What we’re about
From the time of ancient ancestors, we have distinguished ourselves by our consciousness within communities, use of tools, and interest in big questions about the cosmos and our lives within it. Even as the knowledge, means, and desire to celebrate life has grown, the big questions persist.
Finding answers is now both more exciting and more troubling than ever before. It’s exciting because we're witnessing dramatic increases in...
— knowledge in every field: the physical and biological sciences, the social and psychological sciences, and in the arts
— new technologies enabling an overwhelming flood of new facts, knowledge, techniques, as well as falsehoods
— new techniques, frameworks, and regimens that can jump-start and accelerate personal, professional, and community growth.
The questions are also more troubling because we face new problems, difficult for us to overcome, including an existential threat to our survival as a species.
— Can we create the knowledge we need to resolve our most significant problems?
— Can we stir up the courage to act on knowledge in timely ways to resolve problems and enhance our lives?
The jury is still out on those last two questions, but we know at least this. Openness to learning from each other is the key to getting at them.
Our meetings focus on a diverse mix of books/topics/questions of significant scope, impact, or interest. Our meetings objective is to Go Big and Go Broad, to cover as many different types of Big Picture topics in as much detail as we can as best we can.
The purpose of The Bend Big Picture Book Club is to explore big questions, celebrate life, and have fun with friends old and new.
BOOK CLUB CAVEAT… You DO NOT have to read the book to participate… Most important books are summarized in online videos or short articles. And for each topic, we’ll provide at least 1 summarizing video link and spend time summarizing the topic content as a group during the meeting.
Clicking on the link below opens a web-based spreadsheet containing a list of the books we've discussed so far by Year, Month, TopicType, and Title.
Draft materials from meetings are archived at the link below. They include rough notes, images, outlines, and miscellany, all organized by meeting. Some are way shy of being good, others, IMO, highlight important insight. It's an amorphous mix of stuff.
Topic of the Month (TotM) meetings focus on books/topics/questions of significant scope, impact, or interest. Our TotM meetings objective is to Go Big and Go Broad, to cover as many different types of Big Picture topics as we can.
Big Picture Event (BPE) meetings are organized around unique events that happen from time to time. Lectures, movies, plays, music are all in play for these sorts of meetings. The 2017 Solar Eclipse was on our calendar as a BPE.
My Personal Passion (MPP) meetings are planned and led by members with desire to share interest and learning with others about their passion. MPPs provide an opportunity for sharing and learning more about that completely familiar or weirdly strange thing you’re into... :-)
We look forward to you joining us for discussion, refreshment, and connection!
Upcoming events (1)See all
- "What is ChatGPT Doing... and Why Does It Work?" + GPT-4 Demo for NewcomersLink visible for attendees
This meetup discussion will have two parts, each going for about an hour...
- Book Discussion: What Is ChatGPT Doing... and Why Does It Work?
- GPT-4 Hands-On Session for Newcomers + Q & A
Join us for a discussion of one of the best early books about ChatGPT and other Large Language Models.
Stephen Wolfram, a pioneer in computational science, offers a deep yet accessible dive into the intricacies of ChatGPT. Whether you're well-versed in AI or new to the topic, with a bit of effort, you will be able to grasp Wolfram's narrative about the significance and mechanics of ChatGPT.
Topics covered in the book include:
- The foundational principles behind ChatGPT.
- The convergence of computation, language, and artificial intelligence.
- Real-world applications and potential of ChatGPT.
- Ethical considerations and challenges posed by advanced chatbot technologies.
- Wolfram's vision for the future of AI and human-computer interaction.
As you read, consider the following questions for our discussion:
- How does Wolfram's perspective on ChatGPT challenge or align with your own understanding of AI?
- In what ways do you see ChatGPT influencing the future of communication and technology?
- What ethical considerations stood out to you the most, and why?
- How do you envision the balance between human intelligence and AI evolving in the future?
- Which real-world applications of ChatGPT excite or concern you the most?
The discussion is intended to be accessible to both LLM enthusiasts and those new to the subject. Wolfram's writing bridges the gap between intricate technical details and broader conceptual ideas, making it a great read for everyone.
After the book discussion
I'll lead a hands-on session to demonstrate some GPT-4 capabilities and shortcomings. During the demo, I'll also answer questions as best I can.
-- CAVEAT EMPTOR: I have significant experience with GPT-4, but I am NOT an LLM (GPT-4) expert. In fact, one of my motives for leading this meetup is to learn more from others about it.