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« Monday Overnight Open Thread (7/8/24) | Main | The Morning Report — 7/9/24 »
July 09, 2024

Daily Tech News 9 July 2024

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  • Goldman Sachs released a report on generative AI - the hot new thing pushing stock valuations of key tech companies into the trillions. In short: It's trash. (Where's Your Ed)

    The article linked above is not short but it is a good read. The full report is available for download and it doesn't pull any punches either:
    The promise of generative AI technology to transform companies, industries, and societies continues to be touted, leading tech giants, other companies, and utilities to spend an estimated ~$1tn on capex in coming years, including significant investments in data centers, chips, other AI infrastructure, and the power grid. But this spending has little to show for it so far beyond reports of efficiency gains among developers. And even the stock of the company reaping the most benefits to date - Nvidia - has sharply corrected.
    From the article:
    In essence, on top of generative AI not having any killer apps, not meaningfully increasing productivity or GDP, not generating any revenue, not creating new jobs or massively changing existing industries, it also requires America to totally rebuild its power grid, which Janous regrettably adds the US has kind of forgotten how to do.
    There is that, yes.
    Generative AI is not going to become AGI, nor will it become the kind of artificial intelligence you've seen in science fiction. Ultra-smart assistants like Jarvis from Iron Man would require a form of consciousness that no technology currently - or may ever - have - which is the ability to both process and understand information flawlessly and make decisions based on experience, which, if I haven't been clear enough, are all entirely distinct things.
    Right. Although the understanding doesn't have to be flawless, merely good enough for the task at hand, and cheap enough that it's not simpler to just train a human and pay them to do it.

    Generative AI doesn't understand anything - it is a language model, not a fact model; doesn't gain experience, at least not in its current form, which is trained once at enormous expense and then left to rot; and doesn't make decisions.

    It's not AGI and has no path to become AGI. Terry Winograd's SHRDLU from 1968 is in important respects more sophisticated than ChatGPT, even though it was written by a single grad student on an 18-bit computer more than fifty years ago.



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