The things that went wrong this weekend have been wrong since the very beginning — the rest is fine and always has been
Alberto - I found your piece insightful, useful, and not "more of the same" on this topic. Hats off.
Love your newsletter. No arguments with your facts, interpretations of them, or the values that underwrite them. I see your work as smart, thought-provoking and important.
I just want to grieve for a second that it is considered almost sort of “laudably realistic” that aiming for benefiting all humans is a bad idea. A naive “sin.”
Even if it’s impossible in practice, even if it will inspire others to criticize us more harshly, even if it means someone else will win in our capitalist incentive structures, even if our attempt at altruism succeeds at nothing but dragging us a little further away from cynicism… it’s got to be better to fail attempting to be of universal service than to succeed at profitably destroying the world, right?
The big ho hum. Been this way for as long as we have records. This piece throws up its hands and admits that those who scramble for power and who are like that crypto guy: smart, charismatic, and with a product to sell, will sell that product as long as they can and they will use the rest of us to their advantage. It is all okay. What ethics? For cash uber alles is what we have become. Those in the ruling classes accept this. Ho hum. Let's move on. In the meantime, this latest product makes climate change worse. It EATS the minerals and electricity required to run it for the very few who can afford it. Who cares. Ho hum. Those of us not in the top, what, 2.5 %, will be ruled and slaves. Our lives will be eaten too right along with the whole Earth. Only a few men matter anyway. Ho hum. Accept that this is the way it is. All ethics are gone. Yes, this maelstrom of amusing behaviors is all that is left of the human race. These boys are dancing for each other and the rest of us are the fools, scrabbling for food to eat, trying to make the next generation, but we all know how this goes. What would we do without the show? Meanwhile, back at the ranch, human beings use the tools that keep us alive and ho hum those that don't. The show really doesn't matter. In the end, Life itself has existed for billions of years and has adapted to change of all kinds. Sure, these boys say they are better than stupid nature. They have shouted this in every generation for thousands of years. Well, if humans and their loud boys ever exist for billions of years, they can laugh all they want, but only then. Right now, we are at 300,000 years and counting down. Endless hubris for the prancing few (got to have that pale penis friends, got to), or loss of a planet and foodmakers to support all this fun? We will indeed see how this goes.
Alberto writes, " We know that money rules the company (OpenAI), as it couldn’t be otherwise in a capitalist society."
In theory at least, the reach for AGI could have been funded by public money, just as the Manhattan Project was. The democratic process could have been used to allow the public to have a say in how much of their money should go to AGI development, how fast that development should proceed etc. One way to look at this is that OpenAI had to partner with Microsoft because they had failed to sell the public on their mission.
And, the more I think about it, if AGI is really as revolutionary as claimed, why isn't the government more deeply involved? Why aren't they running the show, just as they did with nuclear weapons? Sure, Microsoft has a lot of money. The U.S. government has far more. Isn't it odd that the U.S. government would let a small room full of private citizens develop, own and control what is proposed to be the most important invention in human history?
Agree - the problems started before the overnight OpenAI story.
For example, Altman goes to war against Toner regarding a paper she published - claiming that it is negative towards OpenAI. (not really and that's her job anyway).
Altman and Brockman demoted Sutskever about a month ago, and Sutskever had to get the rest of the Board to put him back.
Also, Altman is out fundraising for at least two other companies he's starting. Conflict of interest?? Lack of communication?? Most likely.
Ultimately, money won.
Congrats for a well articulated piece. And also thanks for the unsolicited advices to OpenAi, but hopefully advice for all those out there that are using moral grounds and a not verifiable future in their narrative.
OMG!!! Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift broke up!?!?! Like, WTF?!?!? X-risk isn’t important anymore??? This totes does NOT slap
Wait... OMG!!!! Tay-Tay and Kelce are back together again?!?!? Like, AWESOME!!! Now we DON’T have to worry about x-risk anymore... ever again... because, like, the cray-cray drama has been contained, which TOTES means NO X-RISK HERE! NOTHING TO SEE! MOVE ALONG!
This whole melodrama may be the dumbest and most pointless news story since the live coverage of CHiPs in pursuit of OJ Simpson, bearing down on him at the breakneck speed of ~35 mph.
Has anyone’s p(doom) changed much in the last five days? Just curious.
Thanks for keeping us up to speed this week. Interesting, insightful and well written as always. Can you do a newsletter on international affairs as well please?