Friday, March 24, 2023

Mark Surman (Hacker News):

We’re only three months into 2023, and it’s already clear what one of the biggest stories of the year is: AI. AI has seized the public’s attention like Netscape did in 1994, and the iPhone did in 2007.


We’ve learned that this coming wave of AI (and also the last one) has tremendous potential to enrich people’s lives. But it will only do so if we design the technology very differently — if we put human agency and the interests of users at the core, and if we prioritize transparency and accountability. The AI inflection point that we’re in right now offers a real opportunity to build technology with different values, new incentives and a better ownership model.


So, today we are announcing A startup — and a community — that will build a trustworthy and independent open-source AI ecosystem. Mozilla will make an initial $30M investment in the company.

I’m not saying that someone shouldn’t do this, but it’s not clear to me why Mozilla should be the ones. Shouldn’t their top priority be Firefox, an important product/engine where they uniquely can make a difference? They laid off most of the Servo team, citing financial difficulties, yet they have tons of money for this.


Update (2023-05-18): Mozilla:

Today, Mozilla Ventures is announcing a new investment and its first in the United Kingdom: Rodeo, an app that makes the gig work ecosystem more transparent for gig workers.

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Little room for rational behavior in a gold rush, which everyone seems to believe this is.

All links in the announcement article begin in the space before the word that was supposed to be linked

The current wave of AI stuff is technologically impressive but I think it’s factually wrong to compare it to Netscape and the iPhone. As I recall, everyone knew exactly what those were for and how they would use them. Life changing applications for AI seem much more speculative right now.

But ya, sigh, it’s the latest hype tech of the moment , which is probably all that Mozilla’s board understands/needs these days

I switched from Firefox to Edge because of the AI integration. I'm using it hundreds of times a day. It's clear that a search engine without good LLM integration can't survive, and neither can a browser. I'm pretty sure Firefox is seeing their usage numbers start to shift already.

Unlike Microsoft, Mozilla surely can't pay the API fees that companies like OpenAI charge, and can't invest billions in them.

They didn't do this because it was a choice, they did it because it was the only choice they had.

@Plume what do you use the AI integration for? It's out similar to logging into open AI and tasking ChatGPT a bunch of things, or is there some tighter browser specific stuff?

As far as I can tell, different people get different features, since Microsoft is testing out AI integrations, but what I'm seeing is a chat that is contextual to whatever I'm looking at.

So when I'm looking at a YouTube video, I can do things like ask "can you summarize this video?" Similarly, when I'm on an Amazon product page, I can say "summarize the reviews for this product", or even "what are better alternatives to this?" Or let's say I'm on a product page for a new Unity feature. I can say "where is the documentation for this?" and it'll find the link.

It's just incredibly useful.

I guess I should try edge done more, that does sound useful.

I had ChatGPT write some regexp for me yesterday and that was bliss

Okay, I have to add one more example to the list above. This just happened to me, and it's kind of incredible. I have a problem and found a Stackoverflow question with the same problem, but no answer. I typed "can you find an answer to this stackoverflow question?" into the Bing sidebar, and it gave me three possible solutions, one of which solved my problem.

Old Unix Geek

I think Mozilla sees AI as the next platform.

We've had a number of platforms:

* Operating Systems (Mozilla made a web one IIRC).

* Web browsers

* Sun's JVM

* and now LLMs

He who controls the platform controls the Universe, and all that.

It was never about the money. Mozilla's CEO gets millions of dollars a year -- and this amount rose during the pandemic layoffs. This is not an organization which values rational economic thinking.

If they had wanted to hire a competent designer and a couple developers who could fix obvious bugs in Firefox, they've had plenty of opportunity.

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