Wednesday 4 January 2023

Back on the Vinyl (2023)

At the tail end of last year I got myself a simple vinyl set-up - a Dual 505 deck and a Cambridge Audio amp. Both items were in excess of 35 years old and they were bought from eBay. 

I was a bit surprised to find that with some new cables both items worked perfectly and they worked very well with some old Wharfedale speakers I had been gifted.

It's the first time for about 20 years that I have played any vinyl LPs or singles - of which I used to have hundreds and now have less than 12.  I sold them all about 15 years ago on eBay, so perhaps it is fitting that I am spending some of that money on eBay to get started again.  



The Third Magic (2023)


I have read quite a few pieces about so-called Artificial Intelligence over the past few years. Most of them have been quite unsatisfying. The best, by which I mean most thought-provoking, is an essay I have just read on the topic which was  published on 1st January this year by Noah Smith called "The third magic. A meditation on history, science, and AI" (HERE). 

An extract:

Humanity’s living standards are vastly greater than those of the other animals. Many people attribute this difference to our greater intelligence or our greater linguistic communication ability. But without minimizing the importance of those underlying advantages, I’d like to offer the idea that our material success is due, in large part, to two great innovations. Usually we think of innovations as specific technologies — agriculture, writing, the wheel, the steam engine, the computer. The most important of these are the things we call “general purpose technologies”. But I think that at a deeper level, there are more profound and fundamental meta-innovations that underlie even those things, and these are ways of learning about the world…