As a venture capitalist, Marc Andreessen spends much of his time listening to young entrepreneurs explain their plans to shape the future. As a parent, he’s helping his 8-year-old son prepare for what’s coming by teaching him how to use artificial intelligence.
Andreessen, a cofounder of the VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, said on an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience posted this week that he set his son up with ChatGPT on his laptop. Then he showed him how to use it to learn about the world.
“One of the fun things you can do with ChatGPT is you can say, ‘Explain X to me,’” he noted. “Then you can say, ‘Explain X to me as if I’m 15.’ And then you can do it as if I’m 10, then you can do as if I’m 5. It kind of works down to about age 3. So you can do, ‘Explain quantum mechanics to me like I’m a 3-year-old.’ And it will. And so I taught him how to do this. You can dial it up or down.”
What surprised him, he said, was the reaction of his son, who simply shrugged and replied, “Okay.”
“And I was like, ‘No, this is a big deal. They didn’t use to do this. Now it does this, and this is amazing,’” Andreessen said. His son’s response, he said, was, “Well it’s a computer. Of course you ask it questions and it gives you answers. What else is it for?”
“Kids are gonna just have a totally different point of view on this,” Andreessen said. “It’s gonna be completely normal.”
A.I. as an ally
He also reflected on the fact that his child will grow up with A.I.—and vice versa.
“The A.I. that my 8-year-old is gonna have by the time he’s 20, it’s gonna have had 12 year of experience with him,” he said. “And so it will have grown up with him. It will know everything he’s ever done. It will know everything he ever did well. It will know everything he did that took real effort. It will know what he’s good at. It will know what he’s not good at. It’ll know how to teach him. It’ll know how to correct for whatever limitations he has. It’ll know how to maximize his strengths. It’ll know what he wants.”
When children who grow up with A.I. go to college or enter the workforce, “they’ll have an ally right with them,” Andreessen continued. “They’ll have basically a partner whose goal in life will be to make them as happy and satisfied and successful as possible.”
Andreessen has a rosier view on A.I. than detractors, some of whom fear it will destroy or somehow assume control of humanity. Last month, he wrote a much-discussed manifesto on why artificial intelligence won’t destroy humanity but rather make the world a profoundly better place. And on the Lex Fridman Podcast, he noted that with A.I. “your ability both to learn and to produce” is dramatically higher than in the past, advising young listeners to take advantage of that to stand out by becoming “hyper-productive people.”