LOL! This week another big name announced AI initiative! Amazon already offers AI services in AWS. If Apple decides to throw the hat in the ring and Netflix decides to join the fun by launching a show about the AI race this AI-fueled story will not lack FAANG! Expect a lot of bytes! 😊



“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” is a well known saying attributed to Oscar Wilde (It’s also attributed to Charles caleb Colton). Recent happenings made me think about it. OpenAI’s ChatGPT has been the rage past couple of months. It’s a chatbot that interacts in a conversational way and many think that’s going to be the future of internet searches and many other applications. Microsoft has invested a significant amount of money in OpenAI’s chatbot. Google, which specializes in internet searches, has been working on its version of AI-powered chatbot Bard. In the wake of ChatGPT’s popularity and probably perceiving a threat to its online search dominance Google demonstrated Bard. The demo did not go smoothly as Bard’s response to a question was inaccurate. Microsoft decided to cash in on ChatGPT’s popularity and decided to release a beta version of Bing chatbot powered by ChatGPT’s AI with mixed results. Some who have tested have reported it makes up information and some have said the chatbot’s response has, to put it politely, not always been polite. Surely misery seeks company (or should I say “Companies seek misery”?)! πŸ˜„
Obviously long-term outlook for AI is promising but recent stumbles indicate it’s not quite ready for prime time wide usage yet. Since this piece is about imitation and technology I was struck by the announcement preceding layoffs by big tech companies in the recent past. Most announcements declared that the companies overestimated the demand in the wake of COVID pandemic, expanded too fast, hired in excess and the CEOs took personal responsibility for that. The language was strikingly similar it seemed as if all the companies had an aha/eureka moment at the same moment or each company decided to imitate the response of the other organizations’ that announced layoffs! 😊 In many fields (sports, business, technology, politics, entertainment etc to name a few) it appears the temptation to imitate, especially a bad example, is simply irresistible. Don’t know if it’s hubris or just a human tendency to take a bad example and prove it could be done even worse! Up there Oscar must be thinking “Imitation as sincerest form of flattery” has even exceeded his Wildest dreams! 🀣

Grand Master Lessons!

In the past few years chess engines have gotten so much better that it’s now well-nigh impossible for even top-level human grand masters (GM) to beat the most advanced chess engines. Processing power, AI and quick risk calculation all combine to make it a much more difficult job to take on the machines and emerge victorious. Having played Grand Master rated computer opponent in Scrabble I can now understand, to some extent, the frustration and empathize with the feelings of experts who get crushed by computer overlords. Below is my experience playing GM rated computer opponent in Scrabble.
1) My win loss ratio hovers between 1:6 and 1:7. Meaning, on an average I win once for every 7 or 8 games I play against the computer grand master. I am glad I am just an enthusiast playing for fun and not an expert playing for a living πŸ˜€
2) It’s been a very humbling experience, at times even humiliating 😒 when the virtual opponent goes on double-digit game winning spree, for sure. It’s like taking on a very powerful and talented opponent with instant access to the best resources πŸ™ The idea is to test oneself against the best and savor the occasional victory πŸ‘
3) I am not sure if the alphabet tiles for a player get selected randomly as it should be. Too many times I have ended up with all 7 tiles being vowels or all 7 tiles being consonants making me wonder if the intent is to load the dice even more against the humans intentionally. πŸ€”
4) Even when the opportunity presents itself to use all 7 tiles (and get 50 bonus points for that) the value of the tiles themselves are minimal reducing the benefits of 2/3 letter/word multipliers. In the left picture of this post, in one of the games, I managed to hit two 3 x Word multipliers (effectively 9 x word value) with the word ‘ORIENTAL’. Apart from the fact I had to use one blank piece (which can be used as substitute for any alphabet that fits a word) which does not have any value the rest of the tiles also had minimal value. Even if couple of tiles had more than minimal value the final outcome (right picture) might have been different πŸ€”
5) The computer opponent (of Grand Master rating) plays quite a negative game πŸ‘Žin the sense it’s always on the lookout for drying up opportunity for opponent to place on a value multiplier square. Maybe an extension of “Best defense wins championship” thinking on the board

Most times, when I am playing or the player/teams I support are playing, I believe that the player/team that plays better wins and the losing side just have to take it on the chin and get back stronger. There are times though when the virtual opponent sneaks in a high scoring word at the end and wins after trailing the entire game and leaving me shaking my head πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈin disbelief and mutter a word that rhymes with itch but starts with a ‘b’ 😑 No sexism there though, if the virtual opponent had been Joey instead of Zoey I probably would mutter a word that rhymes with dastard but starts with a ‘b’ πŸ˜‚. Actually dastard wouldn’t be a bad choice either. πŸ˜…

Bottom line: Biggest lesson learned is “It ain’t over till the petite lady stings!” πŸ˜ŠπŸ™