4.2 Gigabytes, or: How to Draw Anything – ⌨️🤷🏻‍♂️📷

4.2 Gigabytes, or: How to Draw Anything – ⌨️🤷🏻‍♂️📷:

4.2 gigabytes.

4.2 gigabytes.

That’s the size of the model that has made this recent explosion possible.

4.2 gigabytes of floating points that somehow encode so much of what we know.

Yes, I’m waxing poetic here. No, I am not heralding the arrival of AGI, or our AI overlords. I am simply admiring the beauty of it, while it is fresh and new.

Because it won’t be fresh and new for long. This thing I’m feeling is not much different from how I felt using email for the first time – “Grandma got my message already? In Florida? In seconds?” It was the nearest thing to magic my child-self had ever seen. Now email is the most boring and mundane part of my day.

There is already much talk about practical uses. Malicious uses. Downplaying. Up playing. Biases. Monetization. Democratization – which is really just monetization with a more marketable name.

I’m not trying to get into any of that here. I’m just thinking about those 4.2 gigabytes. How small it seems, in today’s terms. Such a little bundle that holds so much.

How many images, both real photos and fictional art, were crammed through the auto-encoder, that narrower and narrower funnel of information, until some sort of meaning was distilled from them? How many times must a model be taught to de-noise an image until it understands what makes a tiger different from a leopard? I guess now we know.

And now I suppose we ride the wave until this new magic is both as widely used, and boring, as email. So it goes.

[I’ve seen a lot of cool stuff created with the new AI art tools. Remarkable stuff.]

Janet Jackson had the power to crash laptop computers – The Old New Thing

Janet Jackson had the power to crash laptop computers – The Old New Thing:

The manufacturer worked around the problem by adding a custom filter in the audio pipeline that detected and removed the offending frequencies during audio playback.

And I’m sure they put a digital version of a “Do not remove” sticker on that audio filter. (Though I’m worried that in the many years since the workaround was added, nobody remembers why it’s there. Hopefully, their laptops are not still carrying this audio filter to protect against damage to a model of hard drive they are no longer using.)

And of course, no story about natural resonant frequencies can pass without a reference to the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in 1940.

[It’s not the only thing that Janet can crash.]