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  • Sunday Signal: OpenAI unveils Voice Engine, spending time alone and studying failure

Sunday Signal: OpenAI unveils Voice Engine, spending time alone and studying failure

Hey friends 👋 Happy Sunday.

Here’s your weekly dose of AI and introspection.

AI Highlights

Voice Engine is an AI model that is capable of recreating a voice from a 15-second audio sample.

Alex’s take: I’ve already been impressed with how similar the output is to the reference audio. What’s more, OpenAI first deployed Voice Engine in 2022, even before ElevenLabs, another hot contender in the AI speech department, raised its seed round.

Project GR00T is an initiative to create a general-purpose foundation model for humanoid robot learning. It enables humanoids to learn from a handful of demonstrations to emulate human movements just from observation.

Alex’s take: Nvidia is on a journey to solve embodied AGI in the physical world. Pair this with Figure’s recent partnership with OpenAI to equip humanoid robots with the capability to complete real-world tasks fully autonomously, and we have a lot to look forward to.

ReALM can understand on-screen tasks, conversational context, and background processes. This can enable more natural interactions with Siri, allowing you to ask questions like “Call that business” or “Open this file.”

Alex’s take: I thought the mechanism behind ReALM was fascinating. It uses something called ‘reference resolution’. This forces the AI to figure out what you're pointing to by converting everything on the screen into text. Language processing then figures out what you mean by ‘this image’ or ‘that number’.

1 Article I Enjoyed

Auren Hoffman is the CEO of SafeGraph, a company building the highest-quality data about the physical world.

In addition to investing in over 120 companies, he wrote this great piece on X/Twitter about how most super-successful tech founders spent a massive amount of time alone as kids and young adults.

My favourite takeaways:

  • Seek out authors on your own. Don’t feel obliged to finish something after you’ve picked it up. Be a voracious reader across categories and read what you enjoy. Something I’d add: Read nonfiction to raise your floor and read fiction to raise your ceiling.

  • Create, don’t consume. Reading, watching, and scrolling are passive actions. Building, writing, and experimenting open the valve to your curiosity.

  • Social pressures. Alone time allows you to explore yourself versus conforming to social norms—either at school, in college, or around the workplace.

It turns out most of these people still spend much of their time alone today.

I see the need for striking a balance in 3 key areas:

  1. Structured free time alone — for meaningful, deep work

  2. Unstructured free time alone — to embrace mind-wandering

  3. Time spent with others — to build foundational relationships

All are important and help construct one’s character. Needless to say, when I was growing up, I was definitely biased toward number two—and I haven’t looked back since.

1 Idea I Learned

Study failure.

People spend a lot of time studying greatness.

They don't study failure.

People want to study Mohammed Ali, but they don't study all the heavyweight boxers who lost the first match.

If you only study Mohammed Ali, you miss out on all the failures along the way you didn't want to see.

Study mistakes and find a commonality among them. By avoiding failure, it will lead you to your own success.

So don't study greatness, study failure, and work out how not to be that.

1 Quote to Share

Timothée Chalamet on controlling your destiny:

“You could be the master of your fate. You could be the captain of your soul. But you have to realise that life is coming from you and not at you, and that takes time.”

Source: Twitter

1 Question to Ponder

What would your 80-year-old self say about your decisions today?

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

See you next week,

Alex Banks

P.S. Sometimes, a little bit of ignorance and naiveness are all you need to get started.