Web3, Sentient AI, and Other Interesting Tech Conversations

My blog post about gRPC is now the third most popular article on this blog, and the most rapidly growing — at less than 2K views it probably cannot be called popular, and it certainly is not viral, but by this blog’s low standards it’s huge.

…and it’s a little bit surprising. The article was very surface-level, answering “I don’t know” to some debates about REST vs. gRPC, and also only mentioning source code that you can already download from Google and run out of the box, since gRPC is open source. The documentation is there, but I don’t think it is nearly as fleshed-out as the documentation for Google Protocol Buffers.

Someone left this comment:

I was going to write that I agree “gRPC vs. REST” is misleading — in fact, I would argue that the article already mentioned it is contentious to compare the two — but I was going to disagree with another point. gRPC uses HTTP/2 under the covers, and Microsoft released a document this month that compared gRPC services to HTTP APIs with JSON. So I changed my mind. I more or less agree with the entire comment, and think this should be explored in another article.

Here is what I really want to write about, but without code to point to and back myself up it will sound like I am shooting in the dark: If you actually try using gRPC-web, you may face issues with their lack of support for bidirectional streaming. Medium can be tough…it can be hard to distinguish between well-qualified writers with high-quality articles, and people who lack experience and are just writing for attention. For example, this article is by someone with 19 followers and it is not attached to any tech publication, yet it seems better-written and more accurate than some of the things I have read by writers who have thousands of followers. All of that being said…

Like the article I just linked mentions, here is the official gRPC documentation stating its lack of support for bidirectional streaming. gRPC-Web may still be just a little too new to really promote, but…fantastic article. This guy deserves way more than 19 followers.

A lack of support for bidirectional streaming is not a huge deal for some people, but for others it can be.

Brief Python Tangent

I did not edit my gRPC post because I do not think it made any blatant errors, but my article on Python was much more black-and-white. I DID make an error, so I edited it. Below is a comment by Eric PASCUAL

If you write that Python is an interpreted language, as the FreeCodeCamp article I originally cited had, you could say that you are…mostly correct. It would probably be more correct to say that Python is both interpreted and compiled, but then you could get into a separate argument about the differences between a programming language and an implementation of the programming language.

But to say “Python is not compiled, it is interpreted,” as I had, is just wrong. Even if you were to argue that Python is an interpreted language (I mean, it says “interpreted” in the official Python documentation), you cannot argue that Python is not compiled. It is.

So yes, this would make for another good response post.

Other Tangents

Lots of fascinating things going on in the tech industry right now, including that massive apocalypse that is going to destroy us all.

I am talking, of course, about the state of the economy, the mass Hiring Freeze, and the incoming Recession. Just kidding. AI comes first.

In the video above, you can basically find out what the conversation is about in just ten minutes of a Bloomberg interview. At first I thought this was just going to be another meme…but in my opinion, it’s actually a really interesting conversation.

I wrote an article before about Cakechat, which is what Replika used before it transitioned to GPT-3. I somewhat regret submitting it to a publication…they mostly just filled the thing with advertisements.

I suppose my opinion overall is that calling it sentient is the interview equivalent of clickbait, but chatbots today are fascinating. As another application, someone used GPT-3 to write a viral blog post and get to the front page of HackerNews. GPT-3 conversations are somewhat terrifying in how realistic they seem, and more than a few people are getting so attached to Replika that they are falling in love with it (which is one of many, many reasons to maybe not download it). This Google AI, from how it sounds, may be even better.

Web3

I have a post I am writing about Web3, and all I really wanted to add to the many Web3 articles is I think this is what Pieter Hintjens envisioned before his death.

…kind of. I doubt he would have foreseen how dominated the discussion would be by fans of cryptocurrency and NFTs alike. Is it worse than the thing it is trying to replace? Maybe, but I still think the core idea is really valuable, and they already explored its potential use in the HBO comedy “Silicon Valley.”

Closing Thoughts

Anyway, if you want me, I will be writing more blog posts.

Eventually. First I am going to watch this new RWBY series.

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Evan SooHoo

Evan SooHoo

A software engineer who writes about software engineering. Shocking, I know.