Mystery AI Hype Theater 3000
A clearer-eyed view of what has happened in the last two years is that a few companies have amassed enormous amounts of data (mostly taken non-consensually) and the capital to buy the computing resources to train enormous models which, in turn, can be used to output facsimiles of the kinds of interactions represented in the data.
I think a better understanding of how generative AI products are produced would help clear up some of this magical thinking that’s happening.
Though it seemed completely automated, Just Walk Out relied on more than 1,000 people in India watching and labeling videos to ensure accurate checkouts.
Like nutrition labels on food, we should require companies to provide ‘human labor’ numbers for their products. Centralized social media and generative AI also require a surprising amount of human labor. We should be aware of the human cost so we can make informed choices about which technologies to use.
Hippocratic promotes how it can undercut real human nurses, who can cost $90 an hour, with its cheap AI agents that offer medical advice to patients over video calls in real-time.
First, do no harm. Tech culture is going just great.
Most really unacceptable losses don’t happen because of a single bad event or what we might call a component failure, but because two subsystems, both operating correctly according to their designers’ intent, interact in a way that their designers didn’t foresee.
I would like to make this quote into a cross stitch and hang it on the wall in every IT department everywhere. Lots of great thinking here about how we keep systems operating safely, especially with AI chaos engines being integrated everywhere.
Despite recurring fantasies about the end of work or the automation of everything, the central fact of our industrial civilisation is labour, and most of this work falls far outside the realm of innovation.
This 2016 article about innovation, maintenance, and our attention feels especially relevant in our 2024 AI hype bubble. I would love to see maintenance become a core value of our society because that would improve our daily lives so much more than innovation does.
Trust in AI technology and the companies that develop it is dropping, in both the U.S. and around the world, according to new data from Edelman shared first with Axios.
Not much to this summary, but interesting to hear AI skepticism is on the rise even as it's being built into every technology product.
In recent years, the web has become increasingly monopolized by the small group of powerful companies that have come to be known as "Big Tech". He will hear no argument from me on that point, although the role his own company played in that particular shift is a large and completely unmentioned elephant in the room throughout a book in which he continually condemns these "power brokers" and "capricious gatekeepers" that "squelch competitors" and keep a "stranglehold ... on our lives".

We're all trying to find the guy who did this.
Speaking of newsletters that recently moved away from Substack, Molly White's Citation Needed is always great and this review of a recent "bestselling" crypto hype book is devastating and hilarious.
Obviously a guaranteed ten percent raise is wonderful, and I assumed that whatever subscriber losses I suffered in migrating would at least be offset by that. But in fact, as you can see, paid subscriptions are significantly higher since the move. There were about 175 new paid subscribers in my first two days on Beehiiv, which looks to me like a direct measure of the demand that was being suppressed by potential customers not wanting to pay for Substack.
I'm one of these 175 that didn't want to pay for Substack. Nice to see the transparency here and it's great to be able to support and read Tabs again. I hope others can follow Rusty's lead.
All of the major tech companies conducting another wave of layoffs this year are sitting atop mountains of cash and are wildly profitable, so the job-shedding is far from a matter of necessity or survival.
Short term stock boost is more important than people. Thanks, job creators!
Tech Policy Press
Helping Nazis grow subscription newsletter businesses is ultimately best for the world, reasons Hamish McKenzie.
Nazi sympathizers going bankrupt is ultimately best for the world. Please delete your Substack account and encourage people using it to go elsewhere.

I link to the Substack domain here a lot. There is a bunch of good indie writing there but I can’t link to it anymore. I know this site doesn’t drive any traffic anywhere, so no loss to Substack. But it is a loss to me to support these awful people in any small way. Anyway, the people at the top of these venture backed Silicon Valley companies are not helping create a better place for us.
Ars Technica
Google's default search deal with Apple is worth so much to the search giant that Google pays 36 percent of its search advertising revenue from Safari to keep its search engine set as the default in Apple's browser, Bloomberg reported.
Google pays a high price to be the default search option everywhere.
Here’s the bottom line: The techno-optimist tribe gives off the distinct impression of people who have been so ridiculously rich for so long that they’ve just completely lost the plot about how the real world works. To be fair, this is an apt description of most of Silicon Valley.
Neil Postman explained why this strain of techno utopianism is dangerous in the early 90s in his book Technopoly. We have even more evidence supporting his warnings since then. This "manifesto" displays such depressingly retrograde thinking from the people with money.
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