June 2023 BenGoldhaber.com Newsletter
Walking around the South while listening to the Barbie soundtrack.
Welcome to the second half of the year - how did the first half of the year go for you? What’s the one word description of your H1 vibe? I’d have to say for me, vagabonding. Lots of travel, movement, and exploration, with a healthy amount of sleeping on friend’s couches.
Divia and I have dropped a new podcast episode with Sarah Constantin, diving into why she thinks AI is probably a good thing, the limits of current robotics, how to unblock progress, and lots more. Sarah’s one of my favorite online essayists - I often think about Player vs. Character. Check out the episode!
A prime example is Seaside, the 80-acre village in Florida that kicked off the New Urbanism movement in the early 1980s. The stretch of the Florida Panhandle where Seaside sits was such a backwater that the county didn't even have a Planning Department when Seaside was first getting built! As a result, the creators of Seaside had an incredible amount of freedom to build to their vision.
It’s quite encouraging to see that you can still build great liveable places!
What will GPT-2030 look like? An article by Jacob Steinhardt, noted researcher, made a set of specific predictions on the capabilities of large language models in 2030.
I expect GPT2030 to have superhuman coding, hacking, and mathematical abilities. I also expect it to be superhuman in its ability to read and process large corpora for patterns and insights and to recall facts.
Outside of his expertise in AI, Steinhardt is familiar with how to make good forecasts, given his prior work forecasting AI progress. One argument against is that he accepts that the scaling and finetuning of models will continue to drive new capabilities; it’s possible that the scaling laws won’t hold. But, of course, that’s been the refrain for years.
The Overedge Catalog: New Types of Research Organizations: I rediscovered this list of novel research organizations and was struck by how much space there is to experiment in org design, in particular in high impact research.
Issa Rice’s Timelines: A rare find, this is a truly insane collection of highly detailed ‘timelines’ of relevant events. For instance, the collapse of FTX with blow by blow details and media links with accompanying manifold market predictions. Or the timeline of Machine Learning starting in 1642.
14 Patterns of Biophilic Design: The architectural style marrying living things and good space design. I dig it.
Biophilic design is the designing for people as a biological organism, respecting the mind-body systems as indicators of health and well-being in the context of what is locally appropriate and responsive.
… I… didn’t really watch anything this month? I’m not sure what to tell you, I’m surprised and frankly disappointed in myself.
However! I did listen to music this month - a few highlights from what I added to my liked songs in June:
I heard ‘Make your own Kind of Music’ in the Barbie trailer, and proceeded to play it *a lot*.
Hope you have a great July.