First of all, who am I? And what gives me the credibility to write a newsletter about AI?

I’m Batman. My name is Alessandro Perilli.

I’m a former tech executive with 23 years of experience in the enterprise IT industry (a fancy way to say business-to-business).

I have been working on artificial intelligence for the last seven years, and in 2022 I led a team of talented AI experts from IBM Research to do something really cool with large language models and software automation.

Twenty years ago, I created a media project similar to Synthetic Work that became quite successful.

You can read more about me on my personal website, on LinkedIn, on Twitter, or on a very nice profile that Memberful wrote about me: Launching a newsletter about artificial intelligence for the people: Synthetic Work.

With that cleared up, let’s talk about what matters.

Synthetic Work is a reasonably serious newsletter on the most serious of topics:

Is artificial intelligence helping humans do their jobs better, or is it stealing those jobs? Is it changing the type of jobs we do? Or is it doing nothing at all and we are all wasting time here?

People I talk to sometimes have more specific questions depending on what stage they've reached:

  • Shock
    I've just seen Bing answering questions with the same factual mistakes I normally make, and with the same bias I usually have. But much faster. Like, really fast. Who would pay me to make those mistakes super slowly when there's this now?
  • Denial
    Cloning the voice of George Clooney to make him say horrible things is entertaining for one evening, but I work in Finance. I already have plenty of chances to be mean. Who cares?
  • Anger
    I can finally pretend that I'm important and wealthy and let you speak with my secretary who in reality is ChatGTP. But I still have 3,000 calls a day from angry customers at the customer service I manage. I am not happy and you are not helping me. Oh sorry, was I supposed to ask a question?
  • Bargaining
    I was too busy avoiding the 72 scams a day when I tried to make money with NFTs and crypto and all the other web3 crap to pay attention. If only I had focused on those 30 seconds Linear Algebra lessons on TikTok. It's too late for me, isn't it?
  • Depression
    People are talking about generative AI at the bus station and all day long on LinkedIn. I don't understand a word of what they are saying. I feel I'm missing out big time, but this stuff sounds really complicated. Should I retire early? I'm so close to retiring early.
  • Acceptance
    Generating cute images of corgis with Stable Diffusion is fun and all, but what does it mean for me? Are we going to build an economy on generated corgis? Should I incorporate an Etsy for synthetic Corgis startup?

Maybe you want to know the answers to these questions, too.

Whether you are the CIO of a large company, the entrepreneur of a small business, a nation’s government, a professional that wants to help customers, or an employee that fears for her/his job, this newsletter is meant for you.

This is what I want to accomplish:

  • understand what’s possible today with AI, why it matters, and how it's changing the nature of work.
  • find out the people and organizations that are doing something real with AI in different industries.
  • get a sense of the maturity of modern AI in solving business and societal problems.

If I have some time left, I probably have to iron some clothes, but if I don't, this is what I aspire to accomplish with your help:

  • we write a chronicle of how our society succeeded (or failed) in augmenting human labour with artificial labour.
  • we build a valuable resource for everybody (not just technical people) to grasp the big picture on AI.
  • we come together as a community of innovators that are changing the world rather than a bunch of chickens scared to death.

What I do NOT want to do:

  • write a newsletter for data scientists and machine learning engineers that need tooling to productise AI (what has been poorly called "MLOps"). There is an ocean of those.
  • turn this newsletter into a place where IT vendors can dump their press announcements. Don’t bother, I can click spam faster than you can click send.
  • break the news. If you are a trader that needs to know what's happening before anybody else, just plant a fake employee at the company you care to monitor like everybody else does.

P.s.: It would be exquisite to tell this story together:

  • Business leaders: if you are doing something interesting with AI in your organization, and you want to brag about it, get in touch.
  • AI practitioners: if want to show what can be done with the latest AI models to impress the readers of Synthetic Work and maybe land a job (I make no promises), get in touch.