• Skipping ahead, they got into another argument, about what even counts as science.: LeCun made a rather narrow-minded claim, and Musk called him on it. LeCun then protests too much and digs himself deeper. I basically agree with the first sentence of his monologue, but after that LeCun foolishly conflates the common currency of science (publication) with the thing (discovery) itself. And then he digs himself further to make grand but entirely untenable claims about happiness and impact on the world: (View Highlight)
  • LeCun’s is right that Musk has been undermining his legacy with his politics, his conspiracy theories, and his hype. I give him a point for that. (View Highlight)
  • But LeCun’s pettiness speaks for itself. Musk is not going to die bitter and forgotten; he’s not a leading scientist, or a scientist at all, but his electric cars, StarLink network, and reusable rockets won’t be forgotten any time soon, and they represent important substantive contributions to the world. So one point penalty, for LeCun’s cross between unsportsmanlike conduct and complete implausiblity. Back to zero. (Also, dude started the fight, and really ought to lose another point for that.) (View Highlight)
  • LeCun regains one, charitably, for a point that he hinted at but didn’t quite spell out: we need more science if we are to get to AGI. Right now we have a lot of engineering and alchemy, but not enough basic principles and formal understanding. More science here might help. LeCun: 1. (I should dock him a bit for being a scientist on Meta’s payroll, often saying things that cannot easily be understood otherwise, but that’s a story for another day.) (View Highlight)
  • On the other hand, Musk is right that “if it’s not published, it’s not science” is a ridiculous claim. Lots of science is done inside companies, as Colin Wright points out, and of course the implicit contrapositive is wrong, too: lots of stuff that is published isn’t very good science. More generally, LeCun has emphasized his own narrow-mindedness in his allegation that the only the thing that matter is science; Musk is right that products matter. And AI is a funny hybrid between science and engineering. AI needs more science, but it needs engineering, too. I am giving Musk one point for taking the broader view and calling out the narrow view. That leaves us with a tie, 1-1. (View Highlight)
  • On the other hand, the chatbots of both and Meta still seem to me to be wildly inadequate, hallucinatory machines that merely hint at what AI could be, but with precious little understanding of the concepts underlying the words they so fluently use. (View Highlight)