4.124 meeting, fopal, ai

Tuesday 04/04/2023

Did the gym round of machines first thing. Then took care of some pending business. One was to re-do a diagram I had made of the stage lights in the auditorium. Bert complained (rightly) that it was hard to read, and while fixing that, I noticed it lacked one entire set of lights. So I redid that and taped the new version on the a/v desk. Then I sent some docent stuff to Scott. And finally I wrote a brief thing for the writers group. Which took place at 10:45 as usual.

At last, off to FOPAL. Again I tried the Palo Alto Link, aka homebrew Uber. The ride came fairly promptly. This time instead of giving a destination of Cubberly Community Center, which last time had ended up somewhere random in the boonies, I put in a specific address, 4000 Middlefield Road.

So the driver picked up another rider, which was fine, but then he was going down Middlefield at 35 or so, right past the Cubberly Center with no sign of slowing. I spoke up and said, this is where I’m going, let me out. He seemed surprised. I said, I put in this address, 4000 Middlefield, and he said, “Oh, we don’t go to addresses, it’s not like Uber.” I was upset so I got out of the car without asking the key question, “Then where were you going to drop me?” I didn’t think of that until the car had gone. So I really don’t know where it was going to take me. Not to 4000 Middlefield, for sure.

I spent 2:30 going through the remaining boxes of donations and tidying my section for the sale weekend. Then I pulled up the P.A. Link app to go home. The best it could offer me was “pickup in 24 minutes”. That’s odd, given if you stay under the speed limit you can cross Palo Alto a couple of times in 24 minutes. So I called a Lyft. For the second day in a row the Lyft driver was marginal. The guy picked me up in the Charleston shopping center. To get to me he came in a clearly one-way-in driveway. Then to get back to the street he turned to go out that obviously one-way-in driveway. He ended up facing cars turning in, and had no choice but to turn right to get out of the way, which left him headed away from his destination. By the time his GPS had figured it out, it ended up sending him around up San Antonio and Alma, a couple miles extra. What a maroon. Mind you, I just read a book on my phone, I didn’t tell him my opinion. But I didn’t tip, either.

Evening, reading the different forums I do, there was an item about a new, AI-enabled word processor (see type.ai) Have an AI help you write. I tried it. It’s very impressive. I pasted in two paragraphs of what I wrote for the writers meeting this morning, and clicked the “free write” command. It proceeded to add four paragraphs that extended my story in very reasonable ways, picking up inferences from what I’d said and expanding them. It didn’t sound like me, and it didn’t go in a direction that I would have taken it, but what it added was grammatical, readable, and responsive to what I had put in. This shit is scary.

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