The “Why” of “Romy & Roby”

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January 8, 2024

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Anastassia Lauterbach

In October 2022, I worked with the CEO of a multi-billion-dollar family business. “I am not sure we need to invest in AI,” he said. “We had two trials last year, and both failed.”

In January, he called me again. “We are very committed now,” he declared. “Can you help?”

I didn’t need to ask what happened in the meantime. The change had a name: ChatGPT, an open-source revolution taking the world by storm.

In the following months, countless conference organizers and policymakers approached me to comment on GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformers) models, LLMs (Large Language Models), AI “hallucination” and related topics. GPT-3 was launched in June 2020, although the underlying concepts and capabilities had existed for some time. Did COVID-19 prevent the world from spotting it? What became the highest profile democratization movement for AI didn’t just occur. It resulted from six decades of mathematics, strengthened with vast computational power and myriads of data sets, ingested from millions upon millions of articulations. With the whole World Wide Web to learn from, machines finally achieved the ability to mimic the human language in its most natural form.

In May 2023, I sat on a terrace, watching my cat Romy play with a little cushion. I felt he was deeply aware of me admiring his movements, the strokes of his paws, his purring, and silky fur. I remembered how watching cat videos entertained me while I was working on my first AI book, “The AI Imperative” in 2017. I thought we needed something as appealing as a cute furry rascal to keep our attention on something as complex and untransparent as data technologies. I imagined, my darling cat would be interested in befriending someone capable of giving him breakfast and playing with him whenever he wanted. On this day, “Romy & Roby” were born.

I intend to bring AI and robotics knowledge to at least one million families in the next two years. I have launched a children’s book series explaining the world of AI, algorithms, hardware, and software in the most entertaining and fun form. I use ChatGPT to check on synonyms and rhymes when I am stalled in my creative process. Other than that, I rely on four decades of learning throughout multiple disciplines, such as music and linguistics, psychology and physics, computer science, and economics. Romy serves me as a Muse and an excellent companion whenever I am lucky enough to write at home.

I am not always writing with a light heart.

I am sceptical about the general prospects of the European AI industry. The economics of AI companies are challenging. As a rule of thumb, businesses spend 25 per cent of revenues on the cloud and 15 per cent on data cleansing and pre-processing. These costs come on top of expenditures for core engineering resources. Regulators in Brussels are adding additional burdens while requiring companies to disclose details about their projects before they are fully formed. There is only a poorly considered investment strategy, and many problems are linked to the technologies. The next generation will need to solve issues related to the massive requirements for energy in neural networks, challenges in the design and production of increasingly powerful semiconductors, evolution in mathematics around explainable AI (XAI), and new paradigms for data sourcing and storage to comply with privacy laws and the necessity to protect digital assets from criminals. I will do what I can to enable this next generation with a hunger for knowledge, the only hunger acceptable in the contemporary world. I want thousands of boys and girls to study Neuroscience, Computational Linguistics, Psychology, Computer Science, and Electrical Engineering to ensure humanity doesn’t lack solutions for climate change, biochemistry, medicine, astronomy, physics, mathematics, and the mounting shortage of workers across all industries and geographies.

I want more people to understand that AI ethics must have a foundation in mathematics.

I intend to spend the following years developing a new literary genre – edutainment. I hope to meet incredible partners and serve millions of customers.

The first book, “Romy & Roby and the Secrets Of Sleep,” will be shipped by mid-October 2024, while the second book, “Romy & Roby And The Power Of Healing” will face its first edits. In April 2024, I will launch a podcast, “AI Snack with Roby and Romy,” which will contain ten minutes of reading from the book and ten minutes of interviews and discussions with scientists, founders, educators, and artists passionate about AI. So far, five books have been planned. Roby & Romy will become entrepreneurs. They will go to space, compose music, and protect their family from defamation and mobbing on social media.

Every chapter will contain an Appendix with a living content field, which I will update with information on new research and demonstrations of AI technologies. Every single mistake our Roby makes is rooted in the actual development of AI. When our readers want to learn more about robotic movements, they will find links to videos explaining how these technologies are built. And when Roby believes La Tour Eiffel is in Rome, he only repeats what ChatGPT-3 mistakenly claimed to be true. Thankfully, Roby got his furry friend to help.

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romy and roby and the secrets of sleep book cover

Book 1

Romy & Roby And the Secrets Of Sleep.

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