Robin Sloan, in his latest newsletter, on the “phase change” of AI training.

When capability increases so substantially, the activity under discussion is not “the same thing, only faster”. It is a different activity altogether. Phase change.

Basically, I want to immunize you against this analogy, and this objection. There’s plenty to reasonably debate in this nascent field, but any comparison between AI training and human education is just laughably wrong.

This is what digitization does, again and again: by removing friction, by collapsing time and space, it undermines our intuitions about production and exchange.

No human ever metabolized information as completely as these language models. “As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew.” You’re gonna need fresh intuitions.

Robin’s new novel, Moonbound, comes out in June. Spoiler alert: it’s fucking great.