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Sophisticated footwork and perfect pace were a must to keep up with last week’s AI news.
There was OpenAI Monday to go out from ChatGPT plugins to Plus subscribers. by Sam Altman Testimony in the Senate Tuesday, calling for an AI regulatory agency. open-source news from Meta and Google on Wednesday. A ChatGPT app debuted on iOS on Thursday.
On Friday, when I limped to a dinner party in Manhattan hosted by William Falcon, CEO of LightningAI and Emad Mostaque, CEO of Stability AI, before their Unite for dungeon Open Source AI meetup, I was toast.
The meeting aimed to celebrate recent developments in open-source AI vague of success that led to Big Tech mulling over their potential moats while new open-source LLMs debut every week. But while I looked forward to being able to discuss the latest trends in AI in an intimate IRL meeting with Mostaque and Falcon, as well as several AI and VC researchers, I was even more excited to talk about the mambo.
Mostaque and I were the first to arrive at dinner, but we were quickly joined by Alfredo Canziani, assistant professor and deep learning researcher at NYU Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, where he works with the chief AI scientist of Meta Yann LeCun and data from NYU science professor Kyunghyun Cho (who is well known for his work in machine translation). Canziani immediately let both of us know that he would be leaving right after dinner for ballroom dancing class, where he would spend the rest of the night dancing the mambo.
By day he was an artificial intelligence researcher, he explained, but by night he was a dancer, often spending four to six hours in the evening practicing and competing. I let her know that I, too, had studied social dancing in Manhattan, taking swing lessons for several years.
I wanted to talk more about dancing – but when the other participants arrived, including LightningAI’s Falcon, NYU researcher Kyunghyun Cho, FirstMark’s Matt Turck, and Myle Ott, who left Meta to help found Character AII had to focus on the AI discussion and open-source. I kept my pace – moving deftly from asking participants’ opinions on the Senate hearing on AI regulation (Mostaque pointed out that he declined the opportunity to testify but share writing comments) and LeCun’s comments on Metaopen source efforts in the New York Times (he has nothing to lose, the NYU researchers said) to stop and listen for any tea spills (unfortunately, nothing on record).
A Tito Puente mambo beat playing in my head as I sipped my wine and dug into my steak frites. I watched Falcon on his laptop as he did some kind of tech demo for Canziani. I listened to the only other tech reporter at the dinner peppering the VCs with questions. I would have liked it to be a little calmer (at the table and in my head) to be able to hear more easily the rhapsodic predictions of Mostaque as well as the dry and hype-free take of Cho.
When we left to walk a few blocks to the Lightning/Stability encounter (except for Cho, who reminded us all that he had a life, and Canziani, who was in dance class), I couldn’t help but put on a slight mambo beat to my steps – fast-fast-slow, fast-fast-slow – as I chatted with Turck about the AI scene in New York and isn’t it nice to have neighbors who work in industries other than technology?
At the event venue, hundreds of open source developers, stealth founders, investors, and researchers were already celebrating to the sound of music and enjoying sweeping views of the Hudson. As Mostaque gave a short signing speech to the audience, he applauded how everyone would soon have an open-source AI model in their pocket – “free models for everyone!” “I was still thinking about the mambo.
Whenever you socialize, whether it’s mambo, salsa, foxtrot, or swing, you need to both anticipate what’s coming next and be relaxed enough to go with the flow. You need to keep up the pace with quick footwork while moving your hips and staying energized. You need to learn new moves as well as practice the ones you already know.
That’s how it is for those of us who cover the AI beat. That is, to follow the flow of what has become an almost unsustainable news cycle, while keeping an eye on what’s to come. Keeping up with daily news takes while evolving with the biggest trends. Be ready to switch to another conversation when you are in the middle of a conversation. Learn what’s new and build on what you already know.
This week, I’m ready to keep dancing to the beat of the AI.
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