The Divinely Discontent Chatbot User

It’s the early days. One will emerge as the next “Google” of the search engines. Expectations of what software can do are rising. Those expectations are becoming indiscernible from the magic that software is becoming.
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Date

Sunday February 4, 2024

Topics
tech
software
saas
llm
ai
ai strategy

There is Divine Discontent in the Consumer Appetite

Jeff Bezos alluded to the “divinely discontent” customer in a 2017 shareholder letter (Elements of Amazon’s Day 1 Culture | AWS Executive Insights).

One thing I love about customers is that they are divinely discontent. Their expectations are never static – they go up. It’s human nature. We didn’t ascend from our hunter-gatherer days by being satisfied. People have a voracious appetite for a better way, and yesterday’s ‘wow’ quickly becomes today’s ‘ordinary’. I see that cycle of improvement happening at a faster rate than ever before 2017 Amazon_Shareholder_Letter.pdf

Image: Divine Discontent

More googling shows the phrase was also used by Neal A Maxwell in 1976 (Notwithstanding My Weakness):

What can we do to manage these vexing feelings of inadequacy? Here are but a few suggestions: (1) We can distinguish more clearly between divine discontent and the devil’s dissonance, between dissatisfaction with self and disdain for self. We need the first and must shun the second, remembering that when conscience calls to us from the next ridge, it is not solely to scold but also to beckon.

(Just dropping that in case Bezos gets all the credit for the term 😉.)

LLM Discontent

People grappling with building LLMs are facing this discontent at an alarming rate. The LLM Chatbot Arena Leaderboard is a testament to how quickly appetites will change. Many AI tool providers refrain from vendor lock in and try to build LLM agnostic tooling.

How do you compete? Well, most of us aren’t building these foundational models. How do they compete with each other? None of us care. We just want a good one.

But ask yourself, would you rather have Bard from today or nothing from 2022?

These leaderboards are fascinating because in 14 months since ChatGPT emerged we’ve become so reliant on these tools but yet they’re not even old enough to walk or talk by human standards. Yet we now have Bard, ChatGPT, LLaMA, Mistral, Claude, and whatever’s cooking at Amazon/Apple/Microsoft (behind the scenes as a contingency plan I’m sure) and the Chinese/Indian companies that don’t want to rely on the U.S.

It’s the early days of search: Yahoo, AOL, Ask Jeeves, etc. One will emerge as your favorite perhaps, like how we all use Google even though Bing probably isn’t that bad anymore (I wouldn’t know…).1

Point is: it’s a race to the bottom, the customer is fickle. They know this, which is why they keep releasing new stuff every 6 months.

Point is: as you build your LLM application, your customer will be divinely discontent with you. This is nothing knew, it’s just the age of software development.

Expectations of what software can do are rising. Those expectations are becoming indiscernible from the magic that software is becoming.

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Bryan lives somewhere at the intersection of faith, fatherhood, and futurism and writes about tech, books, Christianity, gratitude, and whatever’s on his mind. If you liked reading, perhaps you’ll also like subscribing: