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Virtually nobody is pricing in what's coming in AI. I wrote an essay series on the AGI strategic picture: from the trendiness in deep learning and counting the OOMs, to the international situation and The Project.

Leopold Aschenbrenner
Leopold Aschenbrenner
2 min read

You can read it here:
Or find the full series as a 165-page PDF here.

Table of Contents

Each essay is meant to stand on its own, though I’d strongly encourage reading the series as a whole. For a pdf version of the full essay series, click here.

History is live in San Francisco.

I. From GPT-4 to AGI: Counting the OOMs
AGI by 2027 is strikingly plausible. GPT-2 to GPT-4 took us from ~preschooler to ~smart high-schooler abilities in 4 years. Tracing trendlines in compute (~0.5 orders of magnitude or OOMs/year), algorithmic efficiencies (~0.5 OOMs/year), and “unhobbling” gains (from chatbot to agent), we should expect another preschooler-to-high-schooler-sized qualitative jump by 2027. 

II. From AGI to Superintelligence: the Intelligence Explosion
AI progress won’t stop at human-level. Hundreds of millions of AGIs could automate AI research, compressing a decade of algorithmic progress (5+ OOMs) into ≤1 year. We would rapidly go from human-level to vastly superhuman AI systems. The power—and the peril—of superintelligence would be dramatic.

III. The Challenges

Racing to the Trillion-Dollar Cluster
The most extraordinary techno-capital acceleration has been set in motion. As AI revenue grows rapidly, many trillions of dollars will go into GPU, datacenter, and power buildout before the end of the decade. The industrial mobilization, including growing US electricity production by 10s of percent, will be intense. 

IIIb. Lock Down the Labs: Security for AGI
The nation’s leading AI labs treat security as an afterthought. Currently, they’re basically handing the key secrets for AGI to the CCP on a silver platter. Securing the AGI secrets and weights against the state-actor threat will be an immense effort, and we’re not on track. 

IIIc. Superalignment
Reliably controlling AI systems much smarter than we are is an unsolved technical problem. And while it is a solvable problem, things could easily go off the rails during a rapid intelligence explosion. Managing this will be extremely tense; failure could easily be catastrophic.

IIId. The Free World Must Prevail
Superintelligence will give a decisive economic and military advantage. China isn’t at all out of the game yet. In the race to AGI, the free world’s very survival will be at stake. Can we maintain our preeminence over the authoritarian powers? And will we manage to avoid self-destruction along the way?

IV. The Project
As the race to AGI intensifies, the national security state will get involved. The USG will wake from its slumber, and by 27/28 we’ll get some form of government AGI project. No startup can handle superintelligence. Somewhere in a SCIF, the endgame will be on. 

V. Parting Thoughts
What if we’re right?