The Disappearing Computer

The disappearing computer — and a world where you can take AI everywhere

Imran Chaudhri | TED Talk

I have watched this talk a couple of times and love the idea. I see two large hurdles, even if the device works flawlessly. The first is the biggest point of friction for me… how to get sound into and out of the device, the microphone and the speaker. My ears don’t like things shoved into them anymore. They don’t even like headphones on top of the ears anymore. It’s a huge bummer. My ears get infected and I on this recent tour had to shove in ear monitors into them anyway, every night for at least 90 minutes. I made appointments with several ENTs but many are booked months in advance. I followed the advice to mix a few drops of tea tree oil with a carrier oil and put a few drops of that mixture into my ears. I didn’t expect much success but was willing to try anything because once the infection goes deeper into the ear canal it can become dangerous. I need my ears. I did the tea tree oil treatment and I also put my ear down on a towel covering an ice pack. The cold felt good. This morning my ears are a lot better. I was surprised as I didn’t think it would work and expected to have to find a doctor who would prescribe some kind of steroid creme to me, to combat the infection. While I seem on the mend now, I am clearly not excited to put things into my ear even when I am not working. And the device shown in the above linked talk clearly requires some kind of in ear thing to work… unless we get a tooth implant with microphone and speaker built in????

The second problem I see is that people actually love the distraction a screen provides. Waiting to board a plane, waiting in line for coffee, waiting for a meeting or an appointment: out come the devices!! Looking around after my flight home landed I noticed that nearly everyone had their phones out. Some contacted the people who would pick them up at the airport but in many cases Facebook and Instagram timelines were scrolled and scrolled and scrolled…. 

Maybe there is a third problem, the fact the phone is such a Swiss Army Knife: phone, camera, notebook, book library, flashlight… 

I can’t wait to find out where Humane will take this idea. I find myself cheering them on despite wondering whether it can work.

AI Bots


768,560 – – 30k – 0.00002%

See the websites that make AI bots like ChatGPT sound so smart – Washington Post

It would be one thing if we were building something together, some kind of open source chat bot, but instead this is all fodder for a proprietary, corporate machine that costs money to use. 

The three biggest sites were No. 1, which contains text from patents issued around the world; No. 2, the free online encyclopedia; and No. 3, a subscription-only digital library. Also high on the list: No. 190, a notorious market for pirated e-books that has since been seized by the U.S. Justice Department. At least 27 other sites identified by the U.S. government as markets for piracy and counterfeits were present in the data set.

See the websites that make AI bots like ChatGPT sound so smart – Washington Post

I get that wikipedia would be ranked highly as it is a free online encyclopedia, but how did they gain access to the subscription-only digital library, ranked third? Did someone pay for an account and then use the account to scrape the entire website? And a market for pirated e-books, since seized by the U.S. Justice Department?!?!

Interesting times!

Music Making + Listening

Today I saw the following quote and the comment by Alex Ross, the excellent music critic of The New Yorker.

Whenever people start talking about the wonderful and terrifying possibilities of AI, I think of the above comment from the composer Ben Phelps, in 2017. To paraphrase for the current moment: if AI is capable of writing journalism, then surely AI is also capable of reading journalism. Let the chatbots write for one another, and leave us out of it.
Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise: The final word on artificial intelligence

BTW in German there is a lovely verb for making music: musizieren. It always struck me as strange that English doesn’t have a word for that. We have to say that we play music or make music. We can write and paint and even photograph but we cannot music. At least this is not limited to English, as all of the latin languages use making music as well.

A Car Can Go Faster

This morning Steve left the following link in the comment section:
Jaron Lanier: ‘The danger isn’t that AI destroys us. It’s that it drives us insane’ | The Guardian

You come for Lanier’s analysis of AI…

Lanier doesn’t even like the term artificial intelligence, objecting to the idea that it is actually intelligent, and that we could be in competition with it. “This idea of surpassing human ability is silly because it’s made of human abilities.” He says comparing ourselves with AI is the equivalent of comparing ourselves with a car. “It’s like saying a car can go faster than a human runner. Of course it can, and yet we don’t say that the car has become a better runner.”

and you stay for his analysis of Twitter:

As for Twitter, he says it has brought out the worst in us. “It has a way of taking people who start out as distinct individuals and converging them into the same personality, optimized for Twitter engagement. That personality is insecure and nervous, focused on personal slights and affronted by claims of rights by others if they’re different people. The example I use is Trump, Kanye and Elon [Musk, who now owns Twitter]. Ten years ago they had distinct personalities. But they’ve converged to have a remarkable similarity of personality, and I think that’s the personality you get if you spend too much time on Twitter. It turns you into a little kid in a schoolyard who is both desperate for attention and afraid of being the one who gets beat up. You end up being this phoney who’s self-concerned but loses empathy for others.”

This is what my hope is as well:

There is also huge potential, he says, for AI to help us tackle climate change, and save the planet.

Great article. Thanks Steve


My laptop has a 14″ screen but Pro Tools works best on one big screen or using two screens. In my studio I used to have one main 23″ monitor and a second 15″ monitor. Last week I started using my iPad as a second screen, propping it up next to my laptop. It connects via a short USB-C cable, which also powers the iPad. I am really pleased with how well it works. Extremely portable, too. I would hesitate to carry a second screen with me, but I almost always travel with the iPad.

The False Promise of ChatGPT

It is at once comic and tragic, as Borges might have noted, that so much money and attention should be concentrated on so little a thing — something so trivial when contrasted with the human mind, which by dint of language, in the words of Wilhelm von Humboldt, can make “infinite use of finite means,” creating ideas and theories with universal reach.

The human mind is not, like ChatGPT and its ilk, a lumbering statistical engine for pattern matching, gorging on hundreds of terabytes of data and extrapolating the most likely conversational response or most probable answer to a scientific question. On the contrary, the human mind is a surprisingly efficient and even elegant system that operates with small amounts of information; it seeks not to infer brute correlations among data points but to create explanations.

Noam Chomsky: The False Promise of ChatGPT

Thanks to Steve for sending the article.