Thursday, April 18, 2024

Another Crazy Interview: Mark Zuckerberg

YouTube copy:

8,847 views Apr 18, 2024 Dwarkesh Podcast
Zuck on:

- Llama 3
- open sourcing towards AGI
- custom silicon, synthetic data, & energy constraints on scaling
- Caesar Augustus, intelligence explosion, bioweapons, $10b models, & much more



00:00:00 Llama 3
00:09:15 Coding on path to AGI
00:26:07 Energy bottlenecks
00:34:03 Is AI the most important technology ever?
00:38:04 Dangers of open source
00:54:40 Caesar Augustus and metaverse
01:05:36 Open sourcing the $10b model & custom silicon
01:16:02 Zuck as CEO of Google+

I don’t know what to make of this. Zuckerberg’s a smart guy. As founder and CEO of Meta (formerly Facebook) he’s also rich and powerful. I take it as self-evident that there’s some kind of connection between being a smart guy and whatever/however he became rich and powerful. I also take it as self-evident that the path that led to being rich and powerful was touched by more than a little luck.

When he talks about energy bottlenecks on the way to more and more compute for whatever, I figure he more or less knows what he’s talking about. That’s a thinkable problem and he’s got smart staff who can dig into all the details and advise him.

And when he talks about AI being the most important technology ever, now things get tricky. He obviously thinks it is. Lots of people think that, or something close to it. I’m one of them. But beyond that, just why that’s the case and what it means for the future, who knows? But some people have thought about that thing more deeply than others, much more deeply.

How deeply has Zuckerberg thought about it? How deeply could he have possibly thought about it? He dropped out of Harvard in his sophomore year to run his company. He’s been running it ever since. That doesn’t give him much to read deeply in a wide range of subjects, philosophy, cultural evolution, cognitive science, the history of science and technology, anthropology and so forth and so on. I believe at one time he set out to visit all 50 states in America, so he spent a lot of time traveling. He probably had some time to read. Did he read up on everything that’s relevant to thinking about the history of humankind? But how much could he have possibly read?

Nor is it a matter of just reading. You have to think about it. And to really think you need to write and discuss. How much of that has he done on those kinds of subjects?

And yet now he’s having a conversation with Dwarkesh Patel on really Big Picture Issues. It sounds to me like he’s mostly just making stuff up. If he were an A.I. we’d say he’s hallucinating, confabulating. But what else can he do?

Note that I say this, not in a spirit of criticizing Zuckerberg, or, for that matter, of Patel. I’m writing in in a spirit of observation. THAT’s what they’re doing.

Do they HAVE to do it? Well, Dwarkesh has more leeway than Zuckerberg. Dwarkesh is just a podcaster. He’s got to get clicks, and he’s in a position to attract interviews that bring him clicks. Nothing much depends on his interviews in any direct way. 

But a great deal depends on the decisions Zuckerberg makes about Meta, over which he seems to have extraordinary control. And the nature of Meta’s business is such that those Big Picture Issues bear on how Meta utilizes its resources. He may not have had time to think about those issues very deeply, but he has no choice but to make decisions of that kind.

That’s crazy.

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