Weeknotes 2023 W13:

Week of March 27 to April 2, 2023
What are these? These week­notes are a reflection on the past week. I write about anything from hobby projects and work to creativity and mental health. I publish my week­notes every Sunday morning. Consider subscribing via email or using the web feed!

This week was definitely better than the last.

I had the second out of three dentist appointments, for fillings.

My dentist suggested that I try without anaesthetic first, because that would make it possible for me to eat properly without half my face being numb. I tried, but the anaesthetic turned out to be necessary in the end. Brr.

On the evening after the appointment, a piece of hard (yet somewhat malleable) white… stuff… came loose from my tooth, and at the same time I had such pain I could hardly eat or drink. So I got an emergency appointment where my dentist confirmed that… everything was fine, actually: I just have highly sensitive teeth. She applied some substance to reduce the sensitivity and things are fine now.

The stuff that came loose? A complete mystery.

But I’m quite fine now, so I guess that’s good.

I suffered from crippling loneliness the first half of the week, and then ended up hanging out a lot with friends in the second half of the week.

Loneliness is a particular feeling that I find hard to analyse. I end up with contradictory answers every time I try to resolve the question of what is causing it.

At work, last week was not good (see Week­notes 2023 W12: Excel), but this week was much better.

To show progress, I built a prototype of a new product, with both frontend and backend, combined into a mostly-functioning unit. That took me just a few hours. I can be very fast if the situation is right.

Speaking of being fast: I had been submitting quite some changes for review to one team for the past few weeks. The manager of that team reached out to tell me that my review requests had introduced an elevated load to the team, and that I would have to spread my review requests across two teams.

I’ll take it as a compliment that I’m able to make so many changes that I’m overloading an entire team.

The hype around “AI” goes on, and people continue to ascribe intelligence and wisdom to a system that genuinely has neither.

My employer has switched to using “AI” systems for generating public, customer-facing videos, with ChatGPT and text-to-speech software (the latter is AI now, apparently). The end result is pure cringe, in my opinion. But perhaps in a corporate context, using “AI” is fine because the content that is being created is devoid of creativity anyway. Corporate videos have always looked like they weren’t created by humans, or created by humans who weren’t properly alive.

A few years ago, I created an AI for my implementation of Connect Four. It’s a simple game and creating an AI for it is fairly straightforward. The end result was scarily good: I consistently failed to beat it, the AI set up traps for me and sadistically delayed my own defeat. When I used it for the first time, it freaked me out, as if I had created a monster. This was my brain attributing human characteristics to something that wasn’t remotely human. The same is happening to ChatGPT: it’s good at pretending to be human.

Also — just saying — the best Artificial Intelligence came out thirty years ago.

I am speaking at the next RUG::B (Ruby User Group Berlin) meet-up! I’ll talk about the idea of a programming language with no globals — not even a global network or a global filesystem — and the implications such a (hypothetical) language would have.

Meet me in person coming Thursday, April 6th. If you see me, please tell me the word “centrarchidae.” That’s our codeword.

This talk has been lying around in draft form for many months. I really need to get it into a decent shape soon. The clock is ticking.

At the end of the line, in busses and trams in Berlin, a voice would say “please leave the bus/tram here.” That sentence has been changed; the disembodied voice now says “all change please” instead.

I don’t know when they changed it, but I think it must’ve been in the past few months. (I’m not taking public transit much anymore.)

This makes me a little sad, because “please leave the bus here” seemed like an excellent message to the casual superhero taking public transit, urging them to… well… just leave the bus where it is.



Week­notes for March 27 to April 2, 2023. Browse the weeknotes archive, get these week­notes via email or subscribe to the web feed.