The Gradient
The Gradient: Perspectives on AI
Azeem Azhar: The Exponential View

Azeem Azhar: The Exponential View

On AI progress, "AGI" and who's building it, and future outlooks.

Episode 122

I spoke with Azeem Azhar about:

  • The speed of progress in AI

  • Historical context for some of the terminology we use and how we think about technology

  • What we might want our future to look like

Azeem is an entrepreneur, investor, and adviser. He is the creator of Exponential View, a global platform for in-depth technology analysis, and the host of the Bloomberg Original series Exponentially.

Reach me at for feedback, ideas, guest suggestions.

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  • (00:00) Intro

  • (00:32) Ad read — MLOps conference

  • (01:05) Problematizing the term “exponential”

  • (07:35) Moore’s Law as social contract, speed of technological growth and impedances

  • (14:45) Academic incentives, interdisciplinary work, rational agents and historical context

  • (21:24) Monolithic scaling

  • (26:38) Investment in scaling

  • (31:22) On Sam Altman

  • (36:25) Uses of “AGI,” “intelligence”

  • (41:32) Historical context for terminology

  • (48:58) AI and teaching

  • (53:51) On the technology-human divide

  • (1:06:26) New technologies and the futures we want

  • (1:10:50) Inevitability narratives

  • (1:17:01) Rationality and objectivity

  • (1:21:13) Cultural affordances and intellectual history

  • (1:26:15) Centralized and decentralized AI systems

  • (1:32:54) Instruction tuning and helpful/honest/harmless

  • (1:39:18) Azeem’s future outlook

  • (1:46:15) Outro


The Gradient
The Gradient: Perspectives on AI
Deeply researched, technical interviews with experts thinking about AI and technology. Hosted, recorded, researched, and produced by Daniel Bashir.