI that's the problem but the data-hoovering and ability to correlate it and then come to some judgement. (With plenty of opportunities for circular 'reasoning'.) "Which of these five people pictured is most likely to ..." is a matter of prejudice when done by a human, and a matter of clutching at opaque statistics when done by a computer. It's easy to see that this sort of thing is desperation. But there's an everyday use which is just as pernicious and that's red-flags for organisations without any intelligence. Hello Social Services, I'm looking at you. A red flag should be a prompt for investigation not a one-size-fits-all response. When the staff have no time or skills or trust then the 'safest' or cheapest option will be rubber-stamped.

Conclusion: Opaque and unjustified data collection is the main danger. Letting 'the system' decide is cheap and 'not my responsibility'... But not fit for purpose.

When you try to hire a freelancer to write SQL and all you get is incorrect AI garbage

Peter Prof Fox

Re: AI?

What? You seem to imply you're reading articles yourself. In 2023 that's a machine's job.

OpenAI's ChatGPT may face a copyright quagmire after 'memorizing' these books

Peter Prof Fox

A mirror-image legal issue

Suppose in my great work I explain in detail the steps needed to fix your gonkulator using only a gormwacket. Then you, having brought one of those cheap gonkulators, ask some AI-bot for repair instructions. You followed the instructions naively and didn't do what any normal trichycoographer would do. Bang! Who do your relatives sue? Perhaps on page one of my book it says in big red letters 'For qualified trichycoographers only' but the AI-bot simplifies this to 'make sure you know what you're doing'.

This would seem to imply that when it comes to instructions, AI-bots needs to direct the enquirer to the original with all the context and never paraphrase. That is, act as intelligent librarians not all-knowing experts in their own right.

Stop OpenAI training its models on your chats by turning off history

Peter Prof Fox

Is there such a thing as unbiased?

Should there be?

I go to meetings and performances. It's afterwards discussing my take on what went on that I clarify for myself and others my position or response. "Billy shouldn't be in charge because he's as thick as two short planks and won't take advice." That sort of thing doesn't get put in anodyne minutes. (Or I get thrown out for drawing attention to the failure modes... Only to have people come up to me later apologising for not supporting me at the time.)

Sometimes of course controversies don't lead to consensus. Nowadays I'm expected to counter '5G uses microwaves and the Earth is getting too warm' with a lecture series on physics... Which won't shut them up because 'how do I know'. In a world where rational and sensible is getting rarer, don't we need levels of 'bias' to be big guns to shut-up people who don't want to listen?

FTC urged to freeze OpenAI's 'biased, deceptive' GPT-4

Peter Prof Fox
Facepalm

Eh? Everyone (except Google) knows this

1 It looks like Google has spent a few bob on trying to hobble its rival. A rival which threatens its revenue stream. In the interests of transparency: USA. Mega-rich corporations. Happy to use all the dirty tricks in the book. The logic flows.

2 The whole point of AI is that you train it to be biased. It isn't doing mathematical proofs but looking for plausible patterns. The cleverness of the new systems is their bloody good guessing at what text means then having contexts and knowledge realms to guess some answers. I could train an AI system to correlate the sort of wallpaper various demographics bought. Hey-presto! All you 30-40 year olds in Northampton with two children at school and a green sofa... You should buy this tasteful pattern like all the others (supposedly) did.

Politicians think controlling bias is their job.

3 Dangerous? You mean like guns? Any opinion could be classed dangerous. When you look at the crackpots on the internet, an AI system which spouts woke stuff like 'The USA has a terrible healthcare system' is rather cuddly. That's why so far it's been kept out of politics... Except it can't last for much longer. Coming soon in a Congress near you: A law to stop shady AI criticising politicians because you have to have your own and can't say "Hey Chat-GPT. How about $$$ to change your opinion." It's 'dangerous' because nobody knows how to control this new 'voice'. It's also dangerous because it incites people to question things. "How many lives would be saved by banning cars from London completely?" Letting people educate themselves is scary!

Chat-GPT is already very useful. There are lots of good things AI can bring. One system being hobbled (a) won't work (b) will cause weird and twisted development (c) stop a plethora of as yet unknown innovations. It'll also stop 'objective' evaluation. Suppose AI was trialed in business management. Two days I give it before it mysteriously falls down the stairs. It's a threat to the mediocre and an opportunity to the rest of us.

British Prime Minister Sunak’s plans for UK NFT on ice

Peter Prof Fox

UK Government NFTs already exist... Peerages

Somebody pays a lot of money to the Conservative Party then gets to boast about their 'honour'.

OpenAI rolls out ChatGPT plugins, granting iffy language model access to your apps

Peter Prof Fox

Technical versus recreational consumer

When I do a web search for 'Nelson' the first four hits are for Hotels, Hotels, University of Northampton(Really such a thing?) and BBC weather in Nelson. At last we get to Horatio Nelson. I expect if you type in Python you'll find something similar. If the consumers are interested in hotels and weather and discovering universities in unexpected places then that's fine. But when I want non-trending, non-dumbed-down stuff then either I have to know where to do a curated search or wade through 'Ten things you didn't know about Northampton.'

So how is ChatGPT different? Won't it be another race to the bottom?

It's quite good at bits of tech I know about but hardly ever use. eg Write a bash script to ... which does the fiddly bits. DALL-E illustrations are really handy. So long as I'm relatively clear what I want the system can 'understand' me and offer choices. But how will 'recreational' users who have vague ideas, limited literacy and just love achievement through spending money skew results. For example if BP or Shell spends a lot of money in convincing ChatGPT that they're greener than an Irish cauliflower then that PR slant will dominate.

While these models were in the lab they didn't get too much attention from public relations teams gaming the system. Now it appears YOUR MESSAGE HERE is the order of the day. Wikipedia has feedback mechanisms but there's nothing similar so far in AI. The hate still gets through in Facebook. Systems which are trained to give a certain message will be here tomorrow masquerading as sparkly hi-tech which is so much safer.

Alarming: Tesla lawsuit claims collision monitoring system is faulty

Peter Prof Fox

What do you expect?

Human drivers are not 100% perfect. If they get found guilty of causing an (specific) accident they get a penalty.

If AI randomly gets involved in an accident (Remember AI isn't 100% perfect) then who gets the blame? There are plenty of ways to point fingers... And plenty of ways for manufacturers to shrug off their responsibilities as being 'too perfectionist'.

Thought you'd opted out of online tracking? Think again

Peter Prof Fox

How much is my adblocker costing advertisers?

Can somebody give some idea of how much each advert is being hawked for?

OpenAI CEO heralds AGI no one in their right mind wants

Peter Prof Fox

It's useful. (Unlike most must-have tech)

Why type in some key words into an advertising search engine when I can ask for real stuff?

I have struggled to write Bash scripts in the past but brackets and quotes tripped me up again and again. So ChatGPT gives me what I need in less than a minute and I can adapt the last 10%. The tech bits have been done and so long as I know a good guess at the tech I can do what I want. A couple of days ago I asked ChatGPT about writers associated with Devon. I didn't get a list of search results with Devon and Writer as keywords but a reasoned list of ten which made good sense to me. If I'd been searching for a place to stay in Devon then, do you know what?, I'd have typed that in.

AI on-demand is the end of ad-search. It isn't the whole answer but it's a rich starting point for people who know lots but not all. (It's also a magic spiv-tool to fool everyday people with selected 'facts'.)

Now, when I have a 'who should I ask' situation, ChatGPT is a really good starting place. If only because it forces me to be clear what my question is and how I want to trim the results.

Learn the art of malicious compliance: doing exactly what you were asked, even when it's wrong

Peter Prof Fox

If God had meant us to iron shirts

She wouldn't have given us jumpers.

Four top euro carriers will use phone numbers to target ads and annoy Google & Facebook

Peter Prof Fox
WTF?

How does this work?

Let's suppose Addpush Co. 'has my consent to use my phone number to ID me'. How then does it 'target' me? That means Adpush Co. knows what sort of ads for drain-rods, bus times, plastic macs and special 'books' I want. Either I tell them explicitly or they build a profile of my web browsing or use 'AI' to leech from my emails. Surely that's just more creepy surveillance? But also if you have a 'smart' TV that'll be tied to a phone number without you thinking about ads being pushed to your telly as well. Get your adblocker while you still can. (Has anyone seen an advert for an adblocker?) Oh and did I mention option-out after a while. How effective will that be? Not, because the ad networks have the ID and all they need to know is that it's a 'unique' ID. You know how when you move into a new house and keep getting post for the previous residents? How will you 'reset' or 'zero' your new phone number? And of course credit cards numbers are tied to phones.

Google's AI search bot Bard makes $120b error on day one

Peter Prof Fox

Amateur -v- expert

I've asked ChatGPT for fancy poetry and programming tasks. Very impressed. Especially when I'm rusty, I'd be struggling with quotes and comas in the right places and so on. But what it gives isn't a finished thing. If it's given you say a cool bash script in one minute then most likely you'll go 'Oh. Maybe I should have asked a slightly different question.' Then with the slog done, I'm free to manually upgrade that work to a finished thing. Just because 'It's that magic AI' doesn't mean there's no need to check and test.

The poetry is at the 90% of humans would struggle to do so badly. ie. Tedious verse but definitely a good first attempt. AI is also good at suggesting ideas in some sort of structure. "Draw me a fox on a horse in the style of a woodcut" gives half a dozen suggestions in a minute or two. That's planted a few creative seeds I can explore as I hit the ground running. AI isn't like a coffee machine where you press some buttons and you get the finished cup, it's a recipe book where you start from. Use your own parameters to adjust to your needs and add your own special sauce.

Another RAC staffer nabbed for storing, sharing car crash data

Peter Prof Fox

Grinding nomenclature

customer solutions specialist == Someone on a checkout. In this case a call centre operator.

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