Nov 1, 2023Liked by Steven Sinofsky

I liked how David Deutsch historically positions where we may be today with AI (AGI specifically) in a recent interview with Sean Carroll. He said, "It depends what timescale you're talking about. I think we do not have the slightest clue how to make an AGI."

He believes the break through, in hindsight, will appear obvious and easy, but "it's not going to be reached by more and more billions and trillions of bits of data, that's not the kind of thing it is." He offers an analogy comparing human intelligence to apes. He said, "We differ from... great apes only by a few K of code. In that few K of code is the bootstrap program for bootstrapping this qualitatively different type of program that we run. Infinitely different."

He invites us to go back and consider the question of life in 1800. He said, "some people wanted life to be explicable as an ordinary physical process without any supernatural, without any magic, without any God, just laws of physics. And no one knew how to do that...They didn't have the idea of genes and they didn't have the idea of mutations and natural selection. And that solved it. And you could write down that idea in one paragraph."

But Darwin "felt the need to write a whole book, and probably rightly, because from that paragraph nobody but him would have understood it." He thinks "it's possible that the idea that will open the door to AGI is that kind of idea. There will come a time when everybody thinks it's obvious and that we in our time were being obtuse for not seeing it. But from this end it might be very, very difficult."

It could be that all this effort, skepticism, and fear...and regulation...around AI today will be supplanted by a discovery that makes all the handwringing for not. Just as you point out with the invention of spreadsheets, what will we do with those teams of people who erase paper ledgers every time some manager demands a re-calc?

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Nov 2, 2023Liked by Steven Sinofsky

I signed up after reading Ben Thompson’s excerpts of this fascinating post. Thank you!

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All excellent ways to think about this.

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