This weekend saw more than a hundred AI programmers and engineers meet up to “build AI solutions to the most pressing challenges in San Francisco,” at a Fort Mason hackathon that hoped to move fast and break bureaucracy.
I’ll admit to being a little skeptical of artificial intelligence (AI) "solutions" to things, as the early-stage, highly mistake-prone technology often shows its intelligence to be quite artificial, alright.
Isn’t AI developed by the same Silicon Valley types who just needed their bank bailed out? Aren’t these the same crypto hucksters who not long ago thought monkey jpegs were worth hundreds of thousands of dollars? And don’t get me started on anything on any terminology beginning with “e/” (which is supposed to mean “effective”), shown to be a complete scam by Sam Bankman-Fried’s so-called “effective altruism.” Yet the bros are totally unchastened by this and are now pushing the cult-ish echo chamber concept of “effective accelerationism” (“e/acc”).
300+ e/acc engineers just spent 24 hours building AI solutions to San Francisco’s most pressing challenges— housing, safety, public health— Alex Reibman (@AlexReibman) November 6, 2023
The Mayor even showed up.
Tweeting the finalists building a better future for SF at the @accelerate_sf Hackathon at @fdotinc (🧵): pic.twitter.com/vbxOx14gUW
There’s no shortage of examples of Silicon Valley moguls who think they're so much smarter than the government, even though none has yet to hold office and prove it. That said, there’s certainly also a lot of ineffectiveness and redundancy in SF city government, and fresh technology could indeed fix that. With that in mind, a tech nonprofit called Accelerate SF held an AI hackathon at Fort Mason over the weekend, as KGO reports, which organizers say was intended to “build AI solutions to the most pressing challenges in San Francisco.”
Mayor @LondonBreed calls for urgent charter reform, asking engineers to use LLMs to find outdated and redundant policies in the city with @Hirshberg at @accelerate_sf @fdotinc pic.twitter.com/inTcsHx2wb— Accelerate SF (@accelerate_sf) November 5, 2023
SF City Attorney David Chiu was one of the judges. "You had a bunch of folks who literally thought overnight of what to do and by Sunday afternoon, had demos that were almost ready for primetime,” Chiu told KGO. “These are changes that can happen overnight if we can figure out the right way."
We built 311+ & won 1st @accelerate_sf this weekend! 🥇— Abel X 🧁 (@engineer_abel) November 6, 2023
With my good friends @Lizzie and Chris Brox from @Twilio, we built a better AI-powered 311 hotline. We had a lot of fun making tech to lift the tide for all San Francisco residents!
ps; Hello @LondonBreed! pic.twitter.com/0JvEX0pS5l
Mission Local has a profile on the hackathon’s winner, called 311+, a sort of automated charging up of the city’s 311 system for reporting trash, graffiti, and other issues. “When you call 311 … you go through a menu,” one of the app’s developers told Mission Local. “You press one. You go through another menu. You press eight. You go through another menu. It takes forever to get to an actual person to answer your question and help you with your request.”
“This is a great place for natural language to just ask someone, what do you want and where are you? How can I help you?,” they added.
Second place went to an app that determines a property's eligibility to add an alternative dwelling unit (ADU) to a property. "It runs data from the planning department and it tells you how many units could be built on that lot, how much profit could be made and what it would cost to develop there," Accelerate SF co-host Kay Sorin told KGO.
According to the event invite, these hackathon winners will get “exclusive opportunities to present these submissions to city and state level decision makers.”
Photo: @EminIsrafil via Twitter