Pew Sheet – 25th June 2023

The Rector writes ‘It is lovely to be back with you. I really enjoyed my ‘study/pilgrimage’ and it has absolutely enhanced my understanding and perceptions of the world in which Jesus walked, as I said before, you will all be sick of my talking about it!       Today is what’s called ‘Sanctuary Sunday’, the Sunday of Refugee Week, and on this day, we try to remember the plight of refugees in the world. The recent tragic drownings in Greece highlights for us all the danger and horror of forced migration.    How bad things must be where these desperate people are fleeing from if they are willing to undertake such danger to try improve their lives. I had hoped to have a guest speaker today but that wasn’t possible as they all seemed to be previously engaged, so you’ve got me again…. but at least this year I can speak first hand of the plight of the Palestinian people I met on my trip and in particular of the people I met in Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem and then perhaps we can expore what we, as a caring community, might be able to do to help’


Update on Bicentennial Events

HELP STILL NEEDED !   20 people from our link parish of Perton in the Diocese of Lichfield are joining us for the Flower Festival in July (14th—16th) so if you have a spare room and would like to host one of the Perton parishioners,  please contact the Rector.

Bicentenary Quilt

The final deadline Sunday 2nd July 2023.

I know there are some people still working away on their squares so If you want it included in the quilt please get it to me on or before Sunday 2nd July, this is the absolute final date, no squares can be accepted after this as I have lots of work ahead to get the quilt put together and finished.  Once I start this work I cannot make room for any other squares so please finish your fabulous contributions and don’t be disappointed.  And many thanks for all the wonderful squares received so far and I’m looking forward to the last few too. Happy creating  Millie Kingston 

We are holding a Scrap Metal Collection over the next few weeks to raise funds for the Parish.  So have a clear out of your shed,  garage and attic!  If you require your scrap metal to be collected then we can arrange to collect if from your home/business.

Call  Henry Forbes on 0872035000 for information on where to drop it off or if you need it collected.

The Owenabue Garden and Flower Club,

Carrigaline will host an Evening Garden Walk with refreshments at Maggie and Rowland Newenham’s Garden Coolmore, Carrigaline P43 FR88 on Monday 26th June at 7.30pm. Meet at the Band Hall beside the Catholic Church in Carrigaline at 7pm to car pool and get directions. Entry €7 each.

Random Notes CDXXVIII

After Bishop Paul’s excellent speech at Saturday’s Diocesan Synod, I thought it would be helpful to (try to) explain what Artificial Intelligence (AI) is.

AI describes a field in computer science that refers to computers or machines being able to simulate human intelligence to perform tasks or solve problems. It covers a whole range of techniques and takes advantage of the fact that computers can perform tasks much faster than humans.

We’re not talking about Robbie The Robot, Commander Data or Skynet here. Much of what we call AI is not something we would see as intelligent. But it does involve useful techniques like machine vision and advanced levels of automation. For example, being able to recognise cancerous cells from an MRI. Or performing stock market trades faster than any human can. In the world of computing, we talk about techniques such as “Machine Learning” and “Deep Learning” where pieces of software are not so much programmed as trained. All of this is hugely useful for spotting patterns in large amounts of data and for building models that allow us to make useful predictions the future.

The AI we’ve been seeing in the news since 2022 is different. It’s called Generative AI. It can create things based on a large body of data plus what we call a prompt. So I can ask an AI like DALL-E to draw me a picture of Carrigaline in the style of Picasso, for example. Or it can generate text, which is what ChatGPT does. ChatGPT is what we call a Generative Pretrained Transformer and is based on a research paper from 2018.

The current version is GPT-4. It is what we call a Large Language Model. OpenAI, its creator, fed GPT-3 and GPT-4 a snapshot of the internet from late 2021. This is why ChatGPT knows nothing about the war in Ukraine,  for example.

So, what happens when I type something into ChatGPT? As a Large Language Model (LLM), it tries very hard to guess what sequence of words are most likely to follow what I typed in. It’s surprisingly good at this, mainly because it relies on an enormous pile of data plus some clever training. The GPT-4 version in particular is eerily good at providing cogent responses. 

The problem is that it sometimes makes things up. This should not be a surprise as that’s what LLMs are designed to do. But it also means its answers must be double checked.

ChatGPT has been described as a “bicycle for the brain.” It’s particularly good at speeding up some tasks that are considered onerous. It definitely goes far beyond what computers could normally considered to be capable of. Future Generative AIs will only get faster and more capable and will slowly edge closer towards true Artificial General Intelligence. They raise questions about some qualities we considered to be uniquely human. And they raise moral, ethical and even theological dilemmas. We’re going to have to work through these in the next few years.


Categories Parish Notices | Tags: | Posted on June 26, 2023

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