The Astro team releases a new documentation builder, legendary computer scientist Donald Knuth plays with ChatGPT, over 500 volunteer mods have signed an open letter to Stack Overflow Inc, Reddit faces a revolt due to their new API pricing & the Technology Innovation Institute release Falcon, a new open source LLM that’s topping Hugging Face’s leaderboard.
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What up, nerds? I’m Jerod and this is Changelog News for the week of Monday, June 5th 2023.
Mislav Marohnić’s Git is simply too hard opinion from Go Time #153 made the rounds over the weekend, so I was inspired to throw in an “unpop roundup” at the end of today’s episode. Let me know if you like these!
Ok, let’s get into the news.
The team behind Astro just announced a new documentation builder powered by (you guessed it) Astro. They say it’s everything you need to build a stellar docs website. Fast, accessible, and easy-to-use. This is easy to believe, considering how Astro itself is designed with the same priorities in mind.
Starlight hooks you up with site navigation, search, internationalization, SEO, easy-to-read typography, code highlighting, dark mode and more.
I am consistently impressed by the work this community puts out. Starlight is still young, but it has a bright future (pun intended) and who knows, maybe they’ll build an AI chatbot in for us too. Because as KBall and I discussed on JS Party…
Even legendary computer scientist, Donald Knuth, is playing with ChatGPT. Inspired by a conversation he had with Stephen Wolfram, Knuth asked it 20 questions and wrote up his analysis of its response.
His questions are… interesting. Much more intentional than anything I’d come up with. Does Donald Trump eat betel nuts? Write a sonnet that is also a haiku. What is the most beautiful algorithm? Stuff like that. He provides the answers verbatim, as well.
Here’s my favorite part, from his conclusions:
I find it fascinating that novelists galore have written for decades about scenarios that might occur after a “singularity” in which superintelligent machines exist. But as far as I know, not a single novelist has realized that such a singularity would almost surely be preceded by a world in which machines are 0.01% intelligent (say), and in which millions of real people would be able to interact with them freely at essentially no cost.
Despite this game of 20 questions, Knuth does not plan on continuing his generative AI research. He says he’s going to spend his time developing concepts that are authentic and trustworthy.
Sponsored News time, y’all.
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Over 500 volunteer moderators have signed this open letter to Stack Overflow, Inc. detailing a strike catalyzed by (but not solely because of) the company’s response to AI-generated content:
Stack Overflow, Inc. has decreed a near-total prohibition on moderating AI-generated content in the wake of a flood of such content being posted to and subsequently removed from the Stack Exchange network, tacitly allowing the proliferation of incorrect information (“hallucinations”) and unfettered plagiarism on the Stack Exchange network. This poses a major threat to the integrity and trustworthiness of the platform and its content.
The strike will continue until Stack Overflow retracts their policy “to a degree that addresses the concerns of the moderators, and allows moderators to effectively enforce established policies against AI-generated answers”
When Reddit first announced their new API pricing, we were told “it will remain free to developers who want to build apps and bots that help people use Reddit, as well as to researchers who wish to study Reddit for strictly academic or noncommercial purposes.”
So much for that.
Sparked by this great breakdown by Apollo developer, Christian Selig, showing the new pricing model would cost him $20 million a year with his current user base… Reddit users, mods, and entire subreddits are staging protests and threatening to leave the platform altogether when the changes take place. So far, Reddit employees have engaged in the conversation, but not changes to the new pricing plan have been announced.
Ever since Meta’s LLaMA saw the light of day, open source teams around the world have been hard at work, pushing the state of the art forward. The latest release in that effort comes from the Technology Innovation Institute in Abu Dhabi, UAE. It’s called Falcon and it’s topping Hugging Face’s LLM leaderboard.
It uses a modified Apache licence, meaning the models can be fine-tuned and used for commercial purposes, which means it’s the first open source LLM that extends beyond research limitations.
This is yet another exciting step forward. Can’t wait to see what happens next.
Let’s finish up today’s episode with an unpop roundup.
Every week on Go Time, the panel and their guests share opinions they believe will be unpopular with the listening audience. We take those opinions and conduct Very Scientific™ Twitter / Mastodon polls to see just how (un)popular they are. Here’s some recent results:
On episode 266, David Wickes laid out a conspiracy theory about singe-page apps. He surmises they were invented and popularized so large corporations like Google can track us. That was 53% popular on Twitter but 60% unpopular on Mastodon.
Also on episode 266, Carson Gross said he thinks too many tech decisions are driven by people’s “fear of looking dumb”. 94% of Twitter pollsters agreed and 91% agreed on Mastodon.
On episode 267, Carl Johnson claimed only barbarians eat salad with a fork. You should use chopsticks instead. This was highly unpopular with 88% disagreeing on Twitter and 84% on Mastodon. Despite this very bad opinion by Carl, it did prompt Johnny to give some very good advice: use chopsticks to eat cheetos while you’re coding.
On episode 271 Lea Anthony shared that he believes the best tool for the job isn’t always the best tool for the job. 95% of poll takers agree with him despite the statement being false as defined.
and last but not least unpopular, even though I think the premise is preposterous, Matthew Boyle said on episode 273 that we should be able to take our laptops with us to the movies. This was 65% unpopular on Twitter, 89% unpopular on Mastodon, and made Mat Ryer respond with…
That’s the news for now.
On Wednesday’s interview show we’re publishing our final ANTHOLOGY episode from this year’s Open Source Summit. And Friday on Changelog & Friends Homebrew lead maintainer Mike McQuaid joins us to discuss the just-announced Vision Pro headset, Vision OS, and all the interesting bits from Apple’s WWDC keynote.
Have a great, week, share Changelog News with a friend who might dig it, and I’ll talk to you again real soon.
Our transcripts are open source on GitHub. Improvements are welcome. 💚