ubermonkey 5 days ago

Well, this is far afield from the normal discussions here, but:

8 years ago, I had a pretty bad cycling crash and broke my hip -- which, if you're not aware, means I broke the "femoral neck", or the narrow bit of bone between the long part of the femur and the "ball" that goes into your pelvis.

Post-repair, my x-ray looked like this: http://i.imgur.com/gRqg50J.png

Anyway, with that much hardware in a repair, you're probably starting the clock on needing a full replacement. I think they were hoping for 10-15 years, but I got only 8 before joint pain and bone loss forced the issue.

Last Monday -- so, 15 days ago -- I went in at 5AM for a total hip replacement.

Which was done on an OUTPATIENT basis. I walked out of the hospital (with a walker, granted) on the new joint, and was at home in a lounge chair by 5PM. By the end of the week, I was off the walker entirely and using a cane. By day 9, I was routinely moving around the house without even the CANE, though I need it for any meaningful walk.

The main thing I'm supposed to be doing is walking. I could manage a half mile within a week. Last night I walked 1.2 miles at a 30% faster pace than my first half-mile walk. I should be shut of even the cane in another week or two.

To me, this kind of objectively major SKELETON EDIT being effectively banal from a medical POV is pretty surreal. I mean, it's not "put Luke in the bacta tank" surreal, but it's a whole lot closer to that I realized was realistic.

(Now: I'm completely willing to note that the ease I've had with this is tied to a number of factors, including probably first the fact that I live in a top-tier city for this kind of medical attention, and I have excellent health insurance. But still.)

  • jdmcnugent 5 days ago

    Orthopedic surgeon here. Outpatient total joint replacements have taken off like a rocket in the last few years, in part due to advances in due to pain control (pre operative peripheral nerve blocks, etc), accelerated physical therapy, and all around better management and prevention of all the common postop complaints (nausea, opioid induced constipation, etc), but I would say the number one driver has been that insurance companies (including Medicare) will finally pay for it to be done outpatient. 3 years ago you had to keep people in the hospital at least overnight to even get reimbursed. The same phenomenon has happened with many of the spine procedures that can now be done outpatient. The actual surgical techniques have not really changed much over the last few decades other than popularizing a few approaches (anterior vs posterior) or bearing surfaces (metal on polyethylene vs ceramic on polyethylene, etc).

    • ubermonkey 4 days ago

      That's really interesting. I would have assumed that it was the insurers providing at least some of the push for an outpatient process here in order to keep costs down, but that would've been pure speculation.

      I was under by 7am, and aware of enough to look at the clock on the wall in the recovery area by 1030 or so. Time is weird for a bit, but by 1230 I was in a room still a little dazed, but eating.

      At that point it was a checklist party. I had to see several specialty providers -- PT, OT, respiratory person for the incentive spirometer lesson -- plus eat, drink, walk and pee. As I had been a very compliant patient the night before, and had peed BEFORE the procedure, it was the last one that took the longest despite drinking a ton of water.

      It seemed clear there were several "offramps" that I could've needed that would have resulted in an overnight stay, like the postoperative nausea you mention, but I was fine.

  • skrbjc 5 days ago

    My brother had a shoulder surgery that he put off for many years. The doctor actually told him that he did the right thing because the type of surgery he needed has some such a long way in the last 10 years.

    It's great that we're still making so much progress in these areas.

    • flemhans 5 days ago

      How far behind is e.g. Europe compared to the U.S.? Do these innovations generally spread, or are they hindered by local regulations in each country?

      • capableweb 5 days ago

        Many of the worlds best hospitals are in Europe, in countries like Denmark, Germany, Sweden, France and Sweden. Just as one example, Charité in Berlin is world famous and have had "more than half of all German Nobel Prize winners in Physiology or Medicine" (https://www.charite.de/en/), just as one example.

        Granted, many of the best hospitals are indeed in the US, but I guess less people have access to the many great hospitals in the US (or can afford access rather) compared to hospitals in Europe.

      • feeela 5 days ago

        The main difference between Europe and the US on this point is health insurance (or the lack of in the US). Those technologies are available worldwide - it heavily depends on whether you can afford it or not.

      • iancmceachern 4 days ago

        Generally the US, Europe, and a few other countries like Japan, South Korea, etc. are all pretty comparable.

  • ornornor 4 days ago

    My father, although much older than you probably, has had that procedure done in a much smaller European city with pretty much the same experience. It was incredible that he could get out the hospital the sam me day and be walking pretty much right after.

    • ubermonkey 4 days ago

      What kills me is that it's recently become ENTIRELY PLAUSIBLE that I might not be much older than your dad.

      Hey, if you're lucky, it'll happen to you, too. :)

      (I'm 52.)

  • rolenthedeep 5 days ago

    I love telling people all about how I tore my biceps clean off the bone and a surgeon went in there and just screwed it back on.

    There's now a screw in my humerus that's holding my muscles together. Also got a sick scar and a story to gross out people at parties.

    Definitely wasn't worth $15k though.

  • ryanisnan 5 days ago

    This is incredible. I have heard that surgeons are effectively carpenters of the human body, which minimizes their skills I think a bit unfairly. This is technology at its finest. Congratulations on the speedy recovery!

    • capableweb 5 days ago

      Sounds to me that you are minimizing the skills of carpenters rather :) I meant that mostly in gist, but they are really essential, just like surgeons, only that the objects the manipulate happens to be different, and mistakes by surgeons tend to be more "costly" in terms of human life.

    • WheelsAtLarge 5 days ago

      "carpenters of the human body"

      I've seen a video of a knee replacement. And yes, it's very much like a carpenter working on a piece of wood. The hammering, the nailing, the sawing, it's all there. If someone was doing it to me, I would definitely be freaked out.

  • mensetmanusman 5 days ago

    That’s amazing. Decades ago you would be crippled for life after an event like that. Now you might be essentially back to functioning :)

    • ubermonkey 5 days ago

      The really amazing thing is that even 20 years ago, a return to full activity with no limitations was nearly a given after a THR. The improvements here are mostly in terms of how quickly that recovery happens.

      My mother, in her working life, was a physical therapist, but she's been retired for 25 years. In her career, the hip replacement was miraculous but required a serious hospital stay, and had a higher complication rate. Improved techniques and understandings about the recover process have made ENORMOUS differences since then.

  • kirubakaran 5 days ago


    > I live in a top-tier city for this kind of medical attention

    What city is that, if you don't mind?

    • ubermonkey 5 days ago


      We have shitty weather in the summer, and the landscape is so flat as to make pancakes look topographically interesting, but if you have cancer or need orthopedic surgery it's hard to find a better place to go.

      • fuzzfactor 4 days ago


        A place that has hospitals the size of skyscrapers.

        • ubermonkey 4 days ago

          Well, I mean, some of the hospitals ARE skyscrapers.

          Houston is weird because of its lack of zoning (well, it's weird for lots of reasons, but that's one of them). This contributed to the fact that there is no single "skyline" here.

          Certainly downtown has prominent towers, but there are also towers in the "Galleria Area", in the Greenway area, and of course in the Medical Center.

          However, my actual procedure was done in a fairly short (4 or 5 story) dedicated orthopedic facility not in any of those areas, but associated with Memorial Herman.

    • kragen 5 days ago

      maybe beijing, shanghai, zurich, minneapolis, or moscow

      • ubermonkey 5 days ago

        Assuming there is only one Kragen, I am amused but not surprised to see you here.

        • kragen 5 days ago

          i made a fb group for people named that; at the time most of them were from south africa, but i'm not

          nice to see you

  • drewbeck 5 days ago

    I've got a new hip in my future and I've been hearing more of these stories. Incredible, and incredibly relieving. Congrats on your new skelly!

    • ubermonkey 5 days ago

      The good news for you is that, assuming yours is an initial intervention and not a "revision" (ie, like mine, where they removed a repair and replaced it with an implant), you'll have an even EASIER time.

      My initial break was complex enough that they needed to incisions. One of them is kind of the front of my groin/pelvis, and that site got infected and required some intervention to heal. It healed ugly, with lots of scarring.

      NORMALLY, though, for a replacement that's exactly where they'd go in ("anterior approach"). My surgeon wisely demurred and opted for the older posterior entry, around the back of my left thigh and buttock, but that means a slightly more complex recovery with more restrictions for longer. Basically, if I bend too much a given way, or twist, or put too much load on it, I risk dislocating the implant, which would be VERY VERY BAD. Even so, the scar tissue & such presented too much of a risk of healing issues, infection, etc, so it's a trade we were okay with.

      You, though, will probably GET the anterior approach, which doesn't have this risk.

  • raydiatian 5 days ago

    SKELETON EDIT could be a sci fi novel name.

roughly 5 days ago

If you're not in the bio field, you may not be aware just how routine genetic modification has become. For the larger companies, projects can involve thousands of different iterations on DNA sequences, all of which are created, put in a cell, grown, sequenced, and analyzed. It's absolutely routine at this point - it's not a science or even engineering challenge project it's an operations project.

The one that really freaked me out, though, was learning about organoids - lab-grown clusters of organ cells used to research the effects of genetic disorders. Liver, kidney, and heart organoids are fine, but these are also used to study brain disorders, in which brain organoids - clusters of neurons - are grown from the stem cells of affected individuals. These clusters of neurons have been known to start firing and even display synchronized patterns...

  • twic 5 days ago

    I accidentally grew a heart organoid (of sorts) once. Dissected an embryonic chicken heart, cultured it to make "fibroblasts" (mesenchymal stem cells), forgot about them, left them in an incubator for week, and when i came back, the cells had proliferated and covered the dish in a sheet of cardiac muscle, which was beating irregularly.

    My takeaway is that cells absolutely love doing stuff. I don't mean to downplay organoid work, it's a huge achievement, but ultimately what it's about is giving cells a chance to do what they're programmed to do.

    • roughly 5 days ago

      > My takeaway is that cells absolutely love doing stuff. I don't mean to downplay organoid work, it's a huge achievement, but ultimately what it's about is giving cells a chance to do what they're programmed to do.

      What gets tricky is when you’re trying to program the cells to do something different, because they really, really want to do a whole lot of other stuff, and rarely does making your weird enzyme or chemical top that list.

      • irrational 5 days ago

        I am a stick.

        • alach11 5 days ago

          Is this a reference to The Way of Kings?

          • irrational 5 days ago

            Yes! Well, Stormlight Archive anyway.

    • _Wintermute 5 days ago

      A project I was involved in was using optical flow to quantify the beating of cardiomyocytes grown in culture. I've done plenty of tissue culture but watching sheets of cells actually beat at a reasonable heart rate was still pretty wild.

    • mattkrause 5 days ago

      Oscillations are also sort of a "freebie": if Thing A can temporarily inhibit the activity of Thing B and vice versa, activity will start pinging back and forth.

      It's certainly a neat step forward towards studying brain activity, but the idea that organoids are sitting there dreaming is a bit much.

      • eternityforest 5 days ago

        They can play pong. As far as I'm concerned that's already scary and raises ethical questions.

    • Teever 5 days ago

      how far away is this from a 'two guys with the same name fucking around in a garage' (Apple mythical origin story) sort of setting?

      Like when can I be a mad scientist making irregular beating sheets of chicken heart muscle in my basement?

      • nicd 5 days ago

        I think you could do that today? Incubating a cell culture is definitely possible. You can either purchase used lab equipment, or even build your own incubation chamber.

        I don't think OP's chicken heart experiment requires genetic tinkering, but even if it did, my understanding is that CRISPR is surprisingly accessible to hobbyists. For example, https://www.the-odin.com/diy-crispr-kit/.

      • twic 5 days ago

        You'd need:

        fresh fertilized chicken eggs

        lab gloves

        an egg incubator

        a dissecting microscope

        tissue culture dishes

        phosphate-buffered saline

        a pipette pump

        10 ml pipettes

        two pairs of dissecting tweezers

        70% ethanol solution


        lab gloves

        a steady hand

        tissue culture medium (DMEM is fine)

        fetal calf serum

        penicillin-streptomycin mix

        a micropipette

        micropipette tips

        a tissue culture incubator

        a tank of carbon dioxide

        ideally, a laminar flow cabinet, but reasonably careful technique and the pen/strep would probably see you through

        So, when? Depends if you have Prime really.

        The thing is, growing sheets of cells is not a big step towards doing anything interesting. You need to do chemical and genetic manipulation of the cells, and that's the hard part.

      • roughly 5 days ago

        There are a bunch of biohacker spaces around, and they’ll often run classes - small scale lab work isn’t actually that restrictive, cost or resource wise.

        Also, The Odin - https://www.the-odin.com/ - sells DIY kits and classes (and is just generally one of my favorite groups of weirdos)

  • tbenst 5 days ago

    As an experimental neuroscientist that has recorded fairly extensively from brain organoids, I would advise that these are HIGHLY underdeveloped cultures. When patch clamping, I had to depolarize neurons in a human brain organoid to -25mV to trigger action potentials (normally -60mV is sufficient; healthy neurons resting membrane potential is -70mV) Despite imaging organoids for hours with light sheet—a functional imaging technique that allows for observation of nearly all neurons in the organoid simultaneously, I did not observe any spontaneous action potentials, only diffusive waves of calcium activity.

    Of course, not all organoids are created equal, and the protocols around extracellular matrices are improving constantly, but for folks interested in systems neuroscience the organoid field is still too underdeveloped to ask interesting questions around functional activity.

    • iamwizard 5 days ago

      As someone who recently left the field of experimental neuroscience, anecdotes like this hit at why media coverage of neuroscience is so sensationalized and reductive: it takes a lot of nuance and background to convey the impact of any given finding.

      In a lot of cases being even slightly reductive of EXACTLY what was reported immediately destroys the meaning and context of a finding. It's a field that actively resists compression of information and is so heterogeneously interdisciplinary that having the correct context to interpret a finding even within the field is often difficult.

      • afpx 5 days ago

        Why did you leave the field? The compensation?

        • iamwizard 4 days ago

          That was certainly part of it. The structure of neuro academia meant that I would be stuck in a postdoc position for 3-10 years paying, likely, around the NIH minimum of around $55k. Which goes along with more responsibility and drastically less job security than a graduate student without any better chances of actually getting a faculty position.

          Combine that with the fact that I didn't have the drive or disposition that the field selects for and I was out of there immediately after I got my degree for a more lucrative, more interesting (to me) job with a better work-life balance.

  • raptor556 5 days ago

    If I were to restart my career, this is likely the field I'd pursue. I read The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee last year and just became enraptured in the possibilities.

    I'm wondering if there's anything I can contribute to that field as someone with general programming capabilities.

    • roughly 5 days ago

      > I'm wondering if there's anything I can contribute to that field as someone with general programming capabilities.

      Oh there Absolutely is!

      In general, there are four really high impact areas for computer folks - automation of lab equipment allows for scaling the number of experiments and the data that can be gathered by orders of magnitude; data science and engineering to sort, catalog, and investigate that data; building and scaling scientific computing systems to run analysis repeatably at scale; and even standard application building to manage and improve the overall process of tracking experiments and coordinating between groups.

      The scientists and bioinformatics folks are very good at what they do, but someone who really understands how to build, manage, and scale software systems is an enormous force multiplier. If you're interested in the field, I really strongly recommend it.

      • hassancf 5 days ago

        Glorified tech support for scientists? No thanks.

        • roughly 5 days ago

          That’s really not what the job is at this point. At least where I’ve been, there’s an understanding of the strengths of what compute systems and software can offer for accelerating the work that’s done and opening new avenues for experimentation and methods development - it’s very much a collaboration, not a one-sided tasking.

          That said, you don’t get to just go off and faff around with code - you do have users and they do know more about you about the problem space you’re working in, so you do have to spend some time to learn to understand what you’re building and the context you’re operating in, which is different from most other tech jobs. The failure case for most software/computer folks coming into bio is not recognizing the difference between biology and physics before building systems.

        • wruza 4 days ago

          Why? Do you have a bad experience?

      • markus_zhang 5 days ago

        If I want to do data engineering for such labs, how should I aporoach or even find such opportunities? I heard they hire graduate students for that in general.

    • epicureanideal 5 days ago

      Except somehow the required education is much higher and the pay is much worse than software, right?

      I’m personally surprised we don’t have 20x as many people working in biotech.

      • roughly 5 days ago

        There's sort of a running joke with how the market treats biotech as well - a bio company could announce they'd cured death and get a 5% bump in their stock price, whereas a tech company says the word "blockchain" and doubles their share price. As a software engineer, you can get pay into the ballpark of what you'd get elsewhere, but you should probably just ignore the "equity" section of that offer letter.

      • anarticle 5 days ago

        The marginal and capital costs of biotech are way higher than tech. It is absolutely fascinating however.

        In the research field (my old field) most things don't work!

        "If it always worked, it would be business. Let's go the pub." -- me to grad student after 12h of imaging cells that took months to grow up :)

      • mensetmanusman 5 days ago

        It’s because bioengineering does not yet result in huge capital outputs and productivity gains that other engineering fields enable abstractly.

        Once that happens and the existing underemployed bio-scientists are printing money through wealth/value creation, you will get your 20x.

      • volkk 5 days ago

        i imagine a big reason for this is that we don't have a silicon valley of biotech pumped with VC money. and presumably a big reason for that is there's all kinds of red tape when it comes to health and humans. no such thing as "disrupting" if you're going to violate some intense laws and then get arrested for it or get your labs shut down. or even worse, the potential resulting violence from fundamentalists surrounding your campus, or stalking employees. scary stuff

        • roughly 5 days ago

          Well, even getting past the human/medical side - one thing the computer/VC people miss coming into the field is Bio is both expensive and not amenable to the kinds of growth/pricing curves computers have been. It costs money to grow a cell strain in a tube, but to grow 100 cell strains, it costs… 100x as much. It takes 24 minutes for E.coli to reproduce, but in another couple years we’ll be able to get that down to… 24 minutes. There’s opportunities for improving the cost, reducing the spend on reagents (or finding better ones), reducing the number of strains required, that kind of thing, but the computer/internet/digital industry’s basically priced a Moore’s law curve in on everything, and that just doesn’t work in Bio. The capital costs are large and the time to iterate is really slow compared to digital.

        • TeMPOraL 5 days ago

          > no such thing as "disrupting" if you're going to violate some intense laws and then get arrested for it or get your labs shut down. or even worse, the potential resulting violence from fundamentalists surrounding your campus, or stalking employees. scary stuff

          Or, you know, actually "disrupt" something, like endocrine system of half a million people, or the entire global economy.

          For the past decade, "Uber for Biotech" was my go-to scary hypothetical to post in HN comments. I'm increasingly worried we may actually get one for real.

          (And to be absolutely clear: I'm fine with the biotech part itself. I'm worried about the consequences of using it to frack markets, SV-style.)

        • toss1 5 days ago

          Yup, Theranos attracted more than $700 million, was valued at $10 billion, and silently returned bogus test results for thousands of people. They weren't doing anything like altering people's DNA, immune systems, endocrine systems, etc.

          Yes the barriers and regulations are (rightly) much higher than just business or consumer software, but I fully expect that the VC money will be, and in fact is already moving there. VC is very herdlike, and it'll only take a few really hot biotech hits to open the floodgates. I'd predict 5-10 years away, maximum.

        • Balgair 5 days ago

          TBF, San Diego and Boston are the centers for Biotech. The issues you raise are the correct ones.

          • asielen 5 days ago

            Also Oyster Point in South San Francisco (north of Silicon Valley) is a massive biotech hub.

            In some way hubs are even more important in biotech than in software because of the massive startup cost.

    • schnitzelstoat 5 days ago

      I just finished that book, it was really good. I can't wait to read The Song of the Cell.

  • jareklupinski 5 days ago

    I agree, I think we're pretty early in harnessing bioengineering, compared to what we do internally literally without thinking about it.

    how far along is yeast mutation?

    I've fantasized about retiring to somewhere remote and starting a yeast radiation garden, to experiment with using those micro-machines to re-assemble matter for us

  • elamje 3 days ago

    In the past 6 months, I decided to leave traditional B2B SaaS completely and move to this space. I realize there is still amazing money to be made in traditional tech, but the more I read, research, and network in SynthBio/BioTech/TechBio I know this will be the most important field in our lifetime. From a mission and a financial perspective, I've never been more convicted about a space than this.

    I believe everyone that was distracted by easy money flowing into crypto and B2B SaaS the last couple of years is looking at generative AI (rightfully so!), but the real opportunity in in BioTech/TechBio. VC cycle likely to follow AI for the time-being, but I'm betting a full career pivot on BioTech. Please email me if you are exploring or excited about the space!

  • milesvp 5 days ago

    > These clusters of neurons have been known to start firing and even display synchronized patterns...

    This doesn't surprise me at all. Dr. Thomas DeMarse was training rat brain slurries (think brains thrown into a blender) to fly flight simulators in 2004. I've long suspected brain cells tend to self organize and in particular want to minimize change in inputs over time. (and yes this is a gross over simplification given that I know of at least a half dozen types of neurons).

    • iamwizard 5 days ago

      Neurons don't do a substantial amount of self-organizing without hormone gradients and other external factors to cause them to organize. It's unfortunately inherently difficult to generalize the function and organization of neurons since there are not only hundreds, or more, distinct classes, but each class has thousands of inputs and outputs to the local and distant network that almost all have an important impact on their function, and the generation of this network of inputs and outputs and what factors affect their operation, is highly dependent on the exact subclass of neuron in question.

      Mapping neural outputs of some small network to some operation is easy since all you're concerned with is the output, not the actual operation and organization of the network. Scientists could get macaques to play Pong using electrodes (like what Musk demonstrated with Neuralink) since, iirc, the 80s. This is also the exact reason that neural nets tell us nothing about the actual function of the brain.

  • tootie 5 days ago

    The phase 1 trials for the Moderna vaccine were ready within 3 months of the first case being recorded in Wuhan. And much of that time was still just bureaucracy and logistics. Sequencing of the viral genome was done in a matter of days and so was the conversion of the DNA sequence to an mRNA vaccine. Then it was months of safety and efficacy studies. If we can prove the long-term safety of the process in it's entirety, we could see vaccines be produced in days.


  • Balgair 5 days ago

    To add: anything to do with optogenetics.


    TLDR: Input the genes into a nerve cell and now you can fire the nerves with light pulses.

    • iamwizard 5 days ago

      The even crazier thing about opto is that it's old hat at this point. You can teach an attentive undergraduate lab assistant to do it and a sizeable portion of labs working with any animal short of a primate did or does use it to address questions.

      • Balgair 5 days ago

        Care to share the 'new hat' methods?

        • iamwizard 4 days ago

          Really depends on what kind of work you're doing. CRISPR, flexible high-density microelectrodes, scRNA-seq, etc. are all borderline magic compared to the average understanding of biology.

          I just remember being awed by opto around a decade ago and now it's just a tool that labs have. Which isn't to say there's not cutting edge opto.

lqet 5 days ago

ChatGPT. This is the only technology that truly freaked me out in my lifetime (I am 35). It competently explained to me the difference between Dijkstra's algorithm and A* in a psalm-like poem [0]. It was able to find misspelled words in a long text I just made up, list them in alphabetical order, and explain to me why I misspelled them. It correctly simulated a ChatGPT instance which was accessible via a HTTP API, and it correctly simulated a Linux machine on which this simulated remote ChatGPT-API was accessed via curl. It was able to give the responses in XML, JSON, CSV, and other formats, and it was able to simulate Linux tools like cut, grep, sort, awk, jq, sed and others. It was able to add an additional layer of a ChatGPT simulation without problems. It was able to do entity recognition in a long text I provided, and was able to list the entities in a table, with the correct wikipedia article and a summary of the article as columns. It was able to do rudimentary public transit route planning in my home town in Germany (in the form of: go the XY Station, trains will run every 15 minutes from there to the main station, from there you will have long distance lines to Z, etc.), with an apology that it does not have current schedule data for Germany and I should visit bahn.de for better results. When it failed for math questions, it was able to give me Wolfram Alpha queries to find the correct results. It was able to formulate complex SPARQL queries to query Wikidata, run these against the simulated ChatGPT instance via a curl request, grep out some results I wanted, and list them in tabular form with corresponding Wikipedia articles.

All of this in one session, as part of a pleasant conversation, basically indistinguishable from a conversation with a real human.


  > Could you explain the difference between A* and Dijkstra's algorithm in the style of a Psalm?

  < Sure, here is a Psalm-style explanation of the difference between A* and Dijkstra's algorithm:

  Hark, ye seekers of the shortest path,
  And listen well to what I say:
  There are two algorithms that ye may use,
  To guide ye on your way.

  Dijkstra's algorithm is a general one,
  That can be used in any case,
  It explores the graph from the source node,
  To find the path with the least amount of space.
  But A* is a more specialized tool,
  With a heuristic function to guide,
  It searches more efficiently,
  And helps ye reach the other side.
  So choose wisely, oh seekers of the path,
  And let these algorithms be your guide,
  For they will lead ye to your destination,
  And help ye avoid the pitfalls on the side.
  • Acutulus 5 days ago

    It's an incredibly striking piece of technology and really shows which way the future winds will likely be blowing. A particular exchange I had with it left a mark on me, in which I requested it to behave like a used car salesman attempting to close a deal with a hungry customer. It proceeded to repurpose idioms, make dad-jokes and sling double entendres about the shared joy of cars and hamburgers and how they both are simple, dependable and iconic in my way of life. I sat there for a minute reading over it, nearly in disbelief.

    I can accept a system such as ChatGPT synthesizing from data it sucked in, making educated guesses and so on. But to see it do such lingustic gymnastics with a very non-concrete request was humbling. It's given me a lot of pause about the way I absorb digital information and the varying degrees to which I have implicitly assumed the reliability of that information; site A slightly more trustworthy than site B, et cetera. To me, that old trust heuristic I relied on, one I have honed thanks to unfettered broadband for two decades, is now completely upended. It probably has been for some time to be fair, but my time with ChatGPT really cemented that feeling.

    Every freshly written statement that comes to me through an internet connected device now gets a side-eye by default.

    • raptor556 5 days ago

      I've been talking about this for awhile now, but I used to run a marketing service that streamed all reddit content in real time and did text analysis and bot detection. It's definitely a rough estimate but about ~65% of text content was determined to be a bot. I am entirely convinced that there are large entities (political campaigns, nations, etc.) that are using bot networks on social media sites like reddit to simulate "consensus" in online discussions and thus gently sway public opinion.

      • TeMPOraL 5 days ago

        > It's definitely a rough estimate but about ~65% of text content was determined to be a bot.

        A scary number. I wonder about a per-subreddit distribution, though. I imagine the primary subreddits have slightly worse human-to-bot ratio, niche subreddit somewhat better, with non-political, non-easily-monetizable subreddits having the best.

        Did your analysis also attempt to identify troll farms? Would the content produced by protein bots be grouped in the ~65% of bot content, or the remaining 35%?

        • a123b456c 5 days ago

          Ok how do we know you're not a bot?

          • friendlyHornet 5 days ago

            Dear fellow human,

            you have won cake. There will be a party in your honor

            Please lie on your stomach with your arms at your sides. A party associate will arrive shortly to collect you for your party.

      • HeyLaughingBoy 5 days ago

        > large entities (political campaigns, nations, etc.) that are using bot networks on social media sites

        I think this has been conventional wisdom for a few years now.

      • 93po 4 days ago

        It's wild how low quality so many of the comments are on reddit, to the point that it makes me wonder "Why did this person comment something so empty and non-contributing to a post that already had 3000 comments?"

        I don't know whether to believe people are so wasteful of their own time or whether this is just low-effort bot posting to build consensus. Combined with how harshly and instantly main subreddits like /r/politics and /r/news shadow ban accounts, it's basically impossible to dissent

      • anigbrowl 5 days ago

        Spot on. I am interested in any publications that might have come out of your research if you care to share.

      • SqueamOssi 5 days ago

        Yeah - I can't believe how much this HN discussion seems like a human generated thread.

    • alex_duf 5 days ago

      >I can accept a system such as ChatGPT synthesizing from data it sucked in, making educated guesses and so on

      On that note I find it interesting that this has sometimes been an argument to dismiss chatGPT as "non intelligent". What are we if not statistical machines, synthesizing from the data we've sucked in over our lifetime?

      • Acutulus 5 days ago

        I certainly can't see us humans as anything other than that. But if that's true, us human machines seem to have a large number of "low level programs" running in the background that serve to blur the boundary between us and the machines we build and help us to elevate ourselves to a special typing in the universe that very well may not exist.

        I feel I think too much about mundane things and sometimes about wondrously confusing things often to my detriment. And at least a few times a week I would swear I run into a person with the opposite problem. Their behavior, choices, preferences. Their thought processes (at least what they share with me) come off as closer to machine than human.

        Something in my gut tells me we are more similar to some of the things we build than we might care to admit.

      • WoodenChair 5 days ago

        > What are we if not statistical machines, synthesizing from the data we've sucked in over our lifetime?

        Reasoning machines who are actually pretty bad at statistics.

        • yakubin 5 days ago

          Reasoning and statistical machines who are actually pretty bad at both.

        • swagasaurus-rex 5 days ago

          We are heuristical which may not be logical, but it makes sense from an organism perspective.

          For example since the world is uncertain and chaotic we seek either to conserve or expend for future gains. This can explain many stock trading behavior, despite often being a non optimal viewpoint

  • kevstev 5 days ago

    Agree- so many are dismissing it because its not perfect, but this is an absolutely enormous leap from anything else I have seen in my lifetime, and this crosses the chasm IMHO between "AI is unlikely to really be able to have general applicability" to "AI is probably going to upend life as we know it in our lifetimes."

    Maybe it will just peter out at this level like self driving car technology did, but I really doubt it, and it seems to me that the building blocks are already there to commercialize this and use it in a real way. The future is going to be interesting...

    • CamperBob2 5 days ago

      Agree- so many are dismissing it because its not perfect

      In fact, I'd submit that phenomenon as its own entry in the Weirdest or Most Surreal Tech Trend contest. People who, when confronted with a talking dog, say things like, "This talking dog is an idiot. It thinks 429 is prime, its painting looks like something from Bob Ross on acid, and the C++ code it wrote for me is full of bugs. I don't see what all the hype is about."

      Some of this dismissiveness is just whistling past the graveyard, but much of it comes from people who genuinely think the human brain is something that operates by means of ethereal, ineffable, and unreproducible mystic forces.

      • kevstev 5 days ago

        I feel this way about self driving cars as well. Its like even 10 years ago, the capabilities they have today would be considered mind blowing, yet they receive so much hate because they aren't yet adapted to all situations. Its baffling to me, every time I watch a video of one I get all giddy and I am like we are living in the future! Yet even from tech circles, they get so much criticism because they aren't 100% there yet.

        Its just a mindset I don't understand. And on places like reddit there is definitely some astroturfing going on or at least some definite "camps" that don't like SDC technology, but on HN AFAICT its been genuine disdain. So weird.

        • daveguy 5 days ago

          I think most of the criticism with self driving is around the over-hyped under-delivered "full self driving" from Musk -- it actually seems to be getting worse compared to 5 years ago.

          Apparently Cruise and Waymo are doing much more impressive things, but they only get a fraction of the press.

          • benlivengood 5 days ago

            I'm curious how many people who criticize full self drive have actually ridden in the car while it navigates city streets. It makes about as many mistakes as a 1-3 years of practice new driver. I don't own a Tesla so I've ridden with friends. It's a barely noticeable difference between human and FSD operation, with very few overrides necessary.

          • chrisco255 5 days ago

            If they're doing more impressive things why is it not in production at scale, right now? Just earlier today there was a story of a Waymo car getting stuck in an intersection in SF. Those cars still need constant intervention and human assistance that's why.

            • daveguy 4 days ago

              The miles between intervention is known for Waymo and Cruise.

              Tesla refuses to publish this data.

              • 93po 4 days ago

                Waymo and Cruise have published their known operating areas. It's tiny and only during certain times of day (middle of the night).

                Tesla operates nearly everywhere. The scale of what's happening isn't even comparable.

                • daveguy 3 days ago

                  Estimates from users of FSD are ~5 miles between disengagements.


                  Even the best self reported areas are less than 100 miles between disengagement.

                  Waymo and Cruise are at around 30,000 miles between disengagement.

                  Tesla has released nothing.

                  • 93po 3 days ago

                    Tesla has FSD released on literally every car in the US that has purchased it. Hundreds of thousands of cars.

                    No one serious in the self driving space is using disengagements to pick winners or leaders on the path to commercialization. There is no standard about what qualifies as a disengagement and companies will interpret and report their disengagements differently. Those interpretations also change over time, making it even more difficult to actually understand how a company has progressed in its technology.

                    And again you're missing the point. Waymo/Cruise are operating in an extremely different and much more narrow context than Tesla's FSD. Let's go put Waymo on a random road in a random city and see how it fares compared to Tesla FSD. I guarantee it will be tremendously worse and no one who knows anything about the space would argue otherwise.

                    • daveguy 3 days ago

                      Hundreds of thousands of 5 mile jaunts.

                      Also, why is Tesla so adamant about how many accidents occured simply with FSD disabled? Shouldn't we know how long prior to the accident FSD was engaged? I mean, hitting the brakes in panic only technically makes it "not FSD".

                      I'd be happy if you showed me any reported data, self or Tesla, of 30k miles before disengagement with FSD. Even within one order of magnitude instead of two.

                      • 93po 2 days ago

                        Show me data of Waymo or Cruise doing 30k miles before disengagement in the 99% of the country where they don't operate. I guarantee their stats are worse anywhere outside their carefully chosen, extremely narrow operating areas.

                        • daveguy 2 days ago

                          If there was a single operating area that Tesla could do as well, they would be shouting it from the rooftops. They are not only silent. They are trying to argue to the state of California that they are not testing self driving capabilities past level 2. Have a great day.

                          Edit: one more thing ... https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nsb2XBAIWyA

                          • 93po 2 days ago

                            Telsa has no reason to hyper focus on a few square miles in some random city and only in the middle of the night. You too.

          • 93po 4 days ago

            > it actually seems to be getting worse compared to 5 years ago.

            You pretty clearly don't know what you're talking about.

            > Apparently Cruise and Waymo are doing much more impressive things, but they only get a fraction of the press.

            They are doing objectively much less impressive things by relying on sensors that require much less intelligent analysis and will lead them to dead ends at the higher end of abilities that Tesla's approach won't.

        • CamperBob2 5 days ago

          Agreed. However, in the detractors' defense, self-driving cars were hyped beyond all reason by people like Musk, so it's easy to justify some very vocal pushback.

          GPT wasn't hyped much at all, in comparison. It just appeared. The next couple of iterations will be interesting to watch, since right now we don't really know what the rate of improvement is going to be. We might be fighting Skynet next year, or we might be in for another 50-year-long AI winter.

      • muzani 5 days ago

        I consider it more like the golden calf that people worshipped while Moses was away. The Quranic version is it was made of gold, it made a sound, and so people idolized it.

        I think it's a good parable. It's something expensive and man made. Even though it's on average dumber than a typical human, people try to ascribe godliness to it. And so many judge whether it has achieved omniscience. For many of us, it's just a better tool, an IDE, but for some, it's an oracle or divination tool that they use to decide whether they should marry someone.

        I think the term "artificial intelligence" makes it even more confusing.

    • spaceman_2020 5 days ago

      ChatGPT is smart enough at the first prompt, but what really stands out - freakily, I might add - is how it can remember earlier data. You can go several levels deep and it will still reference the first answer and contextualize it properly.

      "Do X" is great. But "Now change X to Y in the style of Z" is what blows my mind.

      • kevstev 5 days ago

        Thats interesting. When I did play with it a bit, it wasn't clear to me if it was actually doing that, but in hindsight it definitely was and was not just a coincidence. When I first used ChatGPT, I had a dog that recently passed, and she had such a big personality (a mischievous always hungry hunting dog) and was just very different than my other dog (a pitbull mix that likes to guard things), and I had thought that the two of them would be a good basis for a children's book.

        I initially put in a prompt like "tell me a story about the hunting dog and the guard dog." and the results were pretty meh. I was interested to see if it was actually pulling in data from FB so I put her name in instead (she had an FB page yes). It did not seem to do much. So I put in some things like "the little hunting dog is always hungry." "the hunting dog is always looking to hunt" and then did a fuller prompt of "the hunting dog and the guard dog are going to the park. tell me a story about it" and finally got a very good fully fleshed out story about how the little dog was on the prowl for a squirrel while the guard dog watched out and it was really well written and made about as much sense as a fictional tale could. There was no awkwardness or other tells that would have made you think that this was written by anything other than a human.

        Anyway, that is huge that it can do this. I do remember when I used to play with other chatbots that remembering past context was something they were unable to do, at least not well, but in most cases it seems they didn't even attempt to. ChatGPT has blown me away in many ways, but this is a very specific leap forward.

        • spaceman_2020 5 days ago

          It usually always comes up with something very meh the first time around. You have to nudge it in the right direction.

          I was showing it off to my wife. I asked it to write a lecture for an intro to Latin American poetry with a focus on Pablo Neruda, including a background on Chilean history.

          The first result was just 5-6 paragraphs with the most rudimentary 101 on all the above topics.

          Then I told it to rewrite it as if the lecture was going to be given to grad students. Next, I told it to include examples of Neruda's poetry along with some analysis. I also asked it to flesh out the segment on Chilean history, with a focus on the independence movement.

          The final lecture was good enough that you could walk into a classroom of college seniors and deliver it without any edits. The first one might have been good enough for 9th graders at most.

      • 93po 4 days ago

        In my experience, ChatGPT was perfectly happy providing logic for a question that counteracted previous logic it provided. When I pointed out this conflict, it disagreed that it was in conflict when it clearly was.

    • sumtechguy 5 days ago

      One of them I used was supposed to be 'pick-a-path' style fantasy fight the dragon sort of thing. I decided to throw the A-Team into it. It integrated them in and even knew the correct names and their context of what each char tended to do. By far not perfect. But the fact it could do even 'kind of' that. Is very interesting. 'kind of' is for some things is perfectly fine. The generated art ones are very interesting too. It reminds me a lot of early emulation discussions. Where people were arguing unless you had cycle perfect emulation nothing would work. Turns out 'kind of' close works for like 95% of the cases. Some things did need that sort of detail. But most didnt.

    • jredwards 5 days ago

      I had the same reaction. It's the first time in my life where I've ever thought, "This is the beginning of an era. They'll give a name to this period of time." And yeah, maybe that's overselling it, but I had that thought.

      I've seen so many pieces of incredible technology struggle to find a use-case. By contrast, ChatGPT almost has too many use-cases to catalog, and while it's far from perfect, it seems obviously, to me, to be a tipping point of sorts.

    • ActorNightly 5 days ago

      >nd this crosses the chasm IMHO between "AI is unlikely to really be able to have general applicability" to "AI is probably going to upend life as we know it in our lifetimes."

      ChatGPT3 isn't really the definitive sign of the latter. Its just a stepping stone on the way. As soon as humans discovered differential calculus, that was the genesis to the eventual development of a general AI. Everything else along the way is an issue of optimization and spending raw compute time, whether its done by humans or machines.

    • ozim 5 days ago

      Many are dismissing it because it is just neural network. Which were basically at academic works since 80’s or earlier. It is only that now we have enough hardware and material for training neural nets that they start to be useful.

      • btilly 5 days ago

        There is a lot more than that.

        1. We've learned that relu is a really good function to use for neural networks.

        2. We've learned that regularization is essential to having large networks without overfitting.

        3. We've learned how to scale models up and down so that you can train something on a giant cluster then run it on your phone.

        4. We've learned how to apply this to lots of specific kinds of problems.

        etc, etc, etc.

        We do NOT simply do what we did in the 80s then throw more hardware at it. Instead we are getting better at making the hardware do something useful.

  • jvanderbot 5 days ago

    That's wrong. It's poetic, but incorrect. These tools are about as good as a non specialist with time to undertake some bullshitting.

    • lqet 5 days ago

      > These tools are about as good as a non specialist with time to undertake some bullshitting.

      Even if you are right, you still acknowledge that ChatGPT is on the level of a non-specialist bullshitting human you can have a meaningful conversation with. This alone would be enough to freak me out. If you would've told me that this is possible 10 years ago I would've called you crazy.

      • jvanderbot 5 days ago

        Subjectively incredible; objectively questionable.

      • throwaway675309 5 days ago

        I know a lot of people are vividly impressed by this but to me "writing in the style of" (Victorian sonnets, poems, hip hop lyrics) is the equivalent of transfer learning and feels more like a cheap parlor trick.

        While I wont deny that it has impressive summarization abilities in terms of making excellent Q&A if you're willing to vet the information, I wouldn't exactly say that chatGPT is capable of meaningful conversation. It has great powers of recollection but its capacitive powers to produce new interesting information feels highly formulaic.

        • hammyhavoc 5 days ago

          I laughed when I read someone call its output "meaningful".

    • soperj 5 days ago

      This is my exact problem with ChatGTP, it looks great when you don't know what it's talking about, but as soon as you do, it looks foolishly over-confident in it's answers which are very clearly wrong.

      • krsw 5 days ago

        Not much worse than a number of people I've talked with, to be honest.

        • twic 5 days ago

          Ha ha only serious - for me, the most profound thing about ChatGPT and friends is that they show how much of human behaviour is not actually intelligent in some deep sense.

          • CamperBob2 5 days ago

            Exactly. It doesn't just share our abilities, it shares our flaws, which is actually more interesting and more disturbing.

            It's not a crystal ball, it's a mirror.

          • iliane5 5 days ago

            The fact that a "dumb", generative model that is simply predicting the next token when given a prompt can talk so well, perform complex tasks and interact with humans in such a convincing manner is pretty fascinating.

            There is obviously more to human intelligence than text based conversation but it is pretty humbling that such an aspect of ourselves can be replicated and be so convincing at such an early stage and perform better than some humans even when it makes stuff up: toddlers can't talk, kids are smarter but don't have the technical knowledge, most adults only have a few specific areas of expertise, etc.

      • yen223 5 days ago

        This is my main problem with HN, funnily enough.

      • anigbrowl 5 days ago

        I don't like OpenAI's implementation defaults that much. But the thing is you can have a conversation with an LLM about bullshitting, explore the reasons why it's undesirable and inferior to sincere conversation, and then leverage those points of agreement to modify conversational behavior, at least within the scope of that conversation.

      • Keyframe 5 days ago

        which are very clearly wrong

        but not always; And that's what makes it scary. You know people will use it and trusting it.

      • jerry1979 5 days ago

        I believe the data gets trained by human rankers, and it should therefore regress to their mean. That said, if they train it to seek approval, I suppose we could teach it like any other student.

      • jredwards 5 days ago

        As long as you're armed with that information, though, it makes getting to an 80% solution (to many things) almost effortless.

    • krona 5 days ago

      I think it captured the essential difference between the two algorithms, i.e. the heuristic, so I don't understand how this is 'bullshit'.

      • joaogui1 5 days ago

        A* is more general than Dijkstra, as Dijkstra ia A* with the heuristic set to 0. Also it's not in the style of a psalm

    • kevinwang 5 days ago

      I agree that the output is often wrong despite looking right, but in this instance I don't see anything wrong in this example.

      • jvanderbot 5 days ago

        Dijkstra's cannot be used as generally as described. A-star can potentially be more general, but that's highly dependent on heuristic. Dinkstras is a-star with a "min weight on shortest path first" heuristic. Because a star doesn't expand shortest paths first necessarily, it cannot necessarily find the shortest path to any node except the prescribed endpoint. Dijkstra's will find all shortest paths with cost less than the path to the endpoint, and that's helpful sometimes.

        • lqet 5 days ago

          What is your definition of "general" here? The classic shortest path problem (which the psalm addresses) is described as finding the shortest path between two nodes, and given non-negative edge weights, Dijkstra's algorithm is perfectly general here. It will find such a shortest path in any graph, no further restrictions.

          For A*, everything depends on the heuristic, as you said. If h(v) = 0, A* is equivalent to Dijkstra's algorithm, so potentially, it can be as general. But the wrong heuristic (inadmissible, inconsistent) will lead to wrong results, and so calling it a "specialized" tool is correct. The heuristic gives you a specialized version of Dijkstra's algorithm which is faster on specific graphs.

          > Dinkstras is a-star with a "min weight on shortest path first" heuristic.

          I am not quite sure what you mean here. Dijkstra's algorithm is A* with no heuristic. I am not sure how a "shortest path first" heuristic would look like - do you mean that Dijkstra's algorithm chooses the node to expand next based on its shortest-path cost to the target t? Even if you would construct such a heuristic h(v) = c(v, t) by explicitly calculating c(v, t) each time, this is not what Dijkstra does, as it would basically be a perfect heuristic - you would then only visit nodes on the shortest path.

          If you meant that Dijkstra's algorithm is A* with a "neighboring node with shortest path from start node first" heuristic, that's also not strictly true, because expanding the nearest node first is already built-in to A*. A* does not chose the next node v with the smallest h(v), but with the smallest g(v) + h(v), where g(v) is the shortest path cost from the source node to v.

          • jvanderbot 5 days ago

            > Dijkstra's algorithm is a general one, That can be used in any case,

            I take issue with this statement. "any case" implies it's more general than A star, which is not true, it's a specialization of A star with (ok you win) h(v) set to nothing. It necessarily cannot solve as many problems as a star.

            And Dijkstra's won't work in "any case" at all, esp graphs with negative edge weights.

            The explanation struck me as glossing over too much, to the point of being misleading. Perhaps I'm being too pedantic, fine, but a more enlightened comparison would read more like our discussion than what was given.

            • twic 5 days ago

              > It necessarily cannot solve as many problems as a star.

              Could you give an example of a positive-weight shortest path problem with A* can solve, but Dijkstra's algorithm cannot? I do not believe there is such a thing. Or did you mean something else?

              > And Dijkstra's won't work in "any case" at all, esp graphs with negative edge weights.

              A* won't solve those either.

            • kragen 5 days ago

              i would rather say that a* is an optimization of dijkstra's algorithm

              they both solve the single-pair shortest-path problem in digraphs with nonnegative arc weights

              a* which explores nodes in a different, better order thank dijkstra's algorithm, but can only be applied in cases where you can compute an admissible heuristic

              that makes it less general than dijkstra's algorithm, which works to find shortest paths in any digraph with nonnegative arc weights, not just the ones where an admissible heuristic can be computed

              any problem you can solve with a* can be solved with dijkstra's algorithm (usually more slowly) but the converse is not true

              now, in a sense, a* with an inadmissible heuristic such as h(v)≡0 is 'more general' in the sense that it can emulate dijkstra's algorithm and also do other things; you could say that a* is a class of algorithms of which dijkstra's algorithm is one

            • endorphinbomber 5 days ago

              You realize it had the constraints of a poem, and needed to take some liberty with description there?

              • jvanderbot 5 days ago

                Sure sure. I'm being pedantic. But replacing two sentences would fix it.

        • kevinwang 5 days ago

          I actually think the robot's poetic take matches my thinking more closely than this description


          I guess in this description dijkstras is more specific, in that dijkstras is the specific instance of A* with a zero heuristic.

          But I think what HAL over here was saying is that you can use dijkstras in a superset of scenarios in which you can use (non-trivial) A*, so in that sense dijkstras is more general than A*, so it's not wrong.

      • JackFr 5 days ago

        > I don't see anything wrong in this example

        It's not in the style of a psalm.

        • kevinwang 4 days ago

          Ah, interesting. I didn't notice that. I have noticed that chatgpt is really impressive at doing rhyming poems/songs, and many of its generated poems sound similar to each other. I also don't remember raw gpt-3 being so good at poems.

          So I wonder if there was substantial fine-tuning for chatgpt specifically to reward it to generate poems, in a particular style.

          And here, it's "over indexing" on that and still generating poems in that familiar style

    • PebblesRox 5 days ago

      It's also not Psalm-like! The Psalms don't rhyme (even in the original Hebrew). What they do have is a parallel structure where each idea is repeated in slightly different words.

      This is just generic poetry with a sprinkling of "ye's."

    • vijayr02 5 days ago

      So perfectly suited for a management role? :)

      • mjhay 5 days ago

        I did read somewhere that in some tests, ChatGPT-generated MBA papers got better grades than average MBA students.

      • treis 5 days ago

        They blocked people from generating performance reviews so at least some were trying.

      • dennis_jeeves1 5 days ago

        Well suited for more most walks of life actually where BS reigns supreme :)

    • pxue 5 days ago

      "confidently wrong"

      That's chatgpt right now. To get it to confidently right will take years and years more

      • Rastonbury 5 days ago

        I saw dallE and GPT-2 demos and though 'oh pretty cool' about a year later we've got stable diffusion that can run on phones and ChatGPT which can remember context. I thought these things would be 3-5 years out or more. The speed of development is so quick, I think confidently right LLM is around the corner

        In less than a decade, I believe front line support chat support jobs and even graphic artist jobs will be made obselete

        • ilaksh 5 days ago

          The latest models, with the right setup, can already substitute for many (not all) tasks in knowledge jobs such as graphic design, support chat, even programming. I feel like we may be looking at less than 3 or 4 years for a lot of jobs to be mostly obsolete. Or at least, the traditional version of those jobs.

          It's already at the point where you start expecting any knowledge worker to be significantly more productive by leveraging these tools.

          It's hard to imagine that it will be more than five years before AI tools are available that can handle almost all tasks in these types of jobs.

          For example, on my website aidev.codes I just added preliminary knowledgebase support. It can reference the knowledgebase this to write code. I would say that with the code-davinci-002 model at least it seems about at the level of a junior software engineer already since it's pretty effective with close supervision by a senior peogrammer, except for the fact that it cannot interpret visual information.

          Knowledgebases/embedding search can also be used right now with these models for answering support questions. The only thing holding it back from very very wide scale adoption is the problem of making up information. There are already solutions in progress for this. It's unlikely that will take more than a few years to roll out and replace the current generation of models. Google and Microsoft will probably roll out their internet-scale chat search interfaces this year even if they can't fully mitigate the hallucination problem immediately.

          I would guess more like 2-3 years for many knowledge-based jobs. If you want employment/contracts you will need to be very good at leveraging AI, or people will just use the AIs instead.

        • causi 5 days ago

          In less than a decade, I believe front line support chat support jobs and even graphic artist jobs will be made obselete

          We can finally get the eighty hour long book-accurate Lord of the Rings adaptation we deserve.

          But seriously, I can't wait to feed a novel into one of these things and get a comic book version in return.

      • browningstreet 5 days ago

        The wall of content and interactive exchanges that will fill the internet from chatgpt generated things will become harder and harder to wade through or evade.

    • paulgb 5 days ago

      > These tools are about as good as a non specialist with time to undertake some bullshitting.

      You’re not wrong, but AI being passably good at bullshitting (while mostly keeping a rhyme/meter) is still mindblowing to me.

      • jvanderbot 5 days ago

        It's an amazing accomplishment technically, and that deserves to be emphasized, but it is still not producing reliable outputs.

        Subjectively incredible; objectively flawed.

        • rpdillon 5 days ago

          What does produce reliable outputs?

          • xeromal 5 days ago


            • rpdillon 5 days ago

              Humans, in my experience, have even more reasons to be flawed than the AI. Yes, the AI can be incorrect, but humans can be misled in what they believe the same way, and have the added problems of ego and misaligned incentives. Heck, in this very thread we have one human calling out another for being incorrect about whether or not an AI was correct. Locating sources of reliable truth is an unsolved problem AFAIK.

            • anigbrowl 5 days ago

              lol no. LLMs get things wrong, but they don't lose their shit when you point it out. I find it pleasant rather than frustrating to work on problems with one; the shortcoming for me as a sort of sort of conditioned passivity that arises out of its orientation to search its own knowledge for correct answers rather than asking questions.

    • HideousKojima 5 days ago

      Also psalms don't rhyme, even in the original Hebrew. Also even if it is supposed to be a poem with rhyme and meter, ChatGPT's poem doesn't have correct meter.

      • danielvf 5 days ago

        Agreeing with you. Psalms typically employ parallelism not rhyming. Two examples:

          The sun will not harm you by day,
              nor the moon by night.

          My life is consumed by anguish
            and my years by groaning;
          my strength fails because of my affliction,[b]
            and my bones grow weak.
      • magarnicle 5 days ago

        You have to tell it explicitly the correct number of syllables in a haiku, otherwise it gets it wrong.

    • TuringNYC 5 days ago

      >> That's wrong. It's poetic, but incorrect. These tools are about as good as a non specialist with time to undertake some bullshitting.

      Does it really matter when it comes to real life? Kids take medical advice from TikTok influencers. Half the country believes absurd news they see on Facebook. Half the country believes anything their president says.

    • CamperBob2 5 days ago

      Which if you haven't noticed is good enough to land a seat in the United States Congress.

    • mensetmanusman 5 days ago

      It is passing medical exams and will be used to help diagnose issues with similar reliability as humans.

      • tootie 5 days ago

        We've been down the AI diagnosis path before and even a purpose-built system failed to live up. I think that GPT, much like Tesla autopilot, is going to spend a very long time ironing out it's "last mile" before anyone will trust it. The tendency for AI to be spectacularly wrong when it fails to grasp context is still pretty prevalent.

        • markus_zhang 5 days ago

          Just curious is it a political issue (risky and who to sue) or a technical issue (ai has far worse judgement)?

          • tootie 5 days ago

            Mostly that it faired poorly against human doctors. Real-world medical data is too messy to feed into a machine.


            • markus_zhang 5 days ago

              Thanks! I wonder what is the most advanced automatic technique right now. I also think it's difficult to replace nurses -- even though basic nurse work is even easier comparing to a family doctor who needs to diagnose. I figure the reason is that to replace nurse we need a lot of automatic hardware, which needs a lot of investment, unlike ChatGPT which can really replace a service agent given enough training because it doesn't involve hardware.

              • tootie 5 days ago

                We have a lot. But it's really the same story that we see with software. The more sophisticated the software you grab off the shelf the more that's expected from a single worker. Modern doctor's offices are overloaded with gadgets. Most are using automatic blood pressure cuffs, digital pulse ox and all sorts of machines to test for things that used to be untestable. The need for nurses and techs to operate them all only increases.

      • nradov 5 days ago

        That can only be possible in a limited set of cases where the inputs necessary to make a diagnosis are all present in the patient chart. Human clinicians rely on other inputs to make most diagnoses including visually looking at the patient from multiple angles, asking them questions, manipulating and feeling the patient's body, listening (with or without stethoscope), and even smell. We are a long way from the robotics and sensor integration technology necessary to automate those steps in the diagnostic process.

    • kragen 5 days ago

      what's incorrect about it

      as far as i can tell it seems perfectly correct but admittedly my understanding of a* search is limited to messing with amit's visualizations of it

    • Der_Einzige 5 days ago

      Not even always poetic either

      Notice that it sometimes struggles to rhyme?

    • dennis_jeeves1 5 days ago

      'poetic': you have described it accurately. I fail to see what the hullabaloo is all about. Call me jaded.

      • hammyhavoc 5 days ago

        I'll call you refreshingly grounded.

  • agalunar 5 days ago

    Ought to be "to guide you on your way", "helps you reach the other side", "for they will lead you", "and help you", since "ye" is the plural nominative (not accusative).

    I grew up using archaic, Jamesian English regularly (in a religious community), so it always sounds wrong when people use them incorrectly while attempting to be old-timey, which is a bit distracting and ruins the effect.

    Apparently ChatGPT suffers from hypercorrection as much as any modern speaker.

    (The meter is also dreadful, which is another thing that I think many modern English speakers don't often do precisely.)

  • rsync 5 days ago

    RE: chatGPT ...

    There was an "ask HN" a week or so ago about knowing how your personal machine was or was not compromised ...

    I am imagining training a model on all of the PDFs and email and receipts and contracts that I have spent the last 30 years protecting ... and then exploding my home directory with 2M parallel copies.

    Now what ?

    Which is the real correspondence ? Which contracts are real ? Which invoices and receipts ?

    Could one construct a framework where all data at rest is worthless and only witnessed transactions and traffic have any surveillance value ?

    • dredmorbius 5 days ago

      Chaffing on steroids.

      On the other hand, note that you'd also need some way of distinguishing ... wheat from chaff ... for your own ability to track your correspondence, transactions, records, etc.

      Otherwise, that is an interesting idea, particularly in a world in which storage is cheap relative to the size of documents. We're rapidly approaching an era in which storage capacities sufficient to hold the entire Library of Congress collection of books (as text) on a residential PC or server will be highly viable.

      The larger problem is probably that your copy of that data isn't particularly important in most cases, it's what lies on others servers that's been generated by you / snarfed from your devices / activities. And that's far harder to chaff.

      Another issue would be that any generated content that raises / matches suspicions could, in a regime with poor civil liberties protections, simply become more ammunition used against you. The old Cardinal Richelieu "six lines" dictum, though in this case, not necessarily in your hand.

  • WastingMyTime89 5 days ago

    Yet it will happily tell you random non sense with utter certainty like that it takes twenty minutes to boil a whole chicken in the middle of a recipe or listing an incorrect number of children with fake names while writing a biography.

  • jonnycomputer 5 days ago

    A few months ago, I would have said Stable Diffusion, but ChatGPT wins, hands down.

    We're living in exponential times.

  • JackFr 5 days ago

    That's not even close to the style of a Psalm. It's still pretty cool though.

  • wnolens 5 days ago

    Until ChatGPT, the term "artificial intelligence" felt like a misnomer for any of the tech that came out in the last 10y (which seemed mostly like statistical techniques for solving specific optimization problems).

  • skyde 5 days ago

    For people familiar with how ChatGpT work, is there a youtube video or blog you recommend that explain how it work.

    I have a very good understanding of how deeplearning neural network work and language model like "Word2vec" that convert a sentence or a word to a vector space.

    But I completely fail to understand how Given an initial text as prompt, ChatGpt will produce text that continues the prompt.

    • skyde 5 days ago

      I cant believe it simply use self-attention to generate one word at a time. It got to be more complex than that.

  • nemo44x 5 days ago

    I agree, it’s amazing and it’s just the beginning. When this get numerous iterations of improvement and is distributed at scale and integrated with everything it will power the next technological leap forward. This to me is obvious.

  • Gordonjcp 5 days ago

    Which metre is that supposed to fit? I can't fit that around any psalm I can think of, most of which are 8/6/8/6 metre.

    • jvanderbot 5 days ago

      Shhhh. Just more bullshitting from the computer bullshit machine.

  • quanto 5 days ago

    could you provide some examples of your prompts leading to simulation of Linux within ChatGPT?

  • MiddleEndian 5 days ago

    I've spent far too much time antagonizing ChatGPT, it's good shit.

  • wprl 5 days ago

    I suppose this is nit picking, however that is not in the style of a Psalm.

7ewis 5 days ago

Maybe not weird or surreal enough for HN. But I am amazed by the stability and quality of videos from my drone.

It's just amazing that I could easily fly a kilometer away whilst having a live feed of the footage being streamed back to my controller.

I have a sub 250g drone, so it's so light yet easily able to withstand pretty strong winds and the videos look great on a big 4K TV afterwards!

  • googlryas 5 days ago

    It seems like every amateur or even personal production has these big beautiful sweeping aerial shots now, when 10 years ago it would be only available to medium size productions that could rent a commercial drone, and 20 years ago only available to large productions that could afford to rent a helicopter.

    • tempoponet 5 days ago

      The original "Planet Earth" was a showpiece for HD, but also these kinds of sweeping shots that people had rarely seen before. These were done with heavy cameras and complicated wire systems run through caves and forests. Today it seems almost pedestrian and quaint.

  • Dzugaru 5 days ago

    Absolutely this - I was completely blown away by the technology since it was a long long childhood dream for me (to fly or control something flying remotely).

    I've flown the thing off the top of the volcano (at 3000 meters), and in heavy wind and clouds and was amazed how stable it is, how easy you can fly one and the 4k video it generates is breathtaking.

    One thing I still want for this is to remove 500m ceiling and being able to pierce the clouds fast - not sure if this is possible anywhere since it's probably dangerous and illegal, but that would complete my childhood dream I think (short of actually learning to fly a real small plane or a glider).

  • wil421 5 days ago

    I do a lot of kayaking (not white water kayaking) and fishing off my kayak in lakes, rivers, and the ocean on calmer days.

    Does your style drone have any following features? Looking for something to fly around looking for fish and something that will follow me or do fly-bys when I’m doing something with the family.

    • 7ewis 5 days ago

      I have a DJI Mini 3 Pro, it has a feature called Active Track[0] where you highlight a subject on the screen and then select how you'd like it to follow you. It can go alongside you or behind you - can follow things like cars too. Despite the sensors, it can be a little scary getting it to follow you when there are trees or telephone lines nearby, but in a lake or the sea it should be great. There are safety features where if it loses connection to the controller it can hover in place, land or return to home (where it took off from).

      [0] - https://store.dji.com/guides/film-like-a-pro-with-activetrac...

    • WrtCdEvrydy 5 days ago

      Yeah, the DJI Mini 3 Pro is that drone... get the basic controller version.

      • saiya-jin 5 days ago

        in some form, this was present on DJI drones even 2 generations ago

    • xrayarx 5 days ago

      I thought about that too and they are all not watertight. There are Swellpros that are, but they are not hobby drones. And their specs are no match to current hobby drones.

    • Ftuuky 5 days ago

      Not OP but Skydio might have the drones you need?

      • jcims 5 days ago

        DJI is a juggernaut and i imagine will catch up, but when i last looked about a year ago Skydio autonomous tracking was dramatically better. It was the first thing that popped into mind when reading that question.

    • kerpotgh 5 days ago

      I think Skydio has the best autonomous follow feature I’ve seen so far.

  • joenot443 5 days ago

    Is now a good time to get into the hobby? I remember having an interest in college but it seemed so expensive and prohibitive. Have drones reached the same cost-value consumer sweet spot that 4K tv and e-bikes are recently enjoying?

    • buggy6257 5 days ago

      Go look up the DJI Mini 2. <700 for drone plus accessory kit. 4k video with 30min battery life all flown from your controller and phone. It’s mind blowing.

  • bilsbie 5 days ago

    Do you worry about losing it though?

    • 7ewis 5 days ago

      Yeah, I have insurance with 'Flyaway Coverage'. Still have to pay a fee and there's a limit to the number of claims you can make over a time period but it's a lot cheaper than buying a new drone.

  • mkurz 5 days ago

    Which drone do you have?

    • 7ewis 5 days ago

      It's a DJI Mini 3 Pro. Never had any experiences with other drones, so can't compare it to others - but I love it!

      The new DJI Mini 3 does look good too if you're on more of a budget.

tricky 5 days ago

Magnetic resonance focused high intensity ultrasound to open the blood-brain barrier in humans to deliver drugs directly to brain tissue - https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-12426-9

  • Static2280 5 days ago

    This is interesting to me because my mother has MS and it's _because_ the blood-brain barrier is too open that she has health issues. Surprising there's good reason to open it up.

    • tricky 5 days ago

      I learned about this from a talk given by one of the authors. The guy next to me asked, "If you open up the blood-brain barrier, doesn't that mean nasty things can cross, too?" and the author was like, "yep." There are definitely risks.

    • monknomo 4 days ago

      It's an interesting problem - I was reading about bipolar, which also (probably) has the issue of too open a blood-brain barrier. There is a theory that repairing the blood-brain barrier would help, but as drugs repair the barrier, it's harder to get drugs into the brain from the blood, which means the doses need to be higher, which means the side effects are worse.

      I could imagine a treatment protocol of opening the blood-brain barrier and then administering a low dose of a drug, or something along those lines

  • HorizonXP 5 days ago

    Hah, I worked in Kullervo's lab in the early 2010s. It is, indeed, surreal, what you can do with MR-guided focused ultrasound.

  • gnarcoregrizz 5 days ago

    I'm really hopeful about focused ultrasound for non-invasive treatment of various brain diseases.

jiggawatts 5 days ago

A hobbyist made a 2x2 angled LEGO brick with a computer and an OLED display embedded into it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wBrOV2FJM8

This is a mind blowing level of miniaturization, especially considering that this was assembled by someone at home with commercially available off-the-shelf parts! The fact that he used a cheap, readily available 3D printer to manufacture the jigs and mould parts is the icing on the cake.

When I grew up, computer monitors were heavy and had big vacuum tubes in them made out of thick glass. At the scale of a LEGO brick, it was already amazing having a single LED light instead of an incandescent light bulb!

A working computer!? With a display? Madness!

mtmail 5 days ago

Compost bin that requires a subscription. You send the compost via mail to a processing facility https://www.fastcompany.com/90834481/nests-co-founder-design...

  • smallerfish 5 days ago

    Wow - they raised $100 million. They're expecting people to pay $33/mo for the service, which includes the grinder/dehydrator bin, plus the cost of mailing the dense milled organics back to their processing facility.

    Figure that actual physical expenses cost $18/mo, leaving $15/mo profit per household; on top of that, they'll have extensive marketing costs - let's say marketing & employee costs take another $10/mo, leaving $5/mo profit per household. That means they'd need 1.6 million households to subscribe for a year just to get their investors their money back, or about 1% of the potential market.

    How did they possibly win over investors? If I could short this I would.

    • arcturus17 5 days ago

      > How did they possibly win over investors?

      Low interest rates have shifted massive amounts of capital to vc. We’re talking trillions possibly, including sovereign funds and ultrabillionaire family offices.

      Are those wealth and investment managers nuts? Maybe, but I’ve concluded the most likely explanation is that they know exactly how to play the vc game: place a number of wild bets and hope that one in a hundred pays off. They sometimes seem to barely do due diligence, perhaps for efficiency and speed in allocation, and because the vc portion of their otherwise well-diversified portfolio is tiny. You and I get to partake in the schadenfreude if these stupid ventures collapse but they’re wiping their tears with the returns they make on other asset classes - stocks back then, fixed income now, etc.

      If interest rates go back to the “old normal” for a sustained period of time then maybe this ends, but maybe the new normal is here to stay. We’ve been told there’d be a big cleanse of stupid or otherwise unprofitable ideas (can we really cram more SaaS solutions into every single niche under the sun?) but I’m seeing very little of the sort, other than layoffs and downsizings which are not thus far commensurate with the fireworks we were promised.

      • smallerfish 5 days ago

        It's true, but the raise _just happened_, which means there's still loose VC money out there. The narrative has been that there's been a transition to more conservative funding...apparently not in this case, at least.

        • peyton 5 days ago

          There’s usually a lag… raise might’ve happened >1 year ago.

      • michaelt 5 days ago

        > the most likely explanation is that they know exactly how to play the vc game: place a number of wild bets and hope that one in a hundred pays off.

        But isn't a key point of this theory of investing that you invest in many companies that have a 1% chance of making a 100x return - rather than investing in companies with a 0% chance?

        • arcturus17 5 days ago

          Paid composting collection sounds like a ridiculous idea but if for example they manage to become a standard and get monopolistic contracts like waste management companies, on a national level… there’s your moonshot. Here, have a hundred mill.

    • nstart 5 days ago

      There is the part where they expect to earn back from reselling the compost.

      > Mill has partnered with two processing facilities that purchase and turn all this dried food into a chicken feed ingredient, filtering out any errant forks or inorganic materials that accidentally get tossed in the bin.

      The bit about filtering out inorganic material seems a little too convenient to gloss over though.

      • eitland 5 days ago

        As a kid who grew up on a small (by Norwegian standards) dairy farm I remember it confused me that food waste couldn't be sold to farms.

        As a grown up, seeing all the stuff people put into food waste I can understand it.

        What I still can't understand though is how many people mistake food wrapping for food..!

        • rsync 5 days ago


          I am a compost consumer and I have no desire to plasticize my pastures and fields the same way we’ve filled the oceans with plastic.

          You can see this for yourself: just go to Home Depot and buy a bag of dirt … it’s not even micro plastics … whole objects like ballpoint pens and so on.

          • another2another 4 days ago

            People used to throw their teabags in the compost, but now it seems that they've started adding a plastic mesh around some teabags (to increase the strength I guess?) so now it's basically a micro-plastics bomb.

        • yourapostasy 5 days ago

          > ...how many people mistake food wrapping for food..!

          It isn't mistaking, it is not prioritizing the cognitive load for the separation effort. When I was in Japan, I was impressed with the level of fastidious compliance I witnessed in materials separation. That convinced me the talk in the US about how mainstream households could not possibly support a comprehensive cradle-to-cradle materials handling infrastructure are really talking about culture and/or necessity and not logistics.

          • rsync 5 days ago

            "... I was impressed with the level of fastidious compliance ..."

            Diversity is neither bad nor good - it just has benefits and costs.

            You witnessed one of the costs.

            On the other hand, we invented jazz and snowboarding. Those are examples of benefits.

            I prefer the diversity.

            • SirSavary 5 days ago

              Japan, a country famously known for lacking innovation?

    • hedora 5 days ago

      I'd pay $100-200 for the trash can thing. There is a company making a smaller one, with the idea that you toss the output into your own compost pile. It cuts down on odor, rodents and time to compost completion.

      What happens to the trash can if I stop paying the subscription fee?

      (Fast forward a few years, and someone will rewrite the above as a postmortem.)

      • sh1mmer 5 days ago

        We have a Vitamix Foodcycler [1] we got on sale. It works well but the cycles take a while and it doesn’t process that much at once. Honestly we just went back to using a counter top bucket and then putting it in our municipal food waste bin.

        Austin turn all that stuff into compost, and then give it away to the community (just turn up with bags) and I assume use on city run parks and so on.

        [1] https://www.vitamix.com/us/en_us/shop/foodcycler-fc-50

      • soperj 5 days ago

        Honestly if you have a big enough pile, just bury the waste in the compost. Or get a Green Cone Solar Digester, I've literally put hunks of meat & coconut husks and it just disappears, no rodents, no smell. I was putting buckets of compost in there every week and it would just melt into the earth.

      • twosdai 5 days ago

        I used a local version of this type of product in a city I used to live in.

        Main positive is as you mentioned, food waste smell is gone, and no rodents/animals in the trash either inside or outside.

    • swamp40 5 days ago

      > How did they possibly win over investors?

      Matt Rogers cofounded Nest. People will throw money at that without asking any questions. Winners often win twice.

      Plus the hardware grinder/dehydrator could be used in either your own garden or picked up weekly/monthly and sold locally.

      Plus it's Green and it actually makes sense to try and capture that waste. Something individuals can do to make a difference.

      I agree $33/mo and a mail-back service is never going to get their $100M back.

    • rcme 5 days ago

      I paid around that much to have my compost picked up from my apartment weekly. They would drop off a reuseable bucket for the upcoming week and pick up the bucket from the previous week.

      • Thrymr 5 days ago

        It's a reasonable local business for a waste disposal company. How is a VC funded company expecting "tech-like" returns?

    • elil17 5 days ago

      How did you figure those numbers? They don't seem related to any of the content in the article or any other content I can find about them online.

    • gwbas1c 5 days ago

      Makes me wonder if they're just iterating until they find a business, or trying to have some cashflow while they develop some IP.

    • kragen 5 days ago

      a grinder/dehydrator for organic household garbage would be pretty useful without the service, because desiccated organic garbage won't rot and stink; you can dispose of it at your leisure thereafter, whether by composting, burning, feeding to chickens, or just dumping

  • lm28469 5 days ago

    Sometimes (often these days) i can't tell if these things are parodies or real products. It reminds me of Juicero: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juicero

    In Europe many countries have specific trash bins for food waste, they're collected by the city and reused for compost and biogas. No subscriptions, no investors, no soon to be e-waste wifi and bluetooth connected trash can, no shipping dirt in box

    • jcims 5 days ago

      AVE did a great teardown of one a couple years ago, impressive machine with a stupid purpose.

    • barbazoo 5 days ago

      Some of their assumptions seem to be very much US based where "green bins" for garden and food waste might not be a thing? I don't know but where I live in Canada, contents of the green bin definitely don't end up in the landfill like they say. So it's not even a problem that needs solving in many other places.

      • rubylark 5 days ago

        In the US, it depends on the waste services provider, city, and county. I've had garbage companies that offer compost and yard waste services and some not. Sometimes it's provided through the city or county for free or for a fee, though not everywhere

    • HideousKojima 5 days ago

      In the US too, plenty of cities (even small ones) offer compost collection as part of standard trash and recycling collection.

  • huslage 5 days ago

    We should not be mailing compost around...that sort of defeats one of the purposes. There are local composting companies/orgs in most major metropolitan areas. Mine is Compost Now.

  • O__________O 5 days ago

    It would be interesting to see an environmental impact analysis of use of mail vs a compost cycle that’s does not use mail. Find it hard to believe they’re reusing the labels, boxes, plastic wrapping, etc too.

    • Majestic121 5 days ago

      I think the impact analysis should be between a compost cycle that uses mail vs no compost cycle, because I would imagine that the alternative to this is just throwing food in the trash for most people

      • barbazoo 5 days ago

        Blows my mind that that's a thing. If it's urban, how is there no compost bin system. If it's rural, just have a compost bin outside. It's like people don't know how to live anymore with every part of their lives being handled by some shitty subscription service. Food, waste, what's next, a box you can ship your poop in that's 39 bucks a year?!

        • Majestic121 5 days ago

          I'm not really defending the service, and I think it will fail because it looks like a logistical nightmare and I don't understand why people would pay 30 bucks for this, but if it was free it could be somewhat convenient.

          Especially in an urban setting if you don't have a compost bin in your building : it's not as ubiquitous as you seem to think.

      • O__________O 5 days ago

        Possibly, though there are plenty of high-density urban areas that require separating compost materials and pick it up with trash, recycling, yard waste, etc. — so to me that would seem like a better comparison; or just compare all options.

  • dtx1 5 days ago

    Here in Germany we have to split our garbage and one "bucket" so to speak is compostable and gets taken by the regular garbage trucks and I assume is composted in large facilities. That seems like a more reasonable approach because it scales to a whole city doing it

    • coldpie 5 days ago

      Here in Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA, they are planning to ship compostable plastic bags to homes, which you can use to put organics into the normal metal/paper/plastic recycling stream. Those bags get picked out at the recycling center and used for compost to sell to local farms/etc and (hopefully) at least pay for the program, and maybe even bring in some extra funds. No extra cost to users or hassle mailing packages of garbage (lol).

      • adrianmonk 5 days ago

        > compostable plastic bags ... normal metal/paper/plastic recycling stream

        That's really clever since it avoids needing to have separate trucks.

        Will they also accept leaves and yard trimmings? These are much larger in volume, so I'm not sure if they could be handled, but maybe with large bags it's fine.

        > sell to local farms/etc

        My city sells to farms and also sells it in bags at retail stores. It's meets standards that are supposed to make it safe to use in your backyard garden.

        Also, since it costs money to put stuff in a landfill, and since this diverts from the landfill, it saves a bit of money that way too.

        (Further info: https://www.austintexas.gov/department/dillo-dirt)

      • tunapizza 5 days ago

        Same here — I live in Eastern Canada and my municipality is rolling out a program where you'll put compostables in a separate bag, but the sorting is done by the trashman.

    • throw_pm23 5 days ago

      And then the yellow bags for plastic, which they take to SE Asia on the otherwise empty container-ships, so that it gets dumped on a beach or into a river, while Germany fills its quota for recycling.

      Sorry for the cynicism, this was the case a few years ago, maybe not anymore?

      • super256 5 days ago

        > this was the case a few years ago, maybe not anymore?

        I'm not sure what happens with the plastic in SE Asia, but we still send most of our plastic there.


        • hannob 5 days ago


          This statistic is listing the share of exported plastics that are exported to certain countries. But that's not "most of our plastic", because overall exports are around ~10%. So "most of our plastic" is either recycled or burned within Germany. (Not saying any of this is ideal, but it's not helping to spread false information.)

          • super256 5 days ago

            I apologize. I chose poor wording to the point where my sentence it is becoming untrue.

            I meant something like: “The majority of plastic we export to other countries is still being exported to SE Asia”.

      • martin_a 5 days ago

        As the other comment said, it's more likely that they get burned.

        I think it happened that due to waste reduction, "normal" garbage is sometimes not enough to keep the furnaces running, so they take recyclable material from the yellow bags and burn it, to keep the temperatures stable...

      • blueflow 5 days ago

        Majority of it is burned, as always.

      • dtx1 5 days ago

        I don't see what you are trying to say here? That we shouldn't even try to recycle anymore because some garbage gets shipped to SE Asia?

        • throw_pm23 5 days ago

          Which is better for the environment, taking it a few kilometers outside of Berlin and burying it in a landfill that is properly insulated and managed, or shipping it across to world and dropping it on a beach in Thailand where turtles and birds get tangled into it?

          The first is what happens with your regular garbage, the second is what happens (with some fraction) of the "recycled" yellow bag plastic.

          I was not trying to say anything particular, just how "recycling" has become a form of gaslighting to avoid the tough question of how to produce less garbage in the first place.

      • nicoburns 5 days ago

        This definitely happens for plastic. But food waste does tend to actually get composted.

  • klntsky 5 days ago

    We should normalize having chickens in the office.

    • red-iron-pine 5 days ago

      No. Have you ever raised chickens, or cleaned out a coop?

      • klntsky 5 days ago

        FAANG companies probably have enough money for additional space and employees to look after the chickens

      • aj_icracked 5 days ago

        Ha! I actually run a company that does Coop cleaning, babysitting, coop set up, day old chick delivery, etc. We're launching the world's best Coop in 45 days, stay tuned :)

        • tlavoie 5 days ago

          Curious about the "world's best coop" part. What does this mean? (Asking as someone with chickens, and some old coops now.)

          • aj_icracked 5 days ago

            We're building a product at the intersection of smart home tech (think cameras with computer vision for predators, alerts, etc), light robotics (automatic doors), and services (think press a button and a person shows up to clean the coop, etc). We did this small news article a few months ago that shows what we're doing if interested https://www.kxan.com/news/local/austin/chicken-coop-sitting-...

            • tlavoie 4 days ago

              Ah, cool thanks!

              I think I mostly need to rebuild with better structural design, better access for me and so on. A lot of the AI applications are taken care of here by 25Kg of motivated canine intelligence.

        • adrianmonk 5 days ago

          Although it sounds funny, this is actually kind of a serious question: are you concerned about an egg bubble?

          • aj_icracked 5 days ago

            Not at all, I assume egg prices will normalize in a few months / quarters to previous consumer costs - call it $1.50-$2 a dozen. It's super odd though that we're launching a company that allows anyone with a backyard to raise chickens / get eggs. For a lot of people, eggs are a bonus byproduct of raising them. A lot of people get joy from it, reduce nearly all their food waste, fertilize their yard, teach kids on taking care of them, they'll take care of you, etc. :)

    • ok_dad 5 days ago

      I have chickens roaming wild outside my office window, and I assure you that meetings are not much fun with "BOK BOK BOK..." resonating constantly through the mic. They are so f-ing loud.

    • adrianmonk 5 days ago

      I don't think this is very practical. It would cause too many communication issues in the agile process.

      • klntsky 5 days ago

        The chickens are agile enough to lay eggs on their own

  • spaceman_2020 5 days ago

    Things like this make me realize how poor the rest of the world is, and how wealthy America is.

  • quickthrower2 5 days ago

    Have I got this right?

    I pay $0/m, I chuck my food scraps in the garbage.


    I pay $33/m, I fart around with some device in my kitchen, then send them by post to some company and get nothing in return.

    And from an environment point of view, it is a device that needs high energy to produce.

    I actually compost. It cost say $33 one off for the bin, which sits on soil, and can take probably couple years worth of waste. I am not in an appartment, but surely the solution there is a compost on common outdoor or rooftop area, where the cost is lower because it can be shared.

    • jaclaz 4 days ago

      >I pay $33/m, I fart around with some device in my kitchen, then send them by post to some company and get nothing in return.

      I think you also pay for the electricity the device uses, and for replacement filters. No idea what happens in case of issues (need of repair/replacement parts/etc.), i.e. if it is included in the subscription or if it malfunctions it is on you.

  • TheAlchemist 4 days ago

    This seem beyond dumb !

    That being said, having a real compost in the garden is quite mind blowing. Every time I go there to throw the peels of vegetables and fruits I think - damn, almost full. Then, somehow, the worms keep eating it and the next time it's still at the same level. Nature is pretty smart after all.

swamp40 5 days ago

All cell networks can contain memories, not just neurons.

Plant and animal body shapes (morphology) are determined from memories stored as voltage gradients) inside cells, not from the DNA. Just like neurons are good at allowing the body to navigate in 3D space (our world), other cell networks are good at creating 3D shapes (leaves, fingers, legs, livers, etc.)

You can decouple them, provide your own voltage gradients and get new body shapes using the same DNA.

https://www.xenobot.group/ https://www.drmichaellevin.org/ https://twitter.com/Kriegmerica

  • twic 5 days ago

    This is a wild misstatement of what is going on. Morphogenesis is primarily governed by chemical interactions between proteins, on cell surfaces and secreted into intercellular space, as has been studied for decades:


    And the proteins, and the maps and schedules for their production, and the machinery which gives them effect, are all encoded in the DNA.

    I haven't actually followed Levin's recent work, so i don't know if he's going round actively misleading people about this, or if people are hearing about his work and assuming that's the whole story. To be honest, from what i've heard, he seems like a crank.

    • bglazer 5 days ago

      I don’t think Levin is a crank. He went on Lex Fridman’s podcast and talked about his bioelectricity work and morphogenesis. Like you said, I think people who don’t know much about development took that to be the whole story, when in reality it’s just one academic doing what academics do best: talk about their own work.

      Edit: one small quibble with your comment is that it’s too reductive to say that morphogenesis is all encoded in the DNA. It’s really an emergent property of the whole system. Like DNA is only a few billion base pairs, which is not nearly enough to store the precise positions of every cell, much less every protein.

      • twic 5 days ago

        Thanks, this makes sense.

        I think my reduction and your quibble is really a matter of semantics. It's true that the genome doesn't contain explicit coordinates for every feature of every cell. But at the same time, if you start with the same DNA, you get the same morphogenesis, and if you start with different DNA, you get different morphogenesis, so i would say the morphogenesis is very much encoded in the DNA. It's just that it's in a highly compressed representation, and the decompression machinery includes the laws of physics!

        • bglazer 5 days ago

          Yeah sounds like we are both expressing the same idea.

          I’m usually pretty touchy about software analogies for biology but “decompression machinery includes the laws of physics” is a good way to frame it.

        • swamp40 5 days ago

          > if you start with the same DNA, you get the same morphogenesis

          Then how do you explain their creation of xenobots using only frog DNA?

          That was the whole point of the experiment - to disprove your statement.


          • twic 5 days ago

            Okay, same DNA in the same context then. That experiment doesn't disprove it in the slightest. Indeed, the fact that the experiment is repeatable confirms it.

  • abledon 5 days ago

    This is related to the electricity guiding embryo formation of a frog, discovered back in 2011? https://now.tufts.edu/2011/07/18/face-frog-time-lapse-video-...

    • swamp40 5 days ago

      Yes, you can literally see the pattern of the face. And change it. Can you imagine the next 50 years?

      • abledon 5 days ago

        I bet that this upcoming century will have advances in this field that will validate some of what the ancient monks had going with their concepts of "Chi" in China and "Prana" in India. Their "Energetic Life Force Residing in each cell"

agumonkey 5 days ago

not sure if it qualifies as technology:

- nicolas schabanel team works on molecular DNA programming, they had game of life capable structures made of DNA tiles. The mentioned being capable of transpiling tiny lambda calculus expressions but were stuck (this was in 2013~) due to thermal degradation on long programs. His courses are on dailymotion.

- michael levin morphogenesis / developmental biology research: dude revived 50s~ ideas with gap junctions and cell levels "information processing" .. he ended up regrowing a second head on a larva after reprogramming cell messaging to alter the natural regeneration process. He was in a lot of interviews/podcasts in the last months.

  • dennis_jeeves1 5 days ago

    Michael levin's work is indeed outstanding.

  • HideousKojima 5 days ago

    It definitely comes straight out of sci-fi at least. In the original Deus Ex, I think when you first break into the Versalife offices in Hong Kong, you can overhear an employee talking about their universal constructors (basically 3d printers that work at the atomic level). The employee mentions one of his friends created Conway's Game of Life with buckyballs.

    Edit: nevermind it's a Versalife employee at a nearby bar/club, not in the offices themselves.

  • jcims 5 days ago

    I truly feel there’s going to be some kind of industrial revolution with DNA or derivative based manufacturing.

    • agumonkey 5 days ago

      A lot of trends are showing nanotech reaching mainstream. Just two days ago there was a veritasium video about gecko skin like thin film that could hold smooth objects passively.

    • v8xi 5 days ago

      Its just getting revved up :)

  • leesec 5 days ago

    Seconding Michael Levin, that guy is doing some incredible stuff

    • agumonkey 5 days ago

      It made me feel something very very new, a blend of infinite "power" at reach and at the same time something that could really break sanity and ethics forever.

Ftuuky 5 days ago

Seeing a dude grow human neurons directly connected to a computer chip to make a "human AI", all from his garage [0]. It showed me what is possible with science these days if you have enough dedication and know-how. Made me feel deeply excited and scared for the incoming future.

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2YDApNRK3g

  • greggsy 5 days ago

    The thought of clandestine modding labs and neural implants brings to mind a future similar to Ghost in the Shell.

    • agent281 5 days ago

      At this point I feel like people must also be trying to modify their DNA in secret. I wonder if we'll hear some horror stories in the next few years.

      • nuphonenuacc 5 days ago

        Search for lactose intolerance in the linked channel. Not completely secret.

        • Ftuuky 5 days ago

          Was going to say that.

          He "cured"(?) his lactose intolerance with CRISPR tech (for a few months but still very impressive).

        • agent281 4 days ago

          Kind of proves my point: what percentage of practitioners are content creators in most fields? How many more people might be doing this out of sight?

          That said, thanks for pointing the video out. I watched the update video and it's pretty incredible.

  • guerrilla 5 days ago

    Oh yeah this one... This really disturbs me. I can't shake the feeling that it might be conscious somehow; trapped, enslaved and tortured like some kind of Black Mirror episode.

    • barbazoo 5 days ago

      Probably not a lot. Babies when they're born have billions of neurons but believe me, there isn't much going on yet :)

      • guerrilla 5 days ago

        No, I don't believe you at all. If you hurt the baby, it suffers. Inability of most people to remember those times, doesn't make that not the case.

        • wruza 4 days ago

          It signals danger and performs a mechanical avoidance procedure. You react to it by feeling a protective emotion.

          To know if it suffers, first you have to understand what suffering is, in scientific terms, and make sure you detach your builtin empathy from an actual process, because it’s only yours own.

          • guerrilla 4 days ago

            We literally have shittons of scientific research on exactly that. Not only that but many people can remember being babies.

      • jaywalk 5 days ago

        What a deeply disturbing comment.

        • barbazoo 5 days ago

          What's "deeply disturbing" about that? I just meant that cognitively there isn't much going on yet.

      • heywherelogingo 5 days ago

        "believe me" - he could well have been a baby himself.

    • jcims 5 days ago

      This is why I give that engineer at Google a lot of slack for his concerns that Lambda was conscious.

      There’s a bit of an imperative, in my opinion, to over-index on that concern, because we could be building and torturing things for decades because people are afraid of losing their jobs.

      • guerrilla 5 days ago

        Fair enough, it does make sense to have a higher tolerance for false positives than false negatives in this domain. I think that's a hard thing for people to accept though since so far it's been very obvious the objects and systems we interact with have not been conscious (except to pansychists of course.) It might be good to get practice in and build the habit early though, even if we don't think these current systems are conscious.

        • jcims 5 days ago

          Exactly. In the instance it doesn't seem warranted at all, but at some point we will have to accept 'whistleblower' type accounts of the same nature with a bit less excoriation.

          • antipotoad 5 days ago

            Also in a subsequent interview with the Google engineer [1], it comes out that the sentience claim was a bit of an attention grab, but with the reasonable purpose of airing the topic of AI ethics, and how machine learning is running way ahead of our thinking on its consequences.

            [1]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgCUn4fQTsc

            • jcims 5 days ago

              Oh wow, thank you! I hadn’t seen that one.

  • jcims 5 days ago

    One of the few YouTube channels that i can identify by the experiment alone.

wojciii 5 days ago

Currently there's an intense war in which drone tech is being used in ways that I didn't imagine possible.

I think that this technology will evolve rapidly based on what I have seen so far:

- drone picking a dropped radio

- the usual fire correction of

- race drones with explosives

- dropping ordinance from 3d printed attachments

- machine gun drone (prototype)

The above are just off the shelf drones modified or built from scratch racing drones.

The military drones used (that I have seen video of) are both expensive and give a large explosion) but not very creatively designed.

It's just a question of time before autonomous systems will be able clear up a trench by dropping smaller drones which only kill humans. The technology to detect specific range of temperaturs generated by our skin is already available and used in alarms.

pkalinowski 5 days ago

Unreal Keanu: https://www.youtube.com/shorts/FeHzQizPDNg

people in the comments have no idea it's a deepfake. Without knowing beforehand, I wouldn't recognize it too.

  • smt88 5 days ago

    Looks completely fake to me. The face moves very unnaturally and doesn't even stick to the body properly. It looks like a super realistic mask (meaning it has many of the same problems a mask has).

  • qwertox 5 days ago

    I was about to downvote you until I read your comment after watching the video.

    This video leads me to believe that there will soon be a time when popular people will just pick some pre-made advertisements. No need to go and film it since that has already been done without that person. We'll then accept deep fakes as a valid marketing strategy (or whatever purpose may come up), until some protests require them to be watermarked.

    • hannes0 5 days ago

      It will never be watermarked. Photoshop edits also are not labeled as such.

    • yreg 5 days ago

      In Slovakia we've already had a deepfake ad of a well-known news anchor.

      The ad starts as a news segment where she says that it turns out the covid vaccines don't work and then pivots to awareness campaign about hoaxes and misinformation.


  • littlestymaar 5 days ago

    In fairness, Keanu Reeves, like Kristen Stewart, isn't the hardest person to deepfake…

    • dkdbejwi383 5 days ago

      Is this because both are actors and therefore there is lots of available training data? Or something even more specific to these two people?

      • coolspot 5 days ago

        Keanu Is weaved into the source code of this simulated world.

  • folmar 5 days ago

    Really, this is one of the most unconvincing deepfakes I've seen.

  • roughly 5 days ago

    I love Keanu, but he’s sort of “easy mode” for a deep fake, isn’t he?

  • O__________O 5 days ago

    For clarity, is it only the face that’s faked?

Havoc 5 days ago

The motions on the recent Boston dynamics demo video were eerily realistic and humanlike. Sure preprogrammed but still that smoothness stood out to me as something new

  • adlpz 5 days ago

    I believe this is the video, for reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-e1_QhJ1EhQ

    • yonixw 5 days ago

      In 0:30 you can see the bag changes (the wrinkles), could be just a reshoot, but makes the magic gone.

      • swamp40 5 days ago

        The bag snaps closed internally. I had to watch it at 25% speed over and over.

        The cool thing about slowing it down is you can see its feet wobbling side-to-side at about 10X per second to keep its balance.

  • code_runner 5 days ago

    The ability for the robot to move in multiple directions at once… bending knees and arms and waist at the same time, threw me for a loop.

  • gpanders 5 days ago

    It's interesting to see both the advances in humanoid robotics and language models like ChatGPT. The obvious next step will be to combine these two to achieve a truly human-like android, just like in old school science fiction.

    Of course, bridging the uncanny valley to make it even look passably human is another milestone entirely.

antipotoad 5 days ago

The yaybahar. It really sounds like there are electronics involved, but no:

> Yaybahar is an electric-free, totally acoustic instrument designed by Gorkem Sen. The vibrations from the strings are transmitted via the coiled springs to the frame drums. These vibrations are turned into sound by the membranes which echo back and forth on the coiled springs. This results in an unique listening experience with an hypnotic surround sound.


amir734jj 5 days ago

This https://youtu.be/vS0TuIPoeBs

It's just amazing

  • I_complete_me 5 days ago

    It's about gecko tape, tape that imitates how a gecko's feet adhere to surfaces. By Veritasium, FYI.

roeles 5 days ago

I've had the good fortune to see people use the balance belt, a belt that you can wear if you have bilateral vistibular loss.

The tech is simple, but seeing someone go from not being able to walk without leaning against everything to walking as if nothing is wrong - within 30 minutes - felt like a miracle. The haptic feedback is processed in a very old part of the brain, which makes learning to process and use it fast.


  • andrei_says_ 3 days ago

    This reminds me about reading on similar device which when worn provides haptic feedback indicating North. The intention is to give the wearer an instinctive sense of North which remains even after stopping to wear the device.

    Do you by any chance have any info on this?

  • dendrite9 4 days ago

    That looks like an interesting device, do you know if it available in the US? I had a friend lose some of his balance due to a tumor. He said he could do surprisingly well with his eyes, probably due to a lifetime of climbing, skiing, etc but others I know do not have that advantage.

    • roeles 3 days ago

      I am pretty sure some have been sold to the US.

      I suggest reading https://balancebelt.net/en/patients/ and using the "I want to try" button to fill in a contact form.

      It's a small business, so I expect they'll be in touch shortly after that. Good luck!

LorenDB 5 days ago

USB-C/Thunderbolt is amazing. It blows my mind that you can have a graphics card, plus peripherals, plus storage, all connected by a single cable through a single, hot-pluggable(!) port.

  • someotherperson 5 days ago

    > through a single, hot-pluggable(!) port

    Don't forget reversible too!

    • angelbar 18 hours ago

      I thank everyday for that

  • MH15 5 days ago

    I've recently set up my work laptop and home desktop to run through USB-C. Power/Video/Data to the laptop from the monitor, and Data to the desktop from the monitor, both through USB-C. There's an extra DisplayPort connection to the desktop I'd like to prune someday, but for now it's brilliant to be able to swap one USB-C connection and my monitor, mouse, keyboard, speakers, webcam all work flawlessly. Really helps with work from home, I don't have enough room in my apartment for two desks.

jeffwask 5 days ago

The Mobility Scooter craze. South Park nailed it. One day there were a couple scooters and you went oh interesting. A moth later there were thousands clogging every sidewalk with no discernible method of managing these devices. Then just like they came they were gone.

How many billions spent? How much e-waste was generated?

  • jollyllama 5 days ago

    Mobility scooters are the things disabled people ride. There should be a term to refer to these electric, Razor-style form factor scooters, but I think they are just pushing the Vespa-style scooters (many of which are also electric) into the term moped and taking the term "scooter" for themselves. I call them kid scooters.

    • pavon 5 days ago

      I've always seen the terms kick-scooter and motor-scooter to disambiguate the later two.

  • kirse 5 days ago

    IMO central-city cores need to get redesigned around Bio/EV-only transport like walking, bikes, scooters, etc. You drive up to various parking-only rings where there is boatloads of parking and EV-transport docking stations and then walking/bikes/EVs get you last-mile accessibility to buildings, shops, etc.

    Scooters do annoy me at times as a pedestrian but its mainly b/c city infra wasn't really designed for this middle ground, as cyclists can attest. Plus I am equally as hypocritical for sometimes zipping around on a scooter on sidewalks, so I don't complain too much. If I ever get a shot at building up a town/city this is one of my reqs.

  • FeistySkink 5 days ago

    Unfortunately it's still a thing almost everywhere in EU.

    • LeonM 5 days ago

      Unfortunately, the EU country I live in does not allow them.

      And that is unfortunate, because whenever I visit another EU country I find them very useful.

      • alistairSH 5 days ago

        I doubt many people would argue against their usefulness. The problem is management of the scooters when not in use.

        Even out in the suburbs, the local sidewalks have them discarded haphazardly. Not in a charging stand, not in a group, just ad hoc lying across the sidewalk. The bike share has dedicated stands for groups of 10-20 bikes - this makes far more sense to me than users just dropping them in the sidewalk or street when they're done riding.

        If you're an older pedestrian, or otherwise mobility challenged (but able to walk), they're a nightmare.

        • unsupp0rted 5 days ago

          It's moot to me because I find the 0.0001% of space around me taken up by electric scooters vs the 99.9999% of space around me taken up by cars to be more egregious.

        • ericpauley 5 days ago

          This feels like largely an issue of societal norms. People leave their cars sitting all over the place and nobody complains.

          For sure there are places they shouldn’t be left, like right in the middle of the sidewalk. But maybe the expectation of every scooter being in a dock is too extreme.

          • alistairSH 5 days ago

            People don't generally park their cars in yards, across sidewalks, or in the woods. All places I've come across electric push scooters. Sure, cars are ubiquitous, but people mostly park them in designated parking spaces (also ubiquitous) or risk a parking ticket, boot, or tow.

            DC adopted a parking zone strategy for the scooters. Haven't been downtown in a while, but imagine that could work without dedicated docks.

          • DangitBobby 5 days ago

            IDK, it's pretty much a social norm to put away your shopping cart, and yet...

            People are selfish and will do anti social shit for convenience if they can get away with it.

            Cars only go where they belong because the state can and will punish you with towing or fines, making the reward of being selfish and anti social not worth the risk.

  • lopis 5 days ago

    I think we're well past the craze curve. I see way less scooters nowadays. Somewhere there is a mile high mountain of old scooters.

  • ausbah 5 days ago

    they are still very prevalent in seattle. not as much of an issue so long as ppl stick to empty sidewalks and bike lanes

jonnycomputer 5 days ago

I mean, is there really any question? There is only one answer. Okay, maybe two. Stable Diffusion and ChatGPT.

Lot's of surreal stuff out there, but these two ... there is no question. Not one.

Living in exponential times.

  • mrkarezina 5 days ago

    I was thinking the same thing until I saw things like this in the thread: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=34503617

    Stable Diffusion and ChatGPT are cool, but once you get a better understanding of the model and how it's trained it doesn't seem that exciting personally.

    But being able to engineer living organisms? That's sounds like something out of blade runner.

wolframhempel 5 days ago

"Petmiglia" - a 360 degree automated pet drying chamber I came across at IFA. If your dog is scared of a hairdryer, why not put him in the hairdryer?


  • climb_stealth 5 days ago

    > If your dog is scared of a hairdryer, why not put him in the hairdryer?

    Sounds like one way to emotionally scar the poor thing for life.

    Personally I found it is mostly the noise that is a problem. We are using a fancy Dyson hairdryer for our dogs and it has made it a bit better.

    It's a shame the dog dryer promotional videos don't actually show what it sounds like.

  • capableweb 5 days ago

    How many times do you wash your pet in order to having to put that huge machine in your house? A cat would need be washed very infrequently and a dog something like once a quarter. Maybe people tend to keep some others pets? Although the video just showed cats and dogs.

  • wongarsu 5 days ago

    *pet drying chamber, in case anyone else was confused. Definitely surreal.

alamortsubite 5 days ago

This video on Helion impressed me, though admittedly I know very little about nuclear fusion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bDXXWQxK38

  • O__________O 5 days ago

    Worth nothing Helion has raised $577.8M of which $375M was provided by Sam Altman.

  • terramex 5 days ago

    Youtube recommended me a good rebuttal of that video yesterday: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vUPhsFoniw

    • O__________O 5 days ago

      Would be super curious to hear Sam’s response to that video given it claims that it’s impossible for it to be a clean reaction, which contradicts statements I believe have heard Sam make about it.

rafaelero 5 days ago

I was yesterday reading about Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. The effect sizes this method is achieving for relieving a bunch of mental illnesses are extraordinary. This is going to revolutionize psychiatry in the near future.

entropicgravity 5 days ago

CRISPR gene editing. Rewrite every instance of your genome in situ. And you not only survive but thrive, unbelievable.

kokojumbo 5 days ago

LTO Tape drives that run their cooling at 100 percent power when idle and have no particle filters https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=34502596

  • stoltzmann 5 days ago

    This isn't that uncommon in datacenter hardware. Most of the gear does not have filters on intakes. The air should already be filtered in the facility anyways.

    Running fans at 100% is slightly weirder, but also not unheard-of.

  • RockRobotRock 5 days ago

    Not saying this isn't true, but you made the thread and the video. Is there anyone else talking about this?

  • amelius 5 days ago

    Tape drives need to be disrupted. They are way too expensive.

  • KaiserPro 5 days ago

    most things don't have filters.

    I don't think I've seen a drive failure because of it though. I think the last time the robot failed it was mostly because of the autoloader not working properly.

    • mkj 5 days ago

      Tape drives (3592) in a Singapore data centre had lots of problems in the smokey burning season until they put in filtering specifically for the drives. In other office-like data transfer rooms in other cities they didn't seem to have problems, so perhaps there's something especially bad about smoke.

      • KaiserPro 4 days ago

        I assume smoke has some level of tar or some other heavy sticky substance, so I could see that being a problem.

        It also depends on your cooling type as well. Most of the places I worked had a closed loop system, either hot/cold aisle, or radiators on the front of the rack.

        THe "zombie" rooms did pull air directly from the outside world, but they had massive filters on them. dust wasn't really a problem for us.

decide1000 5 days ago

About 15 years ago I was at the home of an engineer. He had something which looked like a wallet. He unfolded it and it was an e-ink screen which was foldable. It showed an OS with an app to read and send emails and do some (slow) browsing. The company he worked for was bought by Philips. Never saw that product again.

Thebroser 5 days ago

Spatial Transcriptomics. Being able to see gene expression at a resolution of a handful of cells in a cross section of tissue is revolutionizing disease research. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41592-020-01033-y

  • JZL003 5 days ago

    Cool I work in spatial transcriptomics, it's still early days but not too far off we're going to get great resolution and great capture. Especially for the brain, and maybe even tumor micro-environments it could be really cool

  • yread 5 days ago

    All this spatial stuff is mind blowing: CODEX, CyTOF, ...

ladberg 5 days ago

I was at the airport recently and the TSA had 3D x-rays which shocked me! Looked like a normal x-ray but the agent was able to orbit around and zoom in on their computer screen.

  • unsupp0rted 5 days ago

    I always opt for the manual pat-down, just in case. Who knows how well the machine is configured to blast me with the right amount of x-rays and not too much. Who knows how carefully it was transported to the airport, assembled at the airport, tested at the airport, etc.

    Half the time, everybody there looks at me like I'm wearing a tinfoil hat when I politely request the manual pat-down.

    The other half the time nobody bats an eye.

    Depends on the airport and culture, I guess.

    • 93po 3 days ago

      If you tell them you can't lift your arms over your head they're required to just wave you through without a pat down. Or at least this was the case until 2020 or so when I stopped doing this because I would get routinely threatened by TSA employees who were frustrated at how much this exception highlighted what a joke their jobs were.

    • ladberg 5 days ago

      Sorry I should clarify: this was for the luggage x-ray and not the person scanner!

  • jesterson 3 days ago

    I got 3d x-ray-ed by my dentist a while ago. Few seconds and he had whole structure of my teeth in 3d at his laptop. Quite impressive and presumably simplifies their life a lot

mensetmanusman 5 days ago

Expensive AR glasses. You can see through them like they aren’t there, then when they are turned on your entire field of view is a powerpoint screen with edit-ability levels of clarity.

Surprised to see that this is close to mainstream, can’t wait to turn on my monitors while at a bench by the river.

  • gabythenerd 5 days ago

    I was just going to post this, AR glasses are getting really impressive, although I tried to get a pair and almost all companies are either in the "Coming Soon" stage or perpetually out of stock.

    Also tried getting the enterprise Google Glasses but it's difficult getting them as a hobbyist.

markus_zhang 5 days ago

Thanks for all of the replies. This post gives me fantasy of waking up one morning finding all of my family responsibilities gone so that I can dive it some random weird things and grow my brain.

jimt1234 5 days ago

Satellite connectivity for mobile devices. I think it's all still pretty immature, but the potential for both good and bad is incredible.


  • 93po 3 days ago

    T-Mobile is doing this with SpaceX for current devices, no special hardware needed. Enough bandwidth to text and potentially voice calls anywhere with satellite coverage and line of sight to sky (also in your pocket still gets reception apparently).

gwbas1c 5 days ago

Not real: I used to walk around Silicon Valley claiming that I was selling vibrating toilet seats.

I claimed that they vibrated at the "brown note" which is (South Park Reference) the resonating frequency of your bowels. This frequency would make you go.

I claimed that I had bootstrapped the entire thing by selling it to little old ladies who didn't like eating prunes.

adenozine 5 days ago

The availability of different peripherals on smartphones.

The first time FaceID succeeded in the dark, with my grizzled, bearded, asleep, partially obscured face I remember the flicker of amazement that I used to feel all the time thirty years ago when everything was new.

I sometimes think about my phone the way I think about a blank piece of paper before I write in it, just the sheer magnitudes of magnitudes of possibilities inside it’s tiny little electric chassis.

The power of my phone rivals total computing power of industry giants just a few decades ago, huge computers that people built large container rooms for, poured over schematics, organized millions of dollars for.

For what I make in a month, I could have more than a dozen of my iPhone just laying around if I wanted to. Half the size of a proper table coaster.

Also, SIMD. Like, wow. That was a brainmelter when I learned about it. I’m not quite punchcard programming old, but all the people that I worked with when I started would talk at length about it. Now you can just vectorize… whatever… basically for free.

  • CamperBob2 5 days ago

    And imagine what it would be like if you were actually allowed to access all that power.

  • kragen 5 days ago

    the tx-0 that was the predecessor of the dec pdp-1 had simd instructions in 01958

    • adenozine 5 days ago

      I knew the first half of that sentence, but I'm shocked that it had SIMD way back then. I looked on wikipedia but didn't find anything about that tidbit, do you happen to know where you learned that?

      • kragen 5 days ago

        reading ivan sutherland's dissertation on sketchpad, the first gui, which ran on the tx-0; it's also mentioned in a recent ieee (spectrum?) article promoting the risc-v vector extension, but unfortunately i didn't save the link

dcminter 5 days ago

I don't know if it fully qualifies, but I enjoyed this one: https://furhatrobotics.com/

They're definitely a bit different to your typical bear (I cannot help but wonder why they don't pursue the more obvious telepresence possibilities of the device for example)

  • gwbas1c 5 days ago

    Furhat is a social robot: It's basically a humanoid head that sits on a desk, and people are supposed to interact with it as a person.

    • dcminter 5 days ago

      What part of that precludes telepresence?

      • gwbas1c 5 days ago

        I don't think it has anything to do with telepresence.

        It looks like a robotic receptionist, or a robotic concierge.

        • dcminter 4 days ago

          Well, clearly they agree with you.

          To me, however, interacting with this thing would be a lot more intimate than a tablet on a stick, so it's an obvious direction to take the technology.

          • gwbas1c 4 days ago

            Case in point: A few hours ago I went to get a routine blood test. The last time I went to the lab, I wrote my name on a clipboard.

            Today, there was just a touchscreen computer. Someone was trying to check in and was CLEARLY having trouble.

            After he gave up, I walked up to check in. The check-in "application" was a browser opened up to a full screen. Someone had opened up the F12 debug screen and screwed up the whole page. Because I actually use the F12 screen professionally, I knew to close it and refresh.

            All the page did was ask me for my name and put me in a queue.

            This is the exact use case for a Furhat.

            • dcminter 4 days ago

              Uh, I don't think you're hearing me. I'm not saying "don't do this", I'm saying "why not also that?"

omginternets 5 days ago

I remember hearing about an GAN-based tool that would transform clothed pictures of women into nudes. That was depressingly surreal.

  • simonwingtips 5 days ago

    And oddly enough, there's also a new browser plug-in that uses AI to auto-censor images client-side. https://pury.fi/

    • omginternets 4 days ago

      I find this just as baffling, tbh. There are two kinds of excesses: anorexia and compulsive overeating...

  • Llamamoe 5 days ago

    The fact that somebody making this feels like an inevitability is just incredibly depressing. I mean, sure, it's just a fake AI guess, but Jesus Christ come on :-/

    • wruza 4 days ago

      Say that you’ve never used your imagination and took no interest in this. Much easier to say come on when your hormone levels plunge back to sanity.

smrtinsert 5 days ago

AI nsfw bf/gf apps. It probably just makes sense to this generation but for me, it feels like something out 90s era sci fi.

peter303 5 days ago

Some of the VR movies are getting quite good. First the newer generation headsets- 2K, 90+ fps, cableless- no longer induce nausea. Second, movie makers are becoming versant with the strengths and limits of this media.

One I saw in December called Container, I felt I was in the room with various scenes of realistic 3D people.

  • MivLives 5 days ago

    This looks cool. The issue with this sort of movie is distribution. For example Container looks cool. I'd love to have seen it. But I missed all the festivals it was at. Who is going to distribute this to me? I guess Steam but that doesn't seem right. I know they've sold movies in the past but I'm not sure how many would ever pay. What's the netflix of vr movies?

iancmceachern 4 days ago

LVADs. We now have what are effectively artificial hearts. The heartmate 3 has been implanted in tens of thousands of people, patients that would have previously died a horrible death of end stage heart failure are now regularly going 5-10 years on these things. In many respects, for many patients, they are far better than the transplant option.

lee101 5 days ago

LLMs like ChatGPT E.g. https://text-generator.io that combines then with image/web link content understanding, so it can answer questions about pictures with text in them like reciepts or simulate how people would talk about documents or respond to emojis/content.

It's apparent in the future machines will have a deep level of understanding and it will be easy to extend/build upon and also affordable

sergiotapia 5 days ago

ChatGPT. I'm 33 and first time I've ever truly been blown away.

It's been really valuable as well not just a novelty. I'm certain it will change almost every aspect of our lives, starting with our children and how they learn in our current education pipelines. The bubble don' popped!

incomingpain 5 days ago

Deep fakes certainly hit me wrong. Especially given how easy it is to do to celebrities.

It started off with mundane stuff with a great message: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQ54GDm1eL0

Then South Park guys, Trey Parker, doing absolutely hilarious deep fake video. They make Al Gore and Trump say poop. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WfZuNceFDM

But then basically the same time I saw deep fakes presented as true. Trump saying dumber things than normal. Biden appearing like he has late stage dementia. None of it true. As an outside observer of american politics... pretty damned concerning.

But then I read a real statistic. 95% of deep fakes... are to make fake porn. Women who have never done porn now have tons of porn made of them. Worse yet, you can't do anything about it. You dont own the copyright. There is no copyright infringement. You cant sue for royalties because they assert its not you and you never did porn.

So the USA/DHS decided they would try to police this. Try to get this all under control. They proceed to put a registered spy in charge of it who only policed 1 side of the aisle.

So this technology is destabilizing the USA and heading directly toward... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_American_Civil_War

kzrdude 5 days ago

I guess the jetpak demonstrations where they actually seem realistically usable are very cool

f0e4c2f7 5 days ago

Without a doubt ChatGPT. Still surprises me daily.

  • yreg 5 days ago

    To piggyback, it's been almost a year and I still haven't gotten over the first time I saw DALL-E 2. Or the first time I've used GPT-2 (via AI Dungeon Google Collab sheet). Not sure when was the previous last time I've felt that sense of wonder. Perhaps the first time I've interacted with the original iPhone?

    Edit: I remembered some more from the past:

    - First Boston Dynamics Atlas videos.[0]

    - First successful Falcon 9 landing[1].

    - A video explaining how the Curiosity landing will be done and then watching the stream when it happened.[2]

    - The concurrent landing of two Falcon Heavy boosters on land.[3]

    [0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVlhMGQgDkY

    [1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANv5UfZsvZQ

    [2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2I8AoB1xgU

    [3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sX1Y2JMK6g8

    • bemmu 5 days ago

      First time I got the "there's something special happening here" vibe was seeing the early "hallucination" images some years ago. Some examples here: https://www.businessinsider.com/these-trippy-images-show-how...

      My wild guess for the next 5 years is that we'll have Stable Diffusion with the ability to create NeRF scenes.

      • yreg 5 days ago

        I wasn't able to realize the scale of the shift that's about to happen back then.


        I just remembered another example of hearing about something that seemed like pure magic:

        Reconstructing what a person is seeing out of their fMRI scan (2011): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsjDnYxJ0bo

        • O__________O 5 days ago

          That’s most interesting aspect to me is that 100s of thousands of people were all likely aware of the developments in the field, but few actually knew what was coming down the road in the near future. It’s these types of gaps I find the most interesting when looking at technologies like this.

          • ctack 5 days ago

            What is coming though?

      • Acutulus 5 days ago

        I'm right there with you. Google's DeepDream I think?

        That first week of DeepDream images flooding the web showed me that someone had snuck a can of worms onto the table, and while they had graciously not opened it immediately, they had maybe cracked the lid just a bit

natural20s 5 days ago

AI image generation from text prompts. Midjourney, DallE, etc. These platforms are quickly disrupting the visual art and commercial art world. This isn't just "Putin as a Vampire Riding a Nuclear Bomb" wacky art. If you spend time looking at how these platforms are being used - they are quickly becoming production tools that are helping accelerate ideation and creation. Here are some examples:

* Developing logo concepts - the rendered text is usually wrong but the layout and design can be used to "hand build" a final concept

* Developing UI and web page designs

* Architectural designs and renderings

* Packaging design

Personally I'm using it to develop very niche imagery for a roleplaying game (Welcome to Grimsbury). Everything from postcards, postage stamps, posters, signage and illustrative imagery is coming out of Midjourney. The amount of control I have over the final product, the detail and unexpected "awesomeness" is mind blowing. I just generated a set of vintage postage stamps in the gravure style of scientists opening otherworldly portals. I could print them out and use them to mail a letter.

Artists and illustrators are very concerned about this technology - and rightly so. I was budgeting almost $2,000 to pay for art for my game - now - I spend $10-$20 a month to get hundreds of images that I 100% own the commercial rights to use. This will get me to the Kickstarter phase where I will then use kickstart $$$ to pay an illustrator to help with the final product - but Midjourney gets me launched.

tunnuz 5 days ago

ChatGPT, DALL-E, whatever DeepMind produces.

tboyd47 5 days ago

The whole industry of carbon sequestration is surreal. It's a completely useless technology except for proving to someone else that you've affected the inputs to an equation to some degree.

  • tboyd47 3 days ago

    To the people who downvoted me, I challenge you to find me one company or even one person using this technology privately without showing anyone what they're doing. If you can't find that, then it's all just dramatic theatre for handout money or pats on the back. That's it.

benevol 5 days ago

Energy with magnetics: https://www.KryonEngine.org

  • justusthane 5 days ago

    The great thing about perpetual motion machines is that you don't need to spend a lot of time digging through all the details, and you don't even need to be well-versed in physics, to understand that they're impossible. You just have to know that energy cannot be created or destroyed.

    Two items of note from their FAQ:

    > "Except for the usual forces such as mechanical friction, resistance due to air, etc., no major force opposes this movement to the point of canceling it. "

    Yes, and those "usual forces" require additional energy input to overcome.

    > "The correct application of the Law of Thermodynamics (a) refers to closed systems which (b) exist in a reality of which 100% is known and understood. Both (a) and (b) can only ever be true with absolute certainty in theory, but never within the limited perception of reality how humankind experiences it - in other words: How much sense does it make to think that a system which is observed in only 4 dimensions can never and will never be influenced by what is contained and happening in the following 8 (higher) dimensions?"

    So they're using magnets to pull energy from other dimensions. Got it!

    • blackbear_ 5 days ago

      > The correct application of the Law of Thermodynamics [...] exist in a reality of which 100% is known and understood

      Uh, are they really saying that thermodynamics only starts working when we have a perfect understanding of reality, and not a picosecond before that? What the actual duck.

  • pavlov 5 days ago

    ”What does Kryon mean?”

    ”The correct question would be: Who is Kryon? Kryon supports Humanity in many precious ways - not only by dropping hints about upcoming revolutionary technologies based on magnetism, such as (shallow depth) geothermal energy generation, (mass-scale) water desalination and magnetic engines. You are encouraged to tune in to the neverending stream of new free audio channellings.”

    It seems a being from another dimension has blessed humankind with a perpetual motion machine. Where do I send my money?

  • greggsy 5 days ago

    Perpetual motion and free energy stuff was interesting things to read about back in early 2000’s internet (around the time when conspiracy theories were kind of niche).

    The only thing of interest recently has to be the EmDrive [1] - only because the rigorous testing it was put through finally put the mail in the coffin of backyard free energy nuts.


    • quickthrower2 4 days ago

      Nuclear fission energy is for practical purposes as good as perpetual motion

      • Schroedingersat 4 days ago

        Most Uranium ore is roughly as energy dense as anthracite.

  • notinfuriated 5 days ago

    Does it not seem suspicious to you when you see a video of the device, and it's of a 3d model?

  • mackatsol 5 days ago

    Is there a working model?

    • lnsru 5 days ago

      It’s another scam…