Naval: A lot of the theories as to why we’re imminently going to create an AGI are based in a naïve extrapolation of computational power.
It’s almost an induction of more and more computational power. They say, “AI has already gotten good at vision and beating humans at chess and at video games; therefore, it’s going to start thinking soon.”
Another offshoot is this idea that humans are eating up all the Earth’s resources, so having more humans on Earth is a bad idea.
But if you believe that knowledge comes through creativity, then any child born tomorrow could be the next Einstein or Feynman. They could discover something that will change the world forever with creativity that has nonlinear outputs and effects.
Brett: At the moment we’re very concerned about the pollution and the loss of certain species, and these are legitimate concerns for some people. But it should never be at the expense of the long-term vision that we can solve all of those problems—and far more—if we could progress at a faster rate by using the resources that we have available to us.
Naval: Why does the world always seem to be full of more pessimists than optimists, especially when we still live with mostly Enlightenment Era values and such tremendous innovation?
There are probably multiple reasons for that. It’s easier to be a pessimist than an optimist. It’s hard to guess how life is going to improve; it’s easier to extrapolate how it’s going to get worse.
You could also argue that the risk of ruin is so large—you can’t come back from it—that we’re hardwired to be pessimists.
If you’re correct as an optimist, then you have a small gain. But if you’re wrong when you’re optimistic and you get eaten by a tiger, then it goes to zero.