730: “Treat it as an Intern,” with Jeff Richardson

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Trust but verify.

I treat LLMs like I do my toddler. I trust what they say, but I verify that it’s actually true using a source I know I can trust outside of that potentially hallucinating source of information.

At this point if you’re not using LLMs in some way you are certainly falling behind those that are, and that trend is only going to accelerate. Don’t be a luddite, but don’t blindly trust the new technology.

Personally I am really excited to see what Apple and other companies do with on-device LLM compute in the coming year. I already like using Ollama on my Mac to run local LLMs. I think Apple is uniquely positioned here with their own hardware and their decision to move to unified memory years ago.

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I’m not interested in the hallucinatory correlation model of LLMs. But none of us using Apple gear are Luddites. Apple has been quietly including machine learning in their products for years. And my Adobe photo editing software makes good use of machine learning.

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It is particularly amazing to me that these LLMs have gotten so much better so quickly. The tools available today are pretty incredible, but how much more incredible might they be in just a few years?

-Jeff

Low cost automated analysis like Jeff described will increase honesty and reduce the need for such work, similarly to how the proliferation of the cash register reduced both theft and accusations of theft. That will of course push wrongdoing into new spheres, so everyone on all sides of the law will still have plenty to do.

Also, Jeff may have gotten me to buy a family NYT Games subscription…

Try it! Once you do so, I think you’ll love it!

-Jeff

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Absolutely love ours! Also, on the weekends often my wife and I will work on the crossword together, screen shared to our AppleTV so we can solve together. It’s actually quite nice!

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Great episode and the title captures EXACTLY how I am using AI right now. Don’t blindly follow it, but if you aren’t using it to simplify some of your processes, you are missing out!

I should have mentioned on MPU that my wife and I often screen share to the AppleTV as well to solve together. I do wish that the app would recognize that many couples share a puzzle account. It would be great if the app allowed two people to work on the same puzzle at the same time.

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Oh that would be AMAZING! There’s plenty of times we aren’t in the same location and it would be so cool to solve together.

As far as the AppleTV method goes, sometimes I find the app displays everything in a readable way, other times it’s super zoomed out. Haven’t cracked that code yet.

Given how much Jeff said he used his iPad for taking handwritten notes that he scans later and even shares occasionally, I would love to know if he uses a screen protector like paper like. I take handwritten notes on my 11 in iPad pro with the Apple Pencil but they are almost illegible. I’m wondering if he found a good screen cover that helps or maybe he just has much better handwriting than I do.

Have others found that a matte paper like or other screen protector makes writing much better on an iPad?

Dickie: No, I don’t use a screen protector. Before the Apple Pencil was introduced in 2015, when we used third-party styluses to write on an iPad screen, I tried a couple of different brands (I no longer remember which ones). While they did add some friction, I never found that they improved the writing experience for me. They certainly didn’t change the legibility of my handwriting. And they also made the screen a little big harder to see. After trying out a few brands and not liking them, I’ve never tried them again. So if there is some new screen protector technology that I haven’t tried yet, perhaps I might like it better, but that would surprise me.

The truth is that I like the feel of the tip of an Apple Pencil against the iPad screen. I use it to write virtually every single day. I was just using it an hour ago to write out an oral argument that I’m going to present tomorrow morning. I know that from time to time I see someone post online that they prefer writing with a screen protector, so there are clearly some folks who see them as an improvement, but not me.

-Jeff

P.S. You can see my handwriting on the iPad in a number of photos in this post:
https://www.iphonejd.com/iphone_jd/2023/08/goodnotes-6.html