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  • Sunday Signal: ChatGPT has a body, the importance of speed and the 11 of 13 rule

Sunday Signal: ChatGPT has a body, the importance of speed and the 11 of 13 rule

Hey friends 👋 Happy Sunday.

Here’s your weekly dose of AI and introspection.

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AI Highlights

Two weeks ago, Figure and OpenAI announced their partnership, which aims to equip the Figure 01 humanoid robot with the capability to complete real-world tasks fully autonomously. This week, they demonstrated Figure 01’s ability to have full conversations and deliver dexterous robot actions.

Alex’s take: A couple of years ago, I thought conversational embodied AI was over a decade away. Now, a humanoid robot can have a full conversation in which the robot explains its reasoning in real time while carrying out actions. The best part is that everything in the video is a neural network without remote operation. If you’re interested in a technical deep dive, I recommend Corey’s thread here.

Cognition announced ‘Devin’, an autonomous agent that solves engineering tasks using its own shell, code editor, and web browser. It has already passed practical engineering interviews from leading AI companies and completed real jobs on Upwork.

Alex’s take: I was impressed with Devin’s performance. When evaluated by SWE-Bench, an automated benchmark for software engineering systems, Devin resolved 13.86% of the issues unassisted, far exceeding the previous highest benchmark of 1.96% unassisted and 4.80% assisted.

Scalable Instructable Multiworld Agent (SIMA) is a generalist AI agent that can follow natural-language instructions to perform tasks in video games.

Alex’s take: Learning to follow instructions in a variety of game settings could unlock more helpful AI agents for any environment. This could be a great companion to you as the gamer to enhance immersion.

1 Article I Enjoyed

James Currier is the Founding Partner at NFX (which stands for "network effects”), a VC firm investing in pre-seed and seed-stage startups.

Over the past few years, I’ve been quietly impressed with the quality and speed at which their content library has grown.

This article is no exception. Written by James, it highlights how founders must drastically accelerate their pace to exploit the transformative potential of generative AI. As AI's capability to automate rapidly outpaces traditional human-driven processes, only one thing matters to stay competitive: speed.

My favourite takeaways:

  • Speed is the number one advantage of a startup.

  • Moments like this only happen every 14 years (browser in 1994, smartphone in 2008, generative AI in 2022).

  • AI won’t be perfect. But it will be faster and more accurate than us on most days, doing most things.

  • Embrace borrowing. Facebook copied Friendster. Google copied everything. Imitate, then iterate. Eventually, you will create something unique because you have a unique mind.

This piece reminds me of a quote I mentioned in an earlier issue of Sunday Signal: we must put nothing off.

1 Idea I Learned

One of the best pieces of advice James Currier received was from Dennis Hightower, the former head of Disney International.

He asked James why he wasn’t doing something. James responded by explaining the pros and cons of the two different ways of completing the task.

Dennis replied thoughtfully, “You know, there are 13 ways of doing anything. 11 of them will work. Just pick one and do it.”

The best founders avoid over-analysing. You don’t have time at a startup, and the result will likely be marginal.

Pick a way and do it. Be consistently decisive.

1 Quote to Share

Nvidia’s CEO Jensen Huang on advice for students:

“One of my great advantages is that I have very low expectations. And I mean that. Most Stanford graduates have very high expectations. And you deserve to have high expectations because you came from a great school. You were very successful. Top of your class. Obviously, you were able to pay for tuition. And you’re graduating from one of the finest institutions on the planet. You’re surrounded by other kids that are just incredible. You naturally have very high expectations.

People with very high expectations have very low resilience. And, unfortunately, resilience matters in success. I don’t know how to teach it to you except that I hope suffering happens to you. I was fortunate that I grew up with my parents providing a condition for us to be successful on the one hand, but there were plenty of opportunities for setbacks and suffering. To this day, I use the phrase “pain and suffering” inside our company with great glee—and I mean that. ‘Boy, this is going to cause a lot of pain and suffering’—and I mean that in a happy way. Because you want to train, you want to refine the character of your company.

You want greatness out of them. And greatness is not intelligence. Greatness comes from character. And character isn’t formed out of smart people, it’s formed out of people who’ve suffered.

And so if I could wish upon you—I don’t know how to do it—for all of you Stanford students. I’d wish upon you ample doses of pain and suffering.”

Resilience, not intelligence, is what makes great leaders stand out and win.

1 Question to Ponder

Will AI be smarter than any single human next year? Elon Musk believes that by 2029, AI will probably be smarter than all humans combined.

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

See you next week,

Alex Banks

P.S. Stripe’s 2023 annual letter is a delightful read.