Desk of Brad


The Beginning of Artificial Intelligence

“We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.”

– Bill Gates

Hi Everyone,

I hope you all take some time to investigate the ChatGPT functionality this weekend.

Edison had approximately one thousand failed attempts at inventing the incandescent lightbulb. It’s a great example of perseverance for sure but it’s also reflective of how technology evolves. Could you imagine our world without lightbulbs? How mind-blowing it would be to move from all the hassle of matches and candles to a simple light switch?

On the call today, we’ve spent the last 100,000 years building tools that replicate or improve the human experience. Something that is often misunderstood when considering how technology advances, is that it’s a logarithmic curve. You’ve all heard about Moore’s law (Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel); the principle that computing power doubles about every two years. Moore made this pronouncement in 1965, and so far, his law is proving to be true. Every time the semiconductor industry has run into an engineering limitation, there has been a breakthrough that has perpetuated the doubling of computing power.

If you were born before 1995, you remember a world that was information poor. We were taught how to research in school because finding and maintaining an information advantage was a critical skill. Then came the internet. In a matter of years almost all of our collective knowledge, and much of our experience as human beings, accurate or not, is expressed somewhere in a digital context. All of which is searchable by computers. We’ve been writing computer programs to sort and organize information for the last 80 years or so. Organizing numbers is straightforward, especially as computing power has increased.

Writing computer programs that understand language has been challenging because it requires an understanding of context. An ontology is a way of understanding how words and ideas are related to each other. You have a forest, a tree, branches, and leaves, that’s an ontology. DITA is another example of organizing information so that it is machine (computer program) readable.

With the continued growth of computing power, computers have been searching and building ontologies around language, meaning, ideas, and knowledge. No different than how your mind grows as a child. You build a mental model of language, learn how to express yourself, communicate your ideas, and combine that all together to create knowledge. Then you go to school and learn, all the while building your knowledge and expanding the number of ontologies and information relationships in your mind. 

ChatGPT has been doing the same thing. It’s not always right, and neither are we. However, just like us, it learns, deepening the number of ontologies and relationships it understands, and that it can express back to you when you ask it a question. The interesting thing about questions is that they provide a frame of reference for inferring context. If I ask why does my arm hurt after tennis? The number of ontologies that define causation, your arm, and playing tennis, are relatively limited compared to all the information on the internet. You get an answer back from ChatGPT and now it knows there is a context in which arms are hurt playing tennis. Ask ChatGPT millions upon millions of questions and its understanding of context continues to grow and become further refined.

Unlike humans, ChatGPT will never forget what it’s learned. It will become more and more exacting over time. I am not saying this is going to change the world for certain, but… I think this is like a lightbulb. In a few years, maybe the next decade, the world we live in today will be unrecognizable.

From the movie 2001 A Space Odyssey –

Interviewer: HAL, despite your enormous intellect, are you ever frustrated by your dependence on people to carry out your actions?

HAL: Not in the slightest bit. I enjoy working with people. I have a stimulating relationship with Dr. Poole and Dr. Bowman. My mission responsibilities range over the entire operation of the ship so I am constantly occupied. I am putting myself to the fullest possible use which is all, I think, that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.

I am looking forward to “Chatting” with everyone on our Monday call.

Let’s go be great!