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Recommendation: Marc Andreessen on possibilities for AI

Andreessen’s Why AI Will Save the World (echoing the title of his prescient 2005 essay Why Software is Eating the World) is well worth reading, even if (especially if?) you don’t end up agreeing with his conclusions. His framing of AI within the history of technological change is really helpful.

Here’s the opening, to whet your appetite:

The era of Artificial Intelligence is here, and boy are people freaking out.

Fortunately, I am here to bring the good news: AI will not destroy the world, and in fact may save it.

First, a short description of what AI is: The application of mathematics and software code to teach computers how to understand, synthesize, and generate knowledge in ways similar to how people do it. AI is a computer program like any other – it runs, takes input, processes, and generates output. AI’s output is useful across a wide range of fields, ranging from coding to medicine to law to the creative arts. It is owned by people and controlled by people, like any other technology.

A shorter description of what AI isn’t: Killer software and robots that will spring to life and decide to murder the human race or otherwise ruin everything, like you see in the movies.

An even shorter description of what AI could be: A way to make everything we care about better.

Why AI Can Make Everything We Care About Better

The most validated core conclusion of social science across many decades and thousands of studies is that human intelligence makes a very broad range of life outcomes better. Smarter people have better outcomes in almost every domain of activity: academic achievement, job performance, occupational status, income, creativity, physical health, longevity, learning new skills, managing complex tasks, leadership, entrepreneurial success, conflict resolution, reading comprehension, financial decision making, understanding others’ perspectives, creative arts, parenting outcomes, and life satisfaction.

Further, human intelligence is the lever that we have used for millennia to create the world we live in today: science, technology, math, physics, chemistry, medicine, energy, construction, transportation, communication, art, music, culture, philosophy, ethics, morality. Without the application of intelligence on all these domains, we would all still be living in mud huts, scratching out a meager existence of subsistence farming. Instead we have used our intelligence to raise our standard of living on the order of 10,000X over the last 4,000 years.

What AI offers us is the opportunity to profoundly augment human intelligence to make all of these outcomes of intelligence – and many others, from the creation of new medicines to ways to solve climate change to technologies to reach the stars – much, much better from here…

Marc Andreessen – Why AI Will Save the World


See also:

DriverlessCroc AI fun:
Eye on AI: ChatGPT and Me
The AI menace that no-one talks about // Hype- Text Transfer Protocol
Unreal City: T. S. Eliot’s Wasteland Jukebox feat. Dall-E [known to be the wisest woman in Europe] (underrated)
In which we meet an AI

Related Issues
Kevin Kelly – AI Dreamin’
Darwin among the machines: Samuel Butler (1863) on the mechanical master race
Intelligences (I like this one)
Technology (4): General Purpose Technologies
Learning environments: kind, wicked and… fiendish?

Deep literacy: what it takes (language models for humans)
WTF? Technology and you

Other AI demos and opinion
OpenAI Codex; or, why you might not want to go all in on becoming a full-stack developer
Open AI’s DALL-E 2
Sam Altman on Public Sector AI, ownership and incentives
Kate Crawford and Azeem Azhar on AI’s societal impact: positioning technology as servant

I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommended resources...