Demos of practical uses for Codex, from an OpenAI Beta tester

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In early August 2021, OpenAI (which is partly controlled by Elon Musk) launched Codex, a revolutionary new AI system which can automatically write code in a variety of languages, using only plaintext prompts as input.

“Make a webpage for a cat lawyer”, you can tell Codex, and it will dutifully create the site, complete with HTML files, formatted text, and all the associated CSS you’d need to put the site online. …

The $1K Test

Follow along and see what happens

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If you followed the Gamestop fiasco earlier this year, you’ve probably heard of Robinhood. The investment app is popular with young investors--Millenials, members of Gen Z, and those who frequent sites like Quora and Reddit. The app made a splash by offering commission-free stock trades (basically forcing legacy brokerages to follow suit) and a slick app-first interface for managing investments. Robinhood also throws in Millenial-friendly features like cryptocurrency trading.

As I heard more and more about Robinhood, I wondered what all the fuss was about. So I decided to find out by creating a Robinhood account and putting $1,000 into…

Exploring an overlooked technology that could make Bitcoin carbon-neutral overnight

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As the reach of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin expand, societies are becoming increasingly aware of their massive environmental impact. The Bitcoin network now uses more electrical power than many countries, generating over 23 million tons of carbon emissions in 2019 alone. Crypto evangelists like Elon Musk have sworn that they won’t promote currencies like Bitcoin until they go green.

That change is happening, albeit slowly. Companies worldwide are finding creative ways to mine cryptocurrencies sustainably. One technology for sustainable mining, though, is often overlooked. It uses existing infrastructure, fits perfectly with the distributed ideal of cryptocurrencies, offers the promise of rapidly…


Edibles… but not that kind

Photo credit: Courtesy of Thomas Smith

The Weekend Wind-Down is a series from The Bold Italic highlighting ways to explore the Bay Area and wind down from your stressful week. If you have an idea or tip, email us, or DM us on Twitter or Instagram.

Dolores Park in the Mission District is one of San Francisco’s best and strangest public spaces. On the one hand, it’s incredibly family-friendly, with one of the best playgrounds I’ve seen anywhere in the world. Yet it’s also a popular place for San Francisco’s devoted stoner set, who relax on the park’s dramatic slopes and light up or munch on…

Deep-fried goodness—sans factory farming

Photo credit: the author.

Lots of food trends began in California, from organic food to California cuisine to America’s obsession with whole grains. And there’s a new, born-in-CA trend that has been exploding onto the culinary scene lately: plant-based engineered meats. Led by startups like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat (headquartered in Redwood City and El Segundo, respectively), the market for plant-based engineered meats is now worth billions.

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The Impossible Burger largely started the trend. This isn’t your traditional veggie burger — Impossible’s patties…

No, but centaurs might

Historical engraving, public domain via Internet Archive

Earlier this month, Elon Musk’s artificial intelligence company OpenAI released Codex, a new system that automatically writes software code using only simple prompts written in plain language. Codex is based on GPT-3, a revolutionary deep learning platform that OpenAI trained on nearly all publicly available written text produced by humanity through 2019.

As an early Beta tester, I’ve had extensive opportunities to put both GPT-3 and Codex through their paces. The most frequent question I’m asked about Codex is “Will this replace human programmers?” …

The Times covered our work with OpenAI’s Codex and historical archives

Photo by Jakayla Toney on Unsplash

I’m thrilled to share that Cade Metz of the New York Times featured my company Gado Images in a major story about OpenAI’s Codex platform, as well as our 10+ years using Artificial Intelligence to process historical archives.

Codex is a groundbreaking new AI platform that can write computer code automatically using only simple instructions written in plain language. Based on our previous work with OpenAI’s GPT-3, Gado Images was given the exciting job of testing Codex just five days after the system launched.

“As soon as Tom Smith got his hands on Codex — a new artificial intelligence technology…

Generative AI systems could guide future pandemic decision-makers

Photo by Emin BAYCAN on Unsplash

OpenAI’s GPT-3 is the most powerful AI system I’ve ever used. Trained on billions of web pages and tens of thousands of books, the system can generate nearly any kind of text, from news articles to computer code to sea shanties.

The current version of GPT-3, however, was only trained on data gathered through October of 2019. That means that GPT-3 has never heard of Covid-19, since the virus only started circulating broadly in December of that year. In testing the system, I wondered what would happen if I taught GPT-3 about Covid-19, and then asked it questions about the…

It’s got vagabond energy… mixed with rocking chair realness

Photo: Courtesy of Thomas Smith

When you sit down to eat in a restaurant, you expect a certain level of uniformity — hopefully not in the food, but certainly in the décor. In most cases, each table is pretty much like every other. Maybe the restaurant has invested in pricey Riedel glassware (and is trusting you not to drop it), or maybe they assert their fanciness by giving you a large number of tiny spoons to accompany your various courses. You’re unlikely, though, to get a 1980s-era ceramic dinner plate, while your dining companion gets an ornate piece of fine china.

That is unless you’re…

From Stinson Beach to Pacifica, we’ve got some gorgeous coastlines to lay a blanket on

Photo credit: the Author

Today is National Beach Day. Granted, the Bay Area doesn’t have the beautiful, azure waters of Hawaii or even the warm-ish, star-studded, sun-kissed sand of Southern California. But what our beaches lack in climate or culture, they more than makeup for in rugged, natural beauty.

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If you want to share your beach with thousands of muscley bathers wearing too-small bathing suits, other California beaches can scratch that itch. …

Thomas Smith

Co-Founder & CEO of Gado Images. I write, speak & consult about tech, privacy, AI & photography. Dig Deeper: or

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