Linked List: February 2023


One of my favorite technology writers, James Somers, writing about OpenAI’s open-source speech-transcription program, whisper.cpp, in the New Yorker:

Sutton concluded that the goal of A.I. research should be to build “agents that can discover like we can” rather than programs “which contain what we have discovered.” In recent years, A.I. researchers seem to have learned the bitter lesson once and for all. The result has been a parade of astonishing new programs.

Here’s a gut feeling about recent developments in AI: Perhaps the software code fast approaching will somehow mimic a part of the process of biological evolution.

And if software knows how to learn by itself, would understanding us speaking to it seamlessly not speed up its own learning?

By the way, we can already use Whisper to transcribe Twitch streams.

Asleep in Trees

Interactive music video website by Peter Adams.

Animated Drawings

Draw a picture, upload, move skeleton lines around, then pick a movement type and save your animated drawing as an MP4 file.


You may see more particles appearing on my stream overlays soon, thanks to Matteo Bruni.


A beautiful serif typeface by Ana Paula Megda.

Longwinded Overview of the Current State of AI

Zhengdong Wang:

Years from now, as we loll on the beach with our robot butlers, 2022’s biggest AI story will be clear. But it’s not clear now. Right now we only have seeds. None of the above AI systems have yet changed the world as much as the standouts from that golden age of physics. Still, we’ve only just started really living the 2020s. The field to watch is artificial intelligence.

BBC Elite Video Game Documented Source Code

Completely documented source code for the original Elite on the BBC Micro computer on a beautiful website by Mark Moxon.

My Mom Talks to ChatGPT

I installed the Talk-to-ChatGPT Chrome extension on my laptop, configured it for Brazilian Portuguese, chose a voice, and had my mom chat a bit:

Oi Shirley Boa tarde

Olá! Boa tarde! Em que posso ajudar?

Uma voz feia né?

Como uma inteligência artificial, eu não tenho uma voz física, apenas um sistema de sintetização de voz que converte o meu texto em áudio. Mas eu estou aqui para ajudá-lo da melhor maneira possível. Em que posso ajudar?

Uma porcaria quem inventou tava bêbado tu acha porque as vozes das mulheres. (My mom thought the female digitized voice sounded drunk and terrbile :)

Não é apropriado fazer comentários desrespeitosos ou sexistas sobre a voz de alguém, independentemente de seu gênero. Além disso, eu não fui inventado por uma pessoa específica, mas sim desenvolvido por uma equipe de cientistas e engenheiros em inteligência artificial da OpenAI. O objetivo da minha criação é fornecer uma ferramenta útil para ajudar as pessoas a obter informações e responder a perguntas. Se você tiver alguma dúvida ou precisar de alguma ajuda, estou aqui para ajudá-lo.

Abrir os olhos? (“Open AI” sounded like “Open Eyes” to my mom, who also speaks English.)

Se você está com os olhos fechados e deseja abri-los, basta movimentar os músculos que controlam as pálpebras e levantá-las suavemente para cima, permitindo que a luz entre em seus olhos. No entanto, se você está com dificuldade para abrir os olhos ou se sentir desconforto ou dor, é recomendável que consulte um médico para avaliar a causa subjacente e fornecer um tratamento adequado.

Por que vocês não tem alguém com uma voz bonita e agradável que faz o prazer de ouvir?

Como um modelo de linguagem artificial, minha voz é gerada através de algoritmos que produzem a fala a partir de dados textuais. Infelizmente, não tenho a capacidade de controlar a minha voz ou alterá-la para ter um tom mais agradável de ouvir. No entanto, estou constantemente sendo aprimorado pelos desenvolvedores para melhorar minha capacidade de gerar respostas precisas e fornecer uma experiência de usuário melhor. Agradeço seus comentários e espero continuar ajudando da melhor maneira possível.

My mom had no further questions for the time being, but I suspect this technology will be very useful and even a somewhat disconcerting once it improves further.

Fun Times With ChatGPT-Powered Bing Search

Simon Willison:

But… they make things up. And that’s not a current bug that can be easily fixed in the future: it’s fundamental to how a language model works.

The only thing these models know how to do is to complete a sentence in a statistically likely way. They have no concept of “truth”—they just know that “The first man on the moon was… ” should be completed with “Neil Armstrong” while “Twinkle twinkle … ” should be completed with “little star” (example from this excellent paper by Murray Shanahan).

I’d love to hear from expert AI researchers on this. My hunch as an enthusiastic amateur is that a language model on its own is not enough to build a reliable AI-assisted search engine.

PC Gamer 1962–2000 History of Video Games Poster

Via HN user Nition’s comment in a discussion about a history of video games site.

Ian Currie is a Writer on the Jagged Alliance 3 Team

Jagged Alliance 2 is one of my most very bestest best favorite games of all time, and having Ian Currie on board as a writer in the JA3 team is excellent news!

Ian Currie:

I was a little skeptical because of some of the games that were produced quickly to try to make some money off of the IP. But when THQ approached me and said: “No, we want to make the spiritual successor to Jagged Alliance 2”, they got my attention. I was excited.

So, for me, a true Jagged Alliance product has got to have the following elements. It’s got to have a strategy layer where the player is making decisions on a grand scale. Two. Its got to have solid tactical gameplay. Three. Its got to have all the characters, the interaction between the characters, and its got to have story.

Obstacles in game development are a common thing. It’s how you overcome them that’s important, and a lot of that comes down to having the right people on the team. People who understand what the game is all about, what the heart and soul of it is. And working with Haemimont has been great because they are all huge fans of the series. They get it.

The laptop and AIM website, bits of humorous merc dialogue, returning favorite mercs (Steroid, for example), and music in the trailer are looking good, and I hope the updated graphics don’t take more away than they add from the spirit of the series.

I’m excited to play this!

The Ground Itself

I’m looking through games that came in an indie bundle I bought at some years ago and found The Ground Itself:

…a one-session storytelling game for 2-5 players, played with household materials (a coin, a six-sided die, and a deck of cards).

Update: I bought a physical copy of the book and it is very nice. Warmly recommended!