AI Models Enable New Capabilities

by November 29, 2023

In the introduction to my How AI Ate My Website talk, I frame AI capabilities as a set of language and vision operations that allows us to rethink how people experience Web sites. AI tasks like text summarization, speech to text, and more can be used to build new interactions with existing content as outlined in this short 3 minute video.


How AI Ate My Website What do most people picture of that title, AI Eating a Website? They might perhaps imagine some scary things, like a giant computer brain eating up web pages on its way to global dominance.

In truth though, most people today probably think of AI as something more like ChatGPT, the popular large language model from OpenAI. These kinds of AI models are trained on huge amounts of data, including sites like mine, which gives them the ability to answer questions such as, Who is Luke? ChatGPT does a pretty good job, so I guess I don't need an intro slide in my presentations anymore.

But it's not just my site that's part of these massive training sets. And since large language models are essentially predicting the next token in a sequence, they can easily predict very likely, but incorrect answers. For instance, it's quite likely a product designer like me went to CMU, but I did not. Even though ChatGPT keeps insisting that I did, in this case, for a master's degree.

No problem though, because of reinforcement learning, many large language models are tuned to please us. So correct them, and they'll comply, or veer off into weird spaces.

Let's zoom out to see this relationship between large language models and websites. A website like mine, including many others, has lots of text. That text gets used as training data for these immense auto-completion machines, like ChatGPT. That's how it gets the ability to create the kinds of responses we just looked at.

This whole idea of training giant machine brains on the totality of published content on the internet can lead people to conjure scary AI narratives.

But thinking in terms of a monolithic AI brain, isn't that helpful to understanding AI capabilities and how they can help us? While ChatGPT is an AI model, it's just one kind, a large language model. There's lots of different AI models that can be used for different tasks, like language operations, vision operations, and more.

Some models do more than one task, others are more specialized. What's very different from a few years ago though, is that general purpose models, things that can do a lot of different tasks, are now widely available and effectively free.

We can use these AI models to rethink what's possible when people interact with our websites, to enable experiences that were impossible before, to go from scary AI thing to awesome new capabilities, and hopefully make the web cool again, because right now, sorry, it's not very cool.