For the longest time had scoffed at the incoming artificial intelligence revolution we're just starting to see form into a mass adoption phenomena.. Actively both fearing the disruption it could cause while at the same time underestimating it's use cases or effectiveness to change the world..
This is no longer the case, AI and the computer sciences powering it are more than here to stay and will almost certainly become one of if not the most important invention we've had since harnessing electricity and silicon. There are very few tasks a well trained AI or AI powered robot will not be able to outperform or dollar cost ratio crush human intelligence at.. Which is both a scary and incredibly exciting thought. Guys like DARPA, Google, Amazon and Boston Dynamics have been working on GAI (General Artificial Intelligence) and robotic bodies to make their code come alive in the physical space for a long time now and we're basically on the cusp of it being ready. Cue your fears of SKYNET type situations happening, it could be a reality within the next generation or so!
But all fears and jokes aside, the technology and ability to use AI to enhance human invention, task handling and to diagnostics are freaking nuts! There is a zero percent chance this stuff won't disrupt nearly all industry and change how we all live even more than it is already.
Nerd Shit, Because Learning & Engineering
For most folks, they really don't care how things work, just that they work.. For myself I love learning and understanding how things are engineered and function, so decided to finally dip my toes into the field and get some hardware to begin making my own microscopic sized AI development capability a reality. For the low low price of around $90 USD I took a chance and managed to grab a few prior generation Nvidia M40 machine learning cards. These are basically the Datacenter Titan X from the research I have done looking into the things.. Either way at friggin' ~$45 USD a pop? Can't say no.
While these cards were originally used in server farms / data centers that used forced air cooling and thus have no video output or built in cooling fans, that is a pretty easy fix with the application of some 3D printed fan shrouds and a bit of tinkering.
Will These be Used to Take Over the Planet?
Now are these cutting edge technology? Fuck no.. But what they are collectively is about 6000 CUDA cores and 24GB of potential machine learning, data computing and cryptography hashing units. At around 250w peak power a piece the power requirements are up there, but when you compare the price of the newer hardware which is far more capable but also 10x - 50x the price per computation power, this should be an interesting experiment. Is there hardware that vastly outperforms this stuff? Of course, but compared to my AMD GPUs that I've been running locally, these older Nvidia units open up a whole new array of machine learning libraries and whatnot to play with.
The biggest limit on these units is the RAM amount bordering on the smaller side, as well as the lack of the now commonly used TENSOR cores that a lot of the newer units have.. But at 1/10th the price of a single current generation card I thought it might be a sufficient starting point.. and if nothing else a fun project to print the fan shrouds and get them operating on my workstation, vastly increasing the ability to do compute intensive activities like AI art through Stable Diffusion, creating stuff like "deepfakes" using really powerful tools like GeneFace, hash cracking with stuff like aircrack-ng or simply getting my feet wet creating small neural networks and training them. If I end up getting deep into the ML stuff then great! If not it was like $100 or less to try it out and have something to tinker with or feed hashes to if I wanted to bust some light cryptography.. Either way I've spent far larger sums of money on far less useful shit, and I think the investment to see what exactly can be done and learned using these things is worth it in the end.
In the end, if you don't understand and embrace technology, you will ultimately become a victim in some way to it.. With this ethos and me finally giving up my hate for AI / ML stuff I think the stuff that comes of it in the future could potentially be awesome. Thanks for reading and voting!