Interesting Stuff - Week 50, 2023

Posted by nielsb on Sunday, December 17, 2023

In this week’s blog post, we explore the cutting-edge of AI and streaming technology. From a beginner’s guide to building an AI agent using Deep Q-Learning to the integration of Large Language Models in pursuit of AGI, we cover a range of fascinating topics.

We also delve into practical applications with Azure AI Studio and discuss Confluent’s serverless Apache Flink service, highlighting its impact on stream processing. Join us as we navigate these exciting developments and envision the future shaped by AI advancements.

Generative AI

  • Develop Your First AI Agent: Deep Q-Learning. This post guides readers through the exciting journey of building a deep reinforcement learning gym from scratch. The post is an excellent starting point for those curious about AI, offering hands-on experience constructing an AI agent using Deep Q-Learning. It’s tailored for beginners, requiring only a basic understanding of Python, and covers creating an environment, defining reward structures, and the basics of neural architecture. The tutorial is comprehensive, walking through the process of training an AI agent to solve a simple problem: moving from a starting point to a goal. This foundational knowledge paves the way for more complex AI projects and a deeper dive into neural networks and advanced reinforcement learning strategies. The blog-post emphasizes the practicality of the approach, ensuring that readers gain both confidence and understanding in AI development. I found this post really interesting, and I hope you do too!
  • Towards AGI: LLMs and Foundational Models’ Roles in the Lifelong Learning Revolution. This article delves into integrating Large Language Models (LLMs) and foundational models in pursuing Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). It highlights the significance of continual learning, where an AI agent learns new skills and integrates them into its existing skill set. The authors discuss various components like the Planner, Selector, Controller, Memory, Critic, and Descriptor, each playing a crucial role in the learning process. They explore different approaches in recent studies, such as VOYAGER and DEPS, emphasizing using LLMs like GPT-4 for task planning and execution. The article also addresses challenges like the limitations of LLMs in understanding environments and planning tasks, underscoring the need for human intervention in certain scenarios. This comprehensive overview offers a glimpse into the evolving landscape of AI, where autonomous agents are increasingly capable of complex, lifelong learning and problem-solving.
  • Build your own copilots with Azure AI Studio. This YouTube video is a comprehensive guide on using Azure AI Studio to create, test, deploy, and monitor generative AI applications. Azure AI Studio is a unified platform offering access to a wide range of models from Azure OpenAI service, Meta, NVIDIA, Microsoft Research, and hundreds of open-source models. The video demonstrates how users can integrate their own data, utilize pre-built Azure AI skills for multi-modal applications, and employ various tools for prompt engineering, evaluation, and custom orchestration. A key feature highlighted is the ability to build copilot apps that provide intelligent natural language interfaces to underlying app data. The video is a valuable resource for anyone interested in exploring the capabilities of Azure AI Studio in building advanced AI-driven applications. Awesome stuff!
  • Sam Altman on OpenAI, Future Risks and Rewards, and Artificial General Intelligence. In this YouTube video, Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, discusses the company’s rapid evolution from a research lab to a prominent tech company, highlighting the challenges and growth experienced during this transition. He addresses criticisms about OpenAI’s objectives and its relationship with Microsoft, emphasizing its commitment to democratizing AI and not being profit-driven. Altman also reflects on the broader impact of AI on society, particularly in media and upcoming elections, and envisions a future where AI significantly enhances human capabilities. He concludes with personal insights and a lighter discussion on his favourite Taylor Swift song and potential candidates for CEO of the Year.


  • Making Flink Serverless, With Queries for Less Than a Penny. This blog-post discusses Confluent’s serverless Apache FlinkĀ® service, which simplifies stream processing in the cloud by abstracting away infrastructure concerns. This service, part of Confluent Cloud, allows developers to focus on building scalable stream processing applications without the operational overhead of managing infrastructure. Key features of this serverless offering include elastic autoscaling with scale-to-zero, evergreen runtime and APIs, and usage-based billing. The service uses compute pools that adjust resources based on demand, ensuring cost-effectiveness and efficient resource utilization. The blog also delves into the technical aspects of implementing this architecture, addressing challenges like optimizing parallelism and fast rescaling. It highlights the cost savings and efficiency of the usage-based billing model, particularly for variable and explorative workloads. The post concludes by inviting readers to try out the service and stay tuned for a future whitepaper detailing the serverless architecture and its technical innovations.

~ Finally

That’s all for this week. I hope you enjoy what I did put together. Please comment on this post or ping me if you have ideas for what to cover.

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