Weekly Web Harvest for 2023-03-19

  • Bridge Saw Big Profits in African Education. Children Paid the Price.
    “Technically, we’re breaking the law,” May said in a 2013 article in the education publication Tes — a quote that was reused in a mostly favorable 2017 New York Times profile of Bridge. “There would be more people and more organizations willing to try and push the envelope and get higher pupil outcomes if the regulatory and legal framework was less restrictive,” May went on. “You have to be extreme. You have to take real risks to work in those environments. Often there are [laws] preventing most companies from trying to figure out how to solve these problems.”
  • Discord, or the Death of Lore « ASCII by Jason Scott
    OpenFeint is the pile of bones worn into the foundation of Discord telling us it was built on land that will very occasionally flood to great catastrophe. It was founded in 2009, was given a huge ecosystem of plugins and support, gained ten million followers, took in roughly $12 million of known VC investment, was sold to a Japanese company in 2011 for $104 million, and was fucking dead in the ground by 2012. By the flickering light of its Viking funeral, Discord was founded and the cycle began anew.
  • Other Internet
    For decades, researchers have studied how online communities form shared identities and beliefs. But what about shared memories? This series explores Lore: the new modes of self-mythologization developed within network media, and the forms of history and canon stored within media artifacts that online groups produce. The memes we encounter on clearnet feeds are usually parts of larger stories, stemming from semi-private sites more conducive to worldbuilding. The affordances of different types of online space change how information is produced, circulated, and remembered across platforms. What happens when platforms enable the archival of information? What happens when they encourage collective experiences versus personal, inward-facing ones?
  • Arvind Narayanan on Twitter: “While playing around with hooking up GPT-4 to the Internet, I asked it about myself… and had an absolute WTF moment before realizing that I wrote a very special secret message to Bing when Sydney came out and then forgot al
    “Indirect prompt injection is gonna be WILD”
  • Presenting the Sensitive Data Report
    Focused on companies but with plenty of implications for education
  • CoCalc
    realtime collaborative Jupyter notebooks, LaTeX, Markdown, and Linux.
  • The climate cost of the AI revolution • Wim Vanderbauwhede
    In this article, I want to focus specifically on the energy cost of training and using applications like ChatGPT, what their widespread adoption could mean for global CO? emissions, and what we could do to limit these emissions.

    –creation/training vs use and the Stanform Llama copying all complicate things

  • The genie escapes: Stanford copies the ChatGPT AI for less than $600
    So what’s to stop basically anyone from creating their own pet AI now, for a hundred bucks or so, and training it however they choose? Well, OpenAI’s terms of service do say “you may not … use output from the Services to develop models that compete with OpenAI.” And Meta says it’s only letting academic researchers use LLaMA under non-commercial licenses at this stage, although that’s a moot point, since the entire LLaMA model was leaked on 4chan a week after it was announced.

    Oh, and another group says it’s managed to eliminate the cloud computing cost, releasing more code on Github that can run on a Raspberry Pi, and complete the training process within five hours on a single high-end nVidia RTX 4090 graphics card.

  • Imagining Alternative Social Media Designs – Institute for Rebooting Social Media
    Taking inspiration from art, critical design, and media studies, this session will explore how everything from novel constraints to finite structures can help us break out of the profit-driven engagement-obsessed platform world we currently inhabit. Rather than the algorithmic feeds, visible “like” counts, noisy notifications, and infinite scrolls we’ve grown accustomed to, attendees will imagine alternative, radical designs that enable new modes of online communication. Ideas from this guided session will be assembled into a Compendium of Alternative Social Platform Designs, a collection offered freely for anyone to draw inspiration from when building new platforms and experiences for the future of online sociality.