Blog | Hendrik Erz

Coding and Keyboards

If you’ve ever written some code – Python, R, or Stata, it really doesn’t matter – and used several different types of keyboard to do that, you may have noticed that writing code is easier on some keyboards and harder on others. In this article I want to dive into the cultural and technological contexts in which programming languages are being developed and how they shape both the structure and the looks of code.

The Old Tricks Still Work Best

Seven years ago, I first worked with a large dataset. Right now, I again am back to the drawing board, trying to massage a huge chunk of data into something I can work with. This made me think of the old days.

The End of 2010s Social Media

For the past decade, the world has gotten used to the famous triad of social media: Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit. However, after the very long dying period of Facebook, Twitter and Reddit have turned into awful experiences over the course of just a few months. Time for some personal reflection on the glorious 2010s of social media.

Why gzip Just Beat a Large Language Model

A paper has shown that a compression algorithm – gzip – outperforms some large language models (LLMs) in some tasks. This has the NLP community in uproar. In this article, I dissect what has just happened, and what it means for language modeling at large.

Messianism in the Age of Artificial General Intelligence

You may have already stumbled upon them: "longtermists" who believe that sentient AI is basically around the corner and will kill us all. In today’s piece, I want to portray this belief as messianist, as a variation of the apocalyptic Christian perspective. Viewed as such, the insistence of these people to warn about impeding doom makes sense, as does the inability of critics to address them.

Swedish Researchers Rise Up Against Current Ethical Review Practices

Every country has its own approach to ethical vetting of research. While many countries have no real prescriptions on that, Sweden decided to do it proper and wrote ethical vetting requirements into its legal code. This has a set of drawbacks, however, and right now, Swedish researchers are rising up against the sometimes detrimental effects that the law can have.

Large Language Model Inference with PyTorch on Apple Silicon

More than two years ago, Apple began its transition away from Intel processors to their own chips: Apple Silicon. The transition has been a sometimes bumpy ride, but after years of waiting, today I feel the ride is coming to an end. In this article, I reflect on the journey behind us.

An Era of ‘Artificial Fake Truth’? On the Effects of Large AI Models

Yes, I'm still talking about large AI models. But today I want to highlight an aspect that has many people worried: what could be the effects of these models going forward? Luckily there is already a debate going on that focuses on these issues.

“Pause Giant AI Experiments”: An Open Letter Full of Straw men

In a recent Open Letter, AI scientists and entrepreneurs are demanding a moratorium on the training of large AI models. In this article I argue that the letter is full of straw man arguments and does not significantly bear on the dangers emanating from AI.

Core.js: Open Source is not Broken

A recent incident surrounding the JavaScript library Core.js has seen many arguing that Open Source is broken. However, looking at the longer history of incidents within Open Source, here I argue that we need to stop saying Open Source was broken, and instead focus on the real problem: A lack of institutional funding.

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