Sunday Signal: ChatGPT with PDFs, addicted to speed and sprezzatura
Hey friends 👋 Happy Sunday.
Here’s your weekly dose of AI and introspection.
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You can upload PDFs, data files, or any document you want to analyse. Previously, the data analysis tool would write code to parse the PDF text and interact with it in a way similar to what you could achieve with a code editor. Now, this is done natively. You can talk to your PDF like a live object.
Alex’s take: Thousands of AI startups died today. Products that were more appropriately considered as features rather than startups in their own right. The best ChatGPT ‘wrappers’ are now influencing OpenAI’s feature roadmap.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is collaborating with OpenAI to launch an AI chatbot named “Gov.uk Chat”. The chatbot will assist the British public with legal queries, tax payments, pension access and info on student loans.
Alex’s take: As long as AI continues to hallucinate, prescriptive legal advice will be too hazardous. A single directive idea is risky. A few suggestive ideas can be helpful. It’s critical for users to sense-check ideas put forward by the AI—even more so when relating to legal action.
For the past 25 years, websites have used search engine optimisation (SEO) to convince search engines to rank their content on Google as highly as possible. This helps drive traffic to their sites. But AI is now disrupting the game.
Alex’s take: Answers on demand mean less incentive to browse search listings. This will render the efforts employed by websites to improve their SEO scores, alongside the efforts of the consultants and marketers useless. I can’t help but feel this will be a reality within the next 5 years.
1 Article I Enjoyed
We’re a speed culture. It’s the ultimate indicator of success. We chase immediate results and quick wins.
But prioritising speed over substance means we often neglect the importance of depth and longevity.
Consider the contrast between bamboo and oak. Bamboo shoots up rapidly, providing instant gratification, but lacks longevity. On the other hand, the oak grows slowly over centuries, symbolising patience and lasting impact.
This metaphor serves as a reminder: genuine progress isn't just about how fast we move, but how deeply we root ourselves in our pursuits.
So, what if we shifted our perspective from short-term achievements to long-term goals? From 1-year plans to 5-year visions? And instead of getting lost in the speed of today's world, we focus on building something monumental over time.
Our daily habits dictate our pace. The challenge is to discern which ones propel us forward and which ones hold us back.
In the end, true intelligence isn't about speeding through life, but about understanding when to slow down, build mass, and create lasting change.
1 Idea I Learned
The best way to describe Sprezzatura is the ability of a swan to kick furiously beneath the surface of the water while looking graceful and elegant above it.
Baldassare Castiglione (1478-1529) first introduced this idea in The Book of the Courtier, a classic of Italian Renaissance literature.
Castiglione's objective was to educate noblemen on proper manners and behaviour, which included mastering a graceful style that seemed effortless and spontaneous, be it in attire, dance, or conversation.
He termed this as “a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal design and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without thought.”
Sprezzatura is the art of nonchalance.
1 Quote to Share
Poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou on making people feel good:
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
One way to radically improve your relationships—both in business and in life—is to focus on the feeling.
Apple captured this idea in 2001 when Jobs reimagined the entire retail experience. He started by asking “How do we want customers to feel when they walk into the store?” Engaging with emotions before profits, the Apple Store went on to become America’s most profitable retailer.
The takeaway: it’s all about how you make them feel.
1 Question to Ponder
What action(s) can I take that would force me to fully commit to a path I’ve been thinking about for a while?
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See you next week,
P.S. The future of transport.