Notes for Week 24, 2024

Song of the week:


  • Apple held it's WWDC events this week. On Monday they had their big keynote event, which had the slick production we're used to. Including some jokes (Craig F parkour, anyone) and a slew of announcements.
    • Most disappointing of those announcements was not an overhaul of iPadOS to take full advantage of the M4 chips under the hood. Though I still remain deeply curious about getting a new iPad. Though my M1 Mac is hardly a slouch. Knowing me, though, I'll pull in and buy one because I can't help myself.
    • Most interesting and well-executed, was the final segment that went on and on about AI. That's right, Apple Intelligence. We knew it'd come, and when it did it was close to boring us to tears, but in the right possible way. It focused on personal, private improvements. And even third party FOSS-style approval of apps that would ever attempt to use your data. They announced partnerships with the likes of openAI, improvements with Siri and general AI-enhancements across the stack. Without over-leveraging the phrase "genAI" as some sort of technological panacea. They did a fabulous job of it. And without mentioning a single competitor, made everyone else look like absolute idiots.
  • Speaking of Apple's system, I note a lot of yawning and boredom from AI weirdos. Notably on LinkedIn, which seems a strange place to put these opinions. One friend of mine, recently retired but somehow has decided he wants to go two-feet-first as a public persona that cares about AI, literally put a yawn emoji on "Apple Intelligence." He cited it as a damp squib, and that their refusal to use "artificial intelligence" as a phrase as negative.
    • The reason a company as careful about their market presence and how they market themselves like Apple will not use "genAI" or "artificial intelligence" in a sentence next to a product launch is because the general public couldn't give a shit, don't like it and can see the sheer volume of crypto-bro grifters around it. If Apple used blockchain for something, they would rename the database and make sure it never touches the crypto end of things ever.
    • My response was, verbatim: Apple ran a demo that showed their system receiving a text to change the time of a meeting. Their system was able to then understand that there was context required around a daughter (important person of note), a play/recital (event you should prioritise, because your daughter is in the thing) and the time/location/route/traffic to get there. So because of this meeting being shifted via text, "Apple Intelligence" was able to do the due diligence that frankly, most parents would have forgotten about or disregarded. That's the real value of something like AI or ML. Real world, empathetic use-case that is both powerful, useful and, because it's Apple, all done on the device in a secure way.
    • Folks are way too wrapped up in training global models that can't count or be succinct in answers. The real value comes out in improving the day-to-day, not drawing second-rate anime versions of your profile pic.
  • This week was an interesting one from a work perspective. I was able to attend "the King's birthday" celebrations at Glencairn, where the ambassadors residence is. It was fairly loose for what it was -- a garden party. We met the ambassador and his wife, but then were surrounded by the political top dogs in Ireland alongside up-and-comers and journalists. All sipping "English sparkling wine" and, should you choose, pimms.
    • Given my proximity to fintech, we made sure we met folks from industry bodies around us (IDA, IBEC, etc.) as well as the minister for finance, former minister for finance and a few folks in back-bench roles that are worth introducing ourselves to.
  • Adjacent to the above, I'll be at Cannes Lions next week. Beautiful place to be for a few days, but my schedule is intense. Seriously intense. I'll do my best to enjoy it but I will need to be switched on for the entire thing.