6 min read

Weekend Briefing No. 8

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller
Weekend Briefing No. 8
Photo by Kristijan Arsov / Unsplash

Good Saturday morning! This weekend's briefing highlights Elon Musk's new xAI venture, the generosity of Dolly Parton, and Meta's new LLaMA open-source LLM. Closing out this weekend's briefing is a Julia Language program that calculates how many days you have left to live. Remember to smash the thumbs up or down button to give me feedback!

Interesting data points

Elon Musk Launches xAI

It looks like Elon Musk, one of the co-founders of OpenAI, has decided to get back into the "AI" game by launching xAI. It has a lofty goal which is to "understand the true nature of the universe."

Elon Musk launches AI firm xAI as he looks to take on OpenAI
Elon Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur, launched his long-teased artificial intelligence startup xAI on Wednesday, unveiling a team comprised of engineers from the same big U.S. technology firms that he hopes to challenge in his bid to build an alternative to ChatGPT.

Musk wants to develop "safer AI" by focusing on making AI curious over programming morality into it. To do so, Musk has assembled an impressive, all male team.

The team at xAI includes Igor Babuschkin, a former engineer at Google's DeepMind; Tony Wu, who worked at Google <GOOGL.O>; Christian Szegedy, who was also a research scientist at Google; and Greg Yang, who was previously at Microsoft

Despite all this hub bub, my personal opinion is that Musk is mad he bowed out of OpenAI and wants in on the AI action. There's a lot of "sick money" to be made in AI now, just ask every NVDA shareholder.

NVDA Weekly Price Chart
(c) Author

Dolly Parton's Universal Basic Income

I've always admired Dolly Parton's Imagination Library foundation and it's goal to help children achieve literacy. In my mind she's a Bodhisattva in disguise and occupies the same kindness space as Mr. Rogers and Steve Irwin do.

When a devastating fire tore through Gatlinburg, Tennessee and decimated 100s of homes, Dolly jumped into action to help.

In The Mesh - Dolly Parton Program Compared to Universal Basic Income
After fires destroyed the town of Gatlinburg Tennessee, Dolly Parton and her Dollywood Foundation implemented a radical cash assistance program which gave money to victims, no strings attached. Many in academia are comparing the program to Universal Basic Income.
By Nov. 30, she publicly pledged $1,000 a month for six months to every single Gatlinburg household who could prove their primary residence had been destroyed by the fire. Dotson points out that no one yet knew how many homes had burned down. The foundation didn’t have a clue how much they had just committed to disburse.

She made sure that every affected household got $6,000 and raised an additional $12 million to help the cleanup and rebuilding.

The foundation eventually raised $12 million, and earmarked $9 million for My People Fund. The remaining $3 million would fund the Mountain Tough Recovery Team, a nonprofit created to provide ongoing client services to fire victims, as well as assist with site cleanup and home rebuilds in partnership with organizations like the Appalachia Service Project.

We need more kind people like Dolly Parton in the world.

Meta Released Open Source LLaMA 2

Big news dropped in the LLM space this week, Meta released LLaMA version 2. It's a massive LLM with 7B, 13B, and 70B parameter versions. The best part? It's open source!

The objective behind making Llama 2 open source is so that start-ups and other businesses can access it and tweak it to create their own AI products. This could potentially add to the ever-increasing list of chatbots that can rival OpenAI’s ChatGPT or Google Bard.

I believe that open sourcing these LLMs will increase adoption and use. Let the best open source LLM win!

End Notes

In case you missed it, summer is in full swing around "these parts." For us it's been a couple of whirlwind weeks as my eldest graduated high school and is preparing for her college life this fall. Like all parents, I exclaim "where did the time go?"

Indeed, where did the time go?

The reality is that it's too easy to get caught up in the frenzy of daily life, rushing to meet work deadlines or running errands. Before we know it, the sun has gone down and another day is over. Days turn to weeks and all of sudden it feels like the summer is slipping away from us. Then it's Thanksgiving, the holidays, and then another year is over.

The older we get the faster time seems to flow and it feels like there's never enough time. Part of the reason it feels that we is that we have a stark realization that one day, when we least expect it, we'll slough off this mortal coil. We'll die and it'll be game over for us.

How morose.

As someone that lives in the world of math, statistics, and probability I ran a calculation back in 2013 to see just how many days of life I had left, assuming I'd live to 76 years of age. Back on July 18, 2013 I wrote on my dry eraser board: “If I Live to be 76, I have 12,180 days left to live as of today — 7/18/13.”

That was a decade ago.

I did update that number last November and adjusted my death age to 78, the average life expectancy for the United States. Ironically, it was the same age my father was when he passed away. That's the thing with math, the numbers and data don't lie.

How many days do I have left now? As this writing (July 20, 2023), I have 9,238 days left. That's a bit dark, isn't it? Calculating the time I might have left. Yet that is not my intention, I just want to remind myself to cherish my loved ones and not to say "no" to new experiences and adventure.

Weekend Briefing No. 6
Whatever fills your sense of adventure, the key thing to realizing it is to get out and do it or at least work toward it

The thing is, I don't know if I will make it 78. I might fall ill or have an accident. We don't know what the future holds for us and when it's our time. So, if I have any advice to share with you it's this tidbit from the classic movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off:

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller

Calculate how many days you have left with Julia Language


#using Pkg

using Dates

death = Date(2048,11,3) #enter your estimate date of death

start = Dates.today() 

out = death - start # outputs the days left to live

println("You have these many days left to live: ", out)

Get all past and future Weekend Briefings by signing up below