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  • Sunday Signal: GPT-4 Turbo, Englishman swims the Channel and the importance of being useful

Sunday Signal: GPT-4 Turbo, Englishman swims the Channel and the importance of being useful

Hey friends 👋 Happy Sunday.

Here’s your weekly dose of AI and introspection.

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AI Highlights

GPT-4 Turbo was one of the big releases from OpenAI’s DevDay. It’s a more powerful version of GPT-4 now available in ChatGPT. GPT-4 Turbo boasts a 128K context window (16x the size of previous GPT-4 context). A context window is the number of tokens the model can take as input when generating a response. 1 token ≈ 4 characters or 0.75 words.

Alex’s take: Greg Kamradt decided to pressure test the performance of GPT-4’s new context length. He did a "needle in a haystack" analysis to find how it performed at recalling facts. At 64K tokens and lower there was 100% retrieval accuracy. This is incredible.

Runway is an applied AI research company shaping the next era of art, entertainment and human creativity. As their Co-founder/CEO Cristóbal Valenzuela said recently in a post, Creative Software 2.0 is where machines draw and we direct. Constraints come from a lack of imagination, not from a lack of specialised knowledge. The most successful creators will be the most imaginative.

Alex’s take: We are getting closer and closer to being able to render a movie in real time. We are going to remove the barriers whereby any visual medium can be created instantly. You can just describe to it how it shifts. “Make it in the style of Wes Anderson”. The ability to rapidly iterate what you see will change the world. I feel Hollywood’s once-centralised role will be reduced as we advance to a more dynamic way of working.

Stanford's new robot system, NOIR, interprets EEG brain signals to perform tasks like cooking and playing games. Demonstrated across 20 household activities, NOIR aims to minimise mental effort by predicting intentions. Remarkably, it's compatible with users as young as five years old.

Alex’s take: We’re slowly turning sci-fi into sci-fact. When we blend brain-computer interfaces like Neuralink with the operation of humanoid robots something incredible happens. Our thoughts can directly guide robotic actions. This opens the door of possibility for automation and human-robot interaction.

1 Article I Enjoyed

On August 24th, 1875, smeared in porpoise fat for insulation and wearing a red silk swimming costume, Captain Matthew Webb, aged 27, dove off Dover’s Admiralty Pier into the chilly waters of the English Channel.

His objective was clear. Swim across the gruelling 21-mile crossing.

On a diet of beef broth and brandy, Webb swam the Channel using breaststroke. For front crawl was deemed too ungentlemanly.

I first discovered this story after hearing Ross Edgley’s recount on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. This followed Edgley’s 2,700km swim around the entire mainland of Great Britain.

As the inscription reads on Captain Webb’s memorial, “Nothing Great Is Easy.”

1 Idea I Learned

Try to be useful. Do things that help fellow humans. Contribute more than you consume.

Even if it does a small amount of good for a large amount of people, that’s fine.

It doesn’t have to change the world for it to be good.

1 Quote to Share

Bill Walsh, the great American football coach, on process over results:

“Concentrate on what will produce results rather than on the results, focus on the process not the prize.”

Bill Walsh was considered a coaching genius. In 1979, Walsh took over as head coach for the San Francisco 49ers. They were struggling at the lower ranks of the NFL. Under his leadership, the team achieved remarkable success, winning three Super Bowl titles.

My favourite takeaway from this quote is that outcomes vary. But the process is completely in your control. Good process leads to good results.

By focusing on the score you lose focus on the game.

But if you focus on the game, the score will take care of itself.

1 Question to Ponder

What am I most excited about over the next month?

💡 If you enjoyed this issue, share it with a friend

See you next week,

Alex Banks

P.S. Focus is a force multiplier on work.