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9:30am on Saturday, 11th March, 2023:

Hot Air


My Internet came back late yesterday afternoon, just in time for a meeting with a group I'm a member of that's concerned with interactive storytelling. I showed up in Zoom and saw Lee Sheldon there, with whom I had an exciting conversation 15 years ago in a restaurant that somehow managed to make it to Youtube.

This wasn't the restaurant conversation I mentioned when I saw him, though. It was the one we had in a restaurant in Hanover. What happened was that we ordered a souflé and the waitress had to make it herself at the table. She was very nervous, because she hadn't done it before, so the senior waiter came over to supervise her. Lee was very kind to her, and it was this that I was trying to reference when I began with "Hi Lee! I haven't seen you since ...".

Unfortunately, I couldn't remember the word "souflé", so started babbling about domes of hot air in a way that made it vaguely sound as if he'd been rude to the waitress, which was the exact opposite. Needless to say, he (like me) had no idea what I was talking about.

Anyway, during the admin part of the meeting, I cranked up Google and tried to get it to tell me what the word I was trying to think of was. I was unsuccessful. I then cranked up ChatGPT and gave it my vague description of what a souflé is and it told me right away.

This is quite useful. I was perhaps another 5 or 10 minutes away from being told the answer automatically (having set something up in my head to do a search), but being able to ask ChatGPT to recognise what I was talking about from a somewhat inane description saved me those 5 or 10 minutes of mild annoyance.

The Hanover souflé was the first souflé I'd ever had. It had no taste and was like eating hot air. In other words, the waitress made it perfectly.

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