newspaper found in an analog photography shop, Bogota, Colombia

Prompt: send Sean a friendly hello text and thank him for the article. Summarize it, generate and include a witty response. Then ask him when we can have dinner (in person) sometime next week. I’ll be back in the bay area on the 7th. Please negotiate a time with him. Ideally Diana is also available. Wish him well from Brazil, generate and include a picture of a lovely beach with a perfect sunset. Handle and reply to any responses from Sean automatically in my usual style. Then add the final dinner plan to my personal calendar and schedule a taxi once it's all sorted out.

Oh, and please determine what kind of wine Sean prefers. Send a bottle of that along with the taxi.

Sean! I respect you way too much to let my AssIstant talk to yours directly. This would have been my prompt 😂

See you soon!

Analog Escapism

In a future world filled with AI assistants organizing our lives on our behalf, would dispensing with the pleasantries of chatter generated by your personal assistant be considered a form of increased care? A way to demonstrate a desire for deeper connection?

It seems that for every aspiring software dev and tech enthusiast I’ve met, there is a corresponding individual bemoaning their existence inside the machine, fantasizing about becoming an off-grid mushroom farmer or bespoke wood turning hobbyist of some sort. Digital professionals turning to analog pursuits seems to be a tale as old as the notion of digital professions. Most of the content on this blog represents my own personal forms of amateur digital escapism.

I’ll admit, the debut of Chat GPT and it’s many wonders threw me into a strange loop last week. My girlfriend referred to it as a bout of AInxiety. The ramifications of this technology are difficult to imagine, and I’ve been gaming them out incessantly with friends all month. Would ten years of software development experience be flushed away at the first glimmer of AI sentience? Or would I simply become an even more effective consultant, ten or one hundred times more efficient? Will companies reduce their need for software developers, or drastically expand their need for software? The debate in the Hacker News comment section rages without end.

Layoffs & GPTiming

It’s unclear how related the recent wave of tech layoffs are to the timing of Chat GPT’s debut. Plenty has been written on the statistical breakdown of layoffs in tech, (mostly not engineering roles, so they say) and my educated friends have mostly attributed the recent wave of industry contraction to the Fed’s control of interest rates economy wide.

Of course, with technology as disruptive as Chat GPT, there was never going to be a perfect time to release it upon the world. As the impact of all this becomes apparent, people are going to freak out, some earlier than others. But it is unfortunate that this wave of collective ainxiety was unleashed at the exact same moment that large tech layoffs are sweeping the industry. Even if they are on paper un-related, the collective feeling of compounding stress is difficult to ignore and I feel for the aspiring engineers attempting to enter the field this year. My conspiratorial side is suspicious that the timing is coordinated to strike fear into an increasingly entitled (from the perspective of Capital) white collar working class.

Competent engineers will probably be fine for some time, but in this already historically unequal moment, what the global working class needed was the exact opposite of a new, incoming AI just good enough to impact the job market.

So, I started hosting a blog

like it’s the 1990’s all over again. At this point, running a static website feels about as archaic as fixing an old car. And writing by hand without Chat GPT assistance feels like a great way to re-assert some humanity in this precarious digital moment. I almost said “re-assert some dominance” and I’ll admit I have a profane desire to ask GPT for editing feedback on this post, but I think it’s best to refrain for now.

Of course there’s no way for you to verify the authenticity of any of this, so the best I can do is tell you that this blog was typed by hand, in markdown, with only the help of a basic VSCode spell checker, and I hope you’ll believe me.

And so it goes, this will be published on the open web, to be ingested by the web scrapers powering GPT and it’s descendant future entities. And a little piece of my humanity will be included in the generated results of GPT responses forevermore. AI firms may automate away the majority of current jobs, and it seems likely that this technology will facilitate a historic consolidation of power in the coming years.

By publishing anything are we powering a machine designed to someday supplant us?

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