Artificial Intelligence with Led Fridman: Greg Brockman: OpenAI and AGI

Full podcast here

  • Do you view the physical world and the digital world as different? What is the gap? A lot of it boils down to iteration speed. What motivates me is building things. I discovered programming. In programming, you think hard about a problem. You write down the solution in a very obscure form that we call a program. Then it is in humanity’s library. Anyone can get the benefit from it. The scalability is massive. [1:26] 

  • The thing that really appeals to me about the digital world is that you can have this insane leverage. A single individual with an idea is able to affect the entire planet. That is something really hard to do if you are moving around physical atoms. [2:21] 

  • I think it is interesting to think about humans as information processing systems. It’s a good way to describe how the world works and what we are capable of. [3:06] 

  • The internet means I am able to instantly communicate with any other human on the planet. I am able to retrieve any piece of knowledge that the human race has ever had. [3:23] 

  • I think this is an interesting perspective to think about: You have this collective intelligence of all society. The economy itself is a superhuman machine that is optimizing some thing. In some ways, a company has a will of its own. You have all these individuals who are pursuing their own individual goals. But the company does something that is this emergent thing. It is a useful abstraction. [4:01] 

  • We think of ourselves as the most intelligent and powerful things on the planet but there are things that are bigger than us. These systems we all contribute to. [4:25] 

  • If you’ve read Foundation by Isaac Asimov. There is this concept of psychohistory in there which is effectively if you have trillions of beings that you may be able to predict what that huge macro being would do and it is almost independent of what the individuals want. [4:38] 

  • Look at things like the telephone. Invented by two people on the same day. What does that mean about the shape of innovation? I think that what is going on is everyone is building on the shoulders of the same giants. [5:19] 

  • You can’t really hope to create something no one else ever would. If Einstein wasn’t born someone else would have come up with relativity. [5:46] 

  • Think about the creation of nuclear weapons. The most important question in the world was how do we set ourselves up in a space where we can survive as a species. [9:01] 

  • With AGI the question is slightly different. There is how do we not get the negative effects but there is also the positive side. One of the core reasons AGI can be powerful and transformative is due to technological development. If you have something as capable as a human but much more scalable you want that thing to read all scientific literature and create cures for disease. [9:17] 

  • You want it to think about how to create material abundance, to solve societal problems we have trouble with, how to clean up the environment etc. [9:45] 

  • How can you even picture what a world with new technology would be like? Imagine we are in 1950 and I’m trying to describe Uber to someone. [11:07]

  • To create something you need to get a bunch of things right. To destroy you just need to get one thing wrong. [12:24] 

  • I think it is very clear if you could build an AGI it will be the most transformative technology humans ever create. [19:38] 

  • AI has transitioned from an academic pursuit to an industrial pursuit. [25:44]

  • The true mission isn’t for Open AI to build AGI. The true mission is for AGI to go well for humanity. [31:48] 

  • [In terms of content creation] Trying to distinguish between robot and human is a losing battle. [52:03]