Brian Austin

July 13, 2023

The Office of Weights and Measures

It's been a while (April 10th) since I posted anything. In the words of Peter Gibbons in office space "I wouldn't say I've been *missing* it".  But it's not what you think, I have literally missed the action of writing and posting. What can I say life intervened. 


What absurd ideas have been rattling around in my head over the past few months?  

The Voting Machine

I've watched the stock market do some pretty wacky things. To quote Benjamin Graham "In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine." The market's "votes" have largely been positive, at least if you are a large cap S&P stock. It flies in the face of a bunch of economic data that is muddied and uncertain. Long term? Don't bet against the U.S., your 401(k) is probably OK. 

NVDA to the Moon

Speaking of stocks, what the heck is up with Nvidia? Hype from AI bleeding over into GPU chip makers is the obvious second round of juice after crypto fell apart. But does the rise of this individual stock seem real? I say no, and when I heard that AMD revealed new A.I. chip to challenge Nvidia’s dominance I began to see shades of the Intel v AMD chip wars

Existential Hype

Which brings us to AI in general. I have long experimented with the technology, and I see the value. But the hype.. geez even contrarians can't resist gushing about the technology. One minute we are worried AI will become sentient and kill all humans, the next we're worried it will take all of the human jobs. 


Damned Lies and AI

Meanwhile AI lies to us with the efficiency of Keyser Söze, or better summarized as: 

(Chat GPT) gives an answer with complete confidence, and I sort of believe it. And half the time, it’s completely wrong. —Rodney Brooks, Robust.AI 

The Valuable Part

But again, I see the value and I use the technology. In a recent interview Satya Nadella admitted that he went all in on AI once he saw it write code. AI is great for writing boiler plate code and optimizing the end product, but it's just as poor at interpreting half-baked product requirements as the rest of us. 

The Weighing Machine

I'll wrap by reminding everyone that at some point the Internet was a hyped up, over promised technology that everyone went ga-ga over. In the end the weighing machine selected out the valuable parts from the frivolous. This time it's different, only in that while it took the Internet the better part of 20 years to come of age, I expect AI to do the same in half the time.

About Brian Austin

A software engineer building products and services for smaller companies. This newsletter syndicates all of my LinkedIn content.

For AI project updates check out Project Maestro on Substack.

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