EP 50 – Marc Andreessen on AI saving us all

Listen now on:



For our 50th episode, we went all out. By popular demand, we have Marc Andreessen back on the show to discuss his controversial post “Why AI will save the world”. We went deep on his post and also got Marc to respond to some of the responses and critiques. He didn’t hold back.

From AI in education to out of control AI processes to immanetizing the eschaton (what??) to maximizing paperclips we discussed it all.


1:31 Discussing “Why AI Will Save the World”
2:40 The Baptists and the Bootleggers of AI Doomerism in Washington D.C
5:49 Private Truths and Public Lies
8:54 The Parallels between Prohibition and AI
11:27 Why AI is a Positive Force for Society
13:22 AI: Artificial Intelligence or Augmented Intelligence?
15:50 Definining intelligence
20:46 Marc’s Definition of Superintelligence
25:11 How Marc and his 8 Year Old Son use ChatGPT
28:43 What would it mean if you had an AI that was as smart as Einstein?
30:06 Marc’s counter response to Why AI won’t kill us all
31:07 Marc’s response to AI as a runaway process/orthogonality thesis
38:07 On Hostile Powers Using AI
38:38 The Precautionary Principle and Fire
40:37 Parallels between AI and Nuclear Weapons?
46:29 The Two AI Counterfactuals that worry Marc
48:52 China’s intentions with AI
52:07 Intelligent Design’s Impact on Humanity
55:31 Why is open source important to AI?
58:31 Marc’s Advice to Founders in AI
1:01:00 What Marc would say to World Leaders about AI
1:04:22 Cultural Portrayals of AI
1:13:15 What is the next step after GPT4?
1:18:50 Data’s Role in AI Advancement
1:22:18 Synthetic Data and AI
1:26:44 How ChatGPT Impacts Education
1:33:58 Does AI take the place of human relationships?
1:37:35 Defining “Immanentize the Eschaton”
1:46:26 Marc’s Favorite ChatGPT Prompts

Article/Book Links

Notable Quotes

  • “Ernest Hemingway once described the process of writing, as you opening your veins and letting the blood flow out onto the page. My version of that is I just wait until my frustration spikes to the point where my head’s about to explode. Explode it did onto my keyboard in this piece.”

  • “[AI] is like a super genius at engaging with you in conversations about quantum physics and yet it can’t play Wordle…it’s actually a very interesting topic in the industry: trying to understand why these things are good at some things and why they’re not at others.”

  • “If this technology is allowed to develop,humanity is going to have a lot of thought partners that are going to dramatically level up the kinds of things that can be done in the world…we could be on the cusp of an incredible scientific breakthrough.”

  • “The ability to have sophisticated intentions is not the same thing as having sophisticated capabilities.”

  • “You can morally reason with an LLM today…and LLMs are actually perfectly capable of engaging in a very sophisticated moral composition.”

  • “AI is a technology, it’s a tool. Just like any other technology or tool it is a human-made creation of math and code running on ships and networks. In this regard, it’s like any other piece of software, any other technological tool that we’ve ever built. Technological tools can be used for good things and they can be used for bad things.”

  • “Nuclear power was basically put on a shelf for 50 years because of this moral intuition that said, “Because nuclear weapons are bad, therefore nuclear energy is bad.” It has just been a horrific not just technological and economic, but moral mistake. That’s precisely the kind of mistakes that I’m worried that we’re going make with AI threat for ironically many of the same reasons”

  • “If you’re worried about AI being used to develop offensive weapons, you should use AI to develop different defenses in whatever domain you’re worried about. And so, AI should be a technology that lots and lots of good people should be able to pick up and use for lots and lots of good purposes. I think that alone is a good general answer to the concern about bad people doing bad things.”

  • “AI is highly likely to be one of the central technologies of our time and has the potential to make life much better.”

  • “If there’s one concern that people in the space have, it’s the inability to improve these models much beyond where they are because the existing companies have already exhausted the available training data…Then there’s a very fundamental science question, which is: Will synthetic data be useful in training AIs?”

  • “Every kid from now on for the next millennium is going to start out life with an AI teacher, tutor, assistant, coach, mentor, friend, and ally who is going to be right there at their side every step of the way…Overwhelmingly, I think this is gonna be a net positive for quality of life very broadly.”

  • “With my prompts I attempt to dive into how well the machine itself understand human behavior.”