💬 Issue #5: Pajamas, Productivity, and AGI
NYC goes hybrid, John Carmack goes all-in on AGI, and what it's like to hire people to badger you
Friday’s here, let’s do it.
John Carmack’s post-Meta AGI play
NYC city workers negotiate for hybrid work
What it’s like to hire people to badger you
DOOM > QUAKE > VR > AGI ON DEMAND
Late last year, the iconic and always fascinating John Carmack left his post at Meta and took on some dough ($20m) to chase down the white whale of AI: AGI (artificial general intelligence), where the computers can perform any intellectual task that a human can. He wants to leapfrog what he considers today’s “fragile” AI offerings of “virtual assistants.” His new company is called Cyberdyne Systems Keen Technologies.
John’s approach is rooted in the pandemic: since it’s now normal for most human-to-human communication to flow over a network interface, it will be acceptable to leverage AGI as a “cloud resource”, a la AWS or Azure Devops. “I want five Franks today and 10 Amys, and we’re going to deploy them on these jobs” cites John in a probably fully-thought-through example.
Read on for his “different path” to raising relatively little money (OpenAI is funded to the tune of $11b, $10,980,000,000 more than Keen) while innovating within the hottest tech of the moment. Moreover, he’s promised his investors “zero near-term business opportunities.” (Probably worth it though.)
PAJAMAS ARE OK AFTER ALL: NYC GOES HYBRID
Two facts: 1.) many of New York City’s municipal workers have computer-at-desk jobs, and 2.) many of New York City’s municipal workers are unionized. Last month, these facts collided head-on with Mayor Eric Adam’s decree for all citizens to return to the office (and out of their pajamas).
The city’s biggest municipal union, SSEU Local 371, mainly representing social service workers, is negotiating contract renewal negotiations with the city. Reports indicate that the city has made significant concessions regarding telework/hybrid schedule for the union’s members amidst an exodus of city employees. Cereal at lunch FTW.
REMOTE PRODUCTIVITY HACKING
While Carmack posits on the Amazon Web Services of artificial intelligence, Meta engineer Simon Berens experimented with entirely human-based assistance: he hired a team of people to stand behind him and berate him into productivity.
Results: it ... worked? “The data says that the assistants gave me an extra ~57 hours of productive time a month”, says Berens. It cost him less than he thought, “but due to a combination of not finding a long-term replacement for Julia until the last week, going out a few nights, going into the office, and a few other assistants canceling some days, it ended up being ~5k.”
By the way, Simon is single, available, and probably a super-nice person since he’s Canadian.
ON THE INTERNETS
Does your remote job feel like prison? Zillow Gone Wild can help you find a work-from-home abode to match
TWEET OF THE WEEK
Workplace hazards in Chitwan. 🦏 https://t.co/Tayej2e8PB
— Sam Helle 🐾🐅 (@samanthaiam)
Feb 9, 2023
See ya next week!
— 💬 The EiT Crew at Status Hero
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