General artificial intelligence

Thank you for tuning in to this audio only podcast presentation. This is week 60 of The Lindahl Letter publication. A new edition arrives every Friday. This week the machine learning or artificial intelligence related topic under consideration is, “General artificial intelligence.”

We made the ten hour drive from Denver, Colorado to Kansas City, Kansas this week. Last time we made the lengthy drive on I-70 we listened to the audio book recording of, “The Age of AI: And Our Human Future,” by Henry Kissinger, Eric Schmidt, and Daniel Huttenlocher that was published toward the end of last year on November 2, 2021. It was a pretty decent cut at the current state of artificial intelligence and its limitations. I had looked around for another artificial intelligence related audiobook to listen to during this trip. Instead of going with an audiobook this time around, I ended up listening to some of my favorite podcasts during the 10 hours of driving time.

According to a Pew Research Center survey of adults in the United States nearly a quarter of people get their news from podcasts [1]. The other key finding from that survey was that younger adults 18-29 were even more likely to consume news by podcast at 33%. Some of the curated news podcasts are just a higher quality of content than what you would see on cable news. Consolidated and well packaged content comes from solid editing and well thought out efforts. Getting news on demand when you want it is much easier than waiting for cable news to gather enough momentum to get to the point. Based on the survey data a shift is occurring. Podcast subscriber numbers are also indicating that based on audience size the shift may have already occurred.

For those of you who are curious what podcasts made up my 10 hours of traveling time I made a list. Included in that list were The Daily from the New York Times, Start Here from ABC News, The Vergecast, The NPR Politics Podcast, This Week in Google by Leo Laporte, Bourbon Pursuit, and Sway by Kara Fisher. The episode of Sway we listened to was about, “Tech’s Love Affair With Miami,” which was a very interesting look at how the clustering of technology focused people is changing. Kara and Keith talked about the migration from Silicon Valley to Miami. I previously shared a look at where the main AI labs are located back during my week 34 post about, “Where are the main AI Labs?” I had referenced a report that came out from The Brookings Institute by Mark Muro and Sifan Liu titled, “The geography of AI: Which cities will drive the artificial intelligence revolution?” [2]. The locations according to that report, “…include eight large tech hubs—New York; Boston; Seattle; Los Angeles; Washington, D.C.; San Diego; Austin, Texas; and Raleigh, N.C.—and five smaller metro areas that have substantial AI activities relative to their size: Boulder, Colo.; Lincoln, Neb.; Santa Cruz, Calif.; Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, Calif.; and Santa Fe, N.M.” You may have noticed that none of that seemed to include Miaima, Florida. 

Previously I shared a book called, “Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach,” by Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig [3]. This is probably my favorite topic within the artificial intelligence space. It happens to be the topic that powers a ton of science fiction movie and book plots. General artificial intelligence is much more exciting than any special or specific applications of artificial intelligence. The ability to solve a variety of problems and work beyond a single use case is exciting. 

I started reading an article from Ragnar Fjelland about, “Why general artificial intelligence will not be realized” [4]. Working through the article was like a refresher on philosophy and the nature of intelligence. It certainly is one perspective on general artificial intelligence. You could go with a more positive perspective from McKinsey and Company called, “An executive primer on artificial general intelligence” [5]. That article starts out by acknowledging that technology is changing, but getting to a true general intelligence is probably pretty far off. However, unlike Ragnar they don’t argue that it is an impossible task. Next I turned to Forbes from 2021 to read a little more about, “The Future Of Artificial General Intelligence” [6]. Some of the coverage is hopeful and some of it theorizes the endeavor is hopeless. 

Now at the end of this post is the time to share a short update on my audio recording methods. This week’s audio was recorded using the Yeti X professional microphone’s cardioid mode instead of the stereo mode which apparently kicks on automatically. The cardioid mode is geared toward recording sounds directly in front of the microphone which should be better for a podcast. You are welcome to let me know in the comments if you prefer the reverb of the stereo mode of previous episodes or the more targeted audio of the cardioid mode that delivered this recording. 



[1] make sure to download the report from the link on the left vs. just reading the page





What’s next for The Lindahl Letter?

  • Week 61: AI network platforms
  • Week 62: Touching the singularity
  • Week 63: Sentiment and consensus analysis
  • Week 64: Language models revisited
  • Week 65: Ethics in machine learning

I’ll try to keep the what’s next list for The Lindahl Letter forward looking with at least five weeks of posts in planning or review. If you enjoyed this content, then please take a moment and share it with a friend. Thank you and enjoy the week ahead. 

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