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  • Sunday Signal: Figure partners with OpenAI, the trap of social media and who > how

Sunday Signal: Figure partners with OpenAI, the trap of social media and who > how

Hey friends 👋 Happy Sunday.

Here’s your weekly dose of AI and introspection.

AI Highlights

Humanoid robotics company Figure pushed their valuation to $2.6B with co-investors including Microsoft, OpenAI startup fund, Jeff Bezos and Nvidia. The collaboration means OpenAI's multimodal models will enable Figure 01 to complete real-world tasks fully autonomously through robotic perception, reasoning, and interaction.

Alex’s take: This was no surprise to me. I first spoke to Brett Adcock, Founder and CEO of Figure at the end of 2022. I immediately knew you'd be foolish to bet against anything he set his mind to. Figure is building hardware faster than most people build software.

Yann LeCun is the Chief AI Scientist at Meta. Speaking on “The Expanding Universe of Generative Models” panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Yann highlighted the idea that a 4-year-old child is way smarter than current cutting-edge large language models (LLMs).

Alex’s take: The real constraint right now is the ability of LLMs to think. Today, LLMs are only capable of System 1 thinking. These are tasks that involve quick, automatic responses. LLMs struggle with discontinuous tasks that require a creative leap in progress. What could it mean to give language models System 2 thinking?

Groq achieved 240 tokens/s on Llama 2 Chat (70B), >2X the next fastest provider. The LPU overcomes two LLM bottlenecks: compute density and memory bandwidth. LPUs have a greater compute capacity than GPUs, reducing the time per word calculation speed meaning text is generated faster. They also eliminate external memory bottlenecks which enables the LPU inference engine to deliver orders of magnitude better performance.

Alex’s take: Nvidia currently has the entire tech industry in the palm of its hand. I’m looking forward to new technology sticking it to the incumbents to shake up the playing field.

Also, the origin of the word grok/groq fascinates me. It was a word coined by Robert A. Heinlein for his 1961 science-fiction novel, Stranger in a Strange Land. In the book, to grok is to empathise so deeply with someone that you merge or blend with them. The simplest way to think of grok is to truly, deeply understand someone or something.

1 Article I Enjoyed

Adam Guild is the Co-Founder and CEO of Owner.com, a company helping restaurants grow their online sales.

I thought he wrote a brilliant piece in June 2020 on the trap of social media.

My favourite takeaways:

  • Social media gets you in the habit of comparing and imitating the lives of others. This isn’t their real lives, but their handpicked highlight reel.

  • This is not how important work gets done. Instead of living a montage of picture-perfect moments, you have to be willing to work tirelessly and persevere when it gets hard.

  • The most successful people work hard in ways that might not seem cool or fun, and they don't worry about what others think of them at first. Later, they end up getting a lot of respect and admiration for their achievements.

Social media must be used in a discerning way.

It can be a total trap or it can be used as a force for good to give attention to your business.

One thing is for sure: you must play the long game.

1 Idea I Learned

Who > how.

At the end of January, I attended Sahil Bloom and Ali Abdaal’s event in London “10 Lessons That Changed Our Lives”.

One piece of advice that stood out: it’s the who not the how.

The concept highlights the importance of speaking directly with people who can help you reach a solution, rather than getting lost in solitary pursuit of crafting the perfect plan.

The narrative of how Sahil befriended Ali encapsulates this lesson perfectly.

Eager to get the inside scoop on audience building and creating videos on YouTube, Sahil (from the East Coast of America) reached out to Ali, letting him know he’d be in London next week and asked if he’d be available for dinner.

Only after Ali agreed did Sahil book his flight to London.

There are a few takeaways from this story that I feel are valuable to pass on:

  1. Closed mouths don’t get fed. Reach out to the people who’ve walked the path you aspire to tread.

  2. When in doubt, just ask. The best way to get a yes—create enormous value and demonstrate you are useful BEFORE asking.

  3. Close your proximity to the action. As Casey Neistat, the American YouTuber once said, “Get as close to the fire as humanly possible.” The closer to the action you can be, the more you're going to learn.

1 Quote to Share

Will Manidis on burnout:

“You aren't ‘burnt out’ you are just working on things that don't matter.”

I strongly believe a deep sense of meaning is found by working on things that matter to you.

Both burnout and meaningless work lead to one another. It’s often the case that working on unfulfilling things → burnout → working on more unfulfilling things.

The best way to break the cycle is to find what sets you on fire and where that meaning lies.

And the best way to do that is to try and test lots of different things.

1 Question to Ponder

What hard but necessary conversation am I putting off?

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

See you next week,

Alex Banks