‘Few have the faintest glimmer of what is about to hit them’ – the AI Arms Race

Tomorrow, I will be publishing an essay and video on ‘Memory, Artificial Intelligence and Caterpillar Soup’ (the Caterpillar Soup will make sense tomorrow).

Are we about to solve the mysteries of memory with AI?  and the Caterpillar Soup.

As part of the research for this essay, I was looking for some supplementary material to emphasize the frightening amount of money and energy predicted to be pumped into Artificial Intelligence in the coming years – the arms race.

Then I came across the ‘trillion-dollar cluster’ thesis; part of Leopold Aschenbrenner’s ‘Situational Awareness’ series.

Here’s the series:

There’s also a new Dwarkesh podcast where Leopold talks through a lot of his thoughts.

Leopold Aschenbrenner was dismissed from OpenAI’s ‘alignment team’ for allegedly leaking confidential information.

I won’t go into any great detail here, but it’s worth checking out this work.

I’m incessantly rambling about the impending (and underappreciated) changes that are coming. To the point where it feels as though some of my friends are ready to stage an intervention.

(Unfortunately) finding Leopold’s work has only strengthened my plea.

If you don’t have time to listen to the conversation, at least read page three – the introduction.

And if you don’t have time to read page three, here’s the most important snippet from that page.

“The AGI race has begun. We are building machines that can think and reason. By 2025/26, these machines will outpace college graduates. By the end of the decade, they will be smarter than you or I; we will have superintelligence, in the true sense of the word. Along the way, national security forces not seen in half a century will be unleashed, and before long, The Project will be on. If we’re lucky, we’ll be in an all-out race with the CCP; if we’re unlucky, an all-out war. 

Everyone is now talking about AI, but few have the faintest glimmer of what is about to hit them. Nvidia analysts still think 2024 might be close to the peak. Mainstream pundits are stuck on the willful blindness of “it’s just predicting the next word”. They see only hype and business-as-usual; at most they entertain another internet-scale technological change. 

Before long, the world will wake up. But right now, there are perhaps a few hundred people, most of them in San Francisco and the AI labs, that have situational awareness.“

Leopold Aschenbrenner