The Profile: The humans behind the AI & West Virginia’s richest person
This edition of The Profile features Brad Smith, Bill de Blasio, Anna “Delvey” Sorokin, and more.
Today is Sunday! Apparently everyone else got the memo except me until 10 minutes ago … My sincere apologies for the delay. But there were some amazing profiles today!
I’ve had an absolute blast with the book events so far! (The last one is tomorrow in Atlanta at Virginia Highland Books at 7 p.m! RSVP here.) Thank you to all of you amazing humans who have attended, ordered the book, or continue to support The Profile. Words don’t do justice to express how much it means to me.
Here are some photos from the Miami and NYC events:
PEOPLE TO KNOW.
The humans behind the AI: Much of the public response to language models like OpenAI’s ChatGPT has focused on all the jobs they appear poised to automate. But behind even the most impressive AI system are people — huge numbers of people labeling data to train it and clarifying data when it gets confused. Only the companies that can afford to buy this data can compete, and those that get it are highly motivated to keep it secret. The result is that, with few exceptions, little is known about the information shaping these systems’ behavior, and even less is known about the people doing the shaping. (New York Magazine)
“Nobody will recognize the work we did or the effort we put in.”
The richest person in West Virginia: After 36 years away, former Intuit CEO Brad Smith decided to take the country roads back home to West Virginia — and into the President’s House at Marshall University, his alma mater, which he took over in January 2022. He brought back with him a sizable fortune, accumulated over nearly four decades in business. According to Forbes’ ranking of the richest person in each state, released Thursday for the first time since 2019, he’s West Virginia’s wealthiest resident, worth $700 million. Here’s how he plans to use capital to level the playing field in Appalachia. (Forbes)
“We believe there are as many geniuses here as there are on the coasts.”
The climber who dealt with invisible wounds: Austin Howell free soloed harder and more often than almost anyone else in the country, documenting his exploits on Instagram and a podcast. But behind the scenes his mental health was faltering. “[Soloing is] the single best therapy I’ve ever found for calming my tumultuous mind,” Howell said. “The control that I’ve developed on the wall transfers into my daily life. This is important, because I’m not the guy who ‘beat depression.’ I don’t get to be that guy. I’ve got to manage this for my entire life.” (Outside Magazine)
“For me, climbing is the one time where my mind shuts down. There is no me, no depression, no elation, just the next move.”
The fake socialite reinventing herself: Anna “Delvey” Sorokin managed to trick banks, hotels, private jet companies, and a whole lot of rich people out of ungodly amounts of money. She went to prison for nearly five years. She has been under house arrest for the last eight months for overstaying her visa. She's confined to her apartment except for weekly visits to her parole officer and is prohibited from using social media. “I don’t understand how me being on house arrest would prevent me from defrauding people,” she says. (CNN)
“I’m just trying to learn from my mistakes and move on. I obviously made a lot of bad choices.”
The ex-mayor reflecting on his mistakes: Oh, Bill de Blasio … In this wide-ranging conversation, the former mayor of New York City gets candid about his time in office, reflecting on his blunders and successes, his sometimes fraught relationship with the police, and the perils of Gracie Mansion, among other things. He also had some choice words about the groundhog incident. (New York Magazine)
“I’m very proud of our policies, but I wish I had balanced things better.”
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