Software developer, racing fan
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Trust

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In their rush to cram in “AI” “features”, it seems to me that many companies don’t actually understand why people use their products.

Google is acting as though its greatest asset is its search engine. Same with Bing.

Mozilla Developer Network is acting as though its greatest asset is its documentation. Same with Stack Overflow.

But their greatest asset is actually trust.

If I use a search engine I need to be able to trust that the filtering is good. If I look up documentation I need to trust that the information is good. I don’t expect perfection, but I also don’t expect to have to constantly be thinking “was this generated by a large language model, and if so, how can I know it’s not hallucinating?”

“But”, the apologists will respond, “the results are mostly correct! The documentation is mostly true!”

Sure, but as Terence puts it:

The intern who files most things perfectly but has, more than once, tipped an entire cup of coffee into the filing cabinet is going to be remembered as “that klutzy intern we had to fire.”

Trust is a precious commodity. It takes a long time to build trust. It takes a short time to destroy it.

I am honestly astonished that so many companies don’t seem to realise what they’re destroying.

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vitormazzi
15 days ago
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Brasil
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LeMadChef
4 days ago
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The office off the bathroom is crepypasta.
Denver, CO

Statically Typed Functional Programming with Python 3.12

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Statically Typed Functional Programming with Python 3.12

Oskar Wickström builds a simple expression evaluator that demonstrates some new patterns enabled by Python 3.12, incorporating the match operator, generic types and type aliases.

Via Lobste.rs

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vitormazzi
18 days ago
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Brasil
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Quoting Zach Seward

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AI is the most anthropomorphized technology in history, starting with the name—intelligence—and plenty of other words thrown around the field: learning, neural, vision, attention, bias, hallucination. These references only make sense to us because they are hallmarks of being human. [...]

There is something kind of pathological going on here. One of the most exciting advances in computer science ever achieved, with so many promising uses, and we can't think beyond the most obvious, least useful application? What, because we want to see ourselves in this technology? [...]

Anthropomorphizing AI not only misleads, but suggests we are on equal footing with, even subservient to, this technology, and there's nothing we can do about it.

Zach Seward

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vitormazzi
40 days ago
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Brasil
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Everything Google's Python team were responsible for

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Everything Google's Python team were responsible for

In a questionable strategic move, Google laid off the majority of their internal Python team a few days ago. Someone on Hacker News asked what the team had been responsible for, and team member zem relied with this fascinating comment providing detailed insight into how the team worked and indirectly how Python is used within Google.
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vitormazzi
47 days ago
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Brasil
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On having no visual memory

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I have aphantasia—no ability to create images in my mind, or to remember things in a visual way.

For well over half of my life I lived under the assumption that suggestions to visualize things were entirely metaphorical, and also that I was incredibly stupid in certain ways, finding things that everyone else seemed to find easy a challenge. I struggle to learn graphical interfaces, I’ve mixed up speakers and their talks at conferences, I spend a lot of time staring at icons on my phone—as far as I’m concerned every blue icon leads to the same app.

I store information as lists. For people I see a lot, I could probably draw a reasonably accurate picture of them, based on the list of data I’ve collected. However that information can never be as detailed as being able to recall an image could be. For example, perhaps you are someone I work with. I see you several times a week on video calls. I know lots of things about how you look, including that you wear glasses. However, your glasses were unremarkable to me and so I’ve not stored any particular information about them. You could dramatically change your style of glasses, I’d not notice. I’m not comparing a visual memory of you from a few days ago, I just know you wear glasses.

If I’m visiting a new place and I go for a run, I collect data points along the way to navigate back. I will not remember how the route looked. This means that I can be incredibly good at taking people somewhere that I’ve only been once, I’ve got turn by turn directions. However, if I am walking with someone and talking, or for some reason don’t actively collect information, I’m doomed. The other week I lost an entire car park, never mind my car, due to having been distracted by a message after leaving the car park and failed to collect any information about what it looked like.

I dream, but not in pictures. For example, I have a recurring dream where I’m back in a theatre, putting on pointe shoes. I know it’s a theatre because of the smell, I feel the roughness of the shoes as I put my feet into them, the creak of the leather sole as I roll through my foot. I can feel that dream as I write about it, but there’s no image involved.

When I learned about aphantasia about ten years ago, suddenly so many things made sense. It’s harder to remember certain types of things if you have no visual memory of them. I’m not an awful person because I didn’t remember that I’d met a person before, there was no way for them to look familiar to me. However, I also think it’s at the root of some of the things I’m really good at.

My lists of information, are closer to a relational database than just a set of lists. It’s no surprise to me now that I always enjoyed working with databases and could design a complex schema without needing to sketch out a diagram. I’m constantly making connections between these bits of information. Many of these connections are just amusing to me, but other times they bring up interesting paths to investigate.

I context switch very easily, I can jump between these information sets without losing my train of thought.

I can write entire articles, documents, or conference talks in my head while out for a run. It’s usually quicker for me to create content in this way than sit at a computer and think about it. I can come in from a run and type out 2,000 words, transferring what I’ve written in my head to the document.

Having discovered this about myself, I’ve found plenty of other people who experience the world in the same way, probably unsurprisingly as people with aphantasia tend to be drawn to computing and science. I find it fascinating that we are all experiencing the world so differently, and how that can so fundamentally impact the things we find easy, or difficult.

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vitormazzi
50 days ago
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Brasil
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The Man Who Killed Google Search

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vitormazzi
50 days ago
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Brasil
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acdha
51 days ago
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Tragic but a glorious turn of phrase: “a management consultant wearing an engineer costume”
Washington, DC
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