How AI Can Fight Inequality | Exponentially with Azeem Azhar

Bloomberg Originals
4 Oct 202324:01

TLDRThe transcript discusses the potential of open-source AI to significantly boost GDP in the world's poorest countries. Emad Mustar, CEO of Stability AI, shares his vision of AI as the next infrastructure, emphasizing the importance of culturally relevant models built with local data. He argues that open-source models can democratize AI, allowing countries to tailor the technology to their needs and potentially leapfrog development. Despite concerns about safety and the dominance of Western AI, Mustar believes the open-source approach will enable poorer nations to harness AI for economic growth and societal benefits.


  • ๐Ÿš€ Open-source AI has the potential to significantly boost GDP in the world's poorest countries within the next 5 years.
  • ๐ŸŒ The most advanced AI systems are primarily built in the West and are often trained on English language data, which may not be suitable for other regions.
  • ๐Ÿ’ก Emad Mustar, CEO of Stability AI, envisions a future where every individual, company, or country has its own AI models built on open-source data relevant to their culture and needs.
  • ๐Ÿ› ๏ธ Generative AI, which started gaining traction around 2017, focuses on compressing and understanding important data, rather than relying on vast amounts of data as traditional AI does.
  • ๐ŸŽจ Generative AI can produce outputs like images or text based on prompts, demonstrating a level of creativity and understanding beyond simple data extrapolation.
  • ๐ŸŒ The global South has the potential to leapfrog certain technological stages, much like it did with mobile phones, and quickly adopt intelligence augmentation.
  • ๐Ÿ’ผ Open-source models allow for customization and specialization, which can lead to more culturally relevant and contextually appropriate AI applications.
  • ๐Ÿฆ The adoption of generative AI could lead to a 7% increase in global GDP within a decade, according to a Goldman Sachs report.
  • ๐Ÿ”’ Open-source AI models, while accessible, raise questions about safety and the potential for misuse by bad actors, necessitating a robust security industry.
  • ๐ŸŒŸ The success of open-source software in supporting the internet's growth suggests that a similar approach could democratize AI access and development globally.

Q & A

  • What is the potential economic impact of generative AI on the world's poorest countries?

    -Generative AI has the potential to significantly raise the GDP in the world's poorest countries. It is suggested that within 5 years, it could contribute to a meaningful increase in GDP, similar to the impact of the Gutenberg Press.

  • How does Emad Mustar view the potential of open-source AI for poorer nations?

    -Emad Mustar sees open-source AI as a way to empower poorer nations by allowing them to build their own models and datasets, thus creating AI systems that are culturally and economically relevant to their specific needs.

  • What are some criticisms leveled against Emad Mustar and Stability AI?

    -Criticism against Emad Mustar and Stability AI includes questions about taking credit for the company's technology, partnerships with international organizations, and governance practices within the company.

  • How does generative AI differ from previous AI systems?

    -Generative AI is a newer type of AI that focuses on compressing and understanding the important parts of data, rather than relying on vast amounts of data. It can generate outputs based on principles, not just facts, making it more adaptable and human-like in its responses.

  • What is the significance of the 'attention is all you need' paper in AI development?

    -The 'attention is all you need' paper introduced a new approach to AI by emphasizing the importance of focusing on key parts of data. This led to the development of generative AI, which can understand and produce outputs based on compressed data sets.

  • How does Stability AI plan to address the issue of AI models being trained on predominantly Western data?

    -Stability AI aims to create open-source models that can be customized and specialized by individual countries and cultures. This would involve building data sets that are relevant to each country, ensuring that the AI models are more culturally and contextually appropriate.

  • What is the role of generative AI in the global South's leap towards intelligence augmentation?

    -Generative AI is expected to help the global South leap forward by enhancing productivity and removing barriers to information flow. It could lead to improvements in daily life, business processes, and economic prosperity, similar to how mobile phones and instant payments have already impacted these regions.

  • How does the cost of training AI models like those from OpenAI's GPT-4 compare to the potential benefits?

    -While the cost of training models like GPT-4 is extremely high, the potential benefits in terms of increased productivity and economic growth are considered to far outweigh the initial investment.

  • What is the vision for AI models in the context of national and cultural diversity?

    -The vision is for every person, company, and country to have their own AI models built on their data sets, representing their culture and extending their abilities. This is seen as vital infrastructure for the future.

  • How does Stability AI plan to monetize its open-source models?

    -Stability AI plans to offer enterprise versions of their models with full support, customization, and integration services. They also aim to work with partners to provide these services, leveraging the open-source base for commercial applications.

  • What are the safety implications of open-source AI models compared to closed models?

    -Open-source AI models can be safer as they can be checked, tested, and audited by many. However, they also pose challenges as they can be accessed and potentially misused by bad actors, which could lead to the growth of an AI-driven security industry.



๐Ÿš€ The Potential of Open Source AI in Economic Growth

This paragraph introduces the concept of open-source AI and its potential to significantly boost GDP in the world's poorest countries. It highlights the rapid success of Stability AI, led by Emad Mustar, and discusses the criticisms faced by the company and its CEO. The conversation emphasizes the importance of generative AI and how it differs from traditional AI systems, focusing on its ability to learn principles rather than just facts.


๐ŸŒ The Future of AI and Economic Impact

The discussion delves into the future of AI, particularly generative AI, and its potential economic impact. It compares the Gutenberg Press to the current AI revolution, suggesting that AI could have an even greater influence. The conversation explores the idea of creating specialized AI models that can be customized and owned by individuals or companies, and the potential for AI to increase productivity and prosperity globally.


๐Ÿ“ˆ Addressing the Financial Systems and Global South

This segment focuses on the application of AI in financial systems, especially in the global South where there is a significant unbanked population. It discusses the role of AI in improving banking and financial infrastructure, the importance of identity and information in finance, and the potential for AI to facilitate better allocation of resources and increase in prosperity. The conversation also touches on the challenges of implementing AI in less developed economies due to cost and cultural biases.


๐ŸŒ Cultural Relevance and Customization of AI Models

The conversation emphasizes the need for AI models to be culturally relevant and customized to the specific needs of different countries and cultures. It discusses the vision of having national models tailored to individual countries and the importance of open-source models in achieving this. The paragraph also explores the business model of Stability AI, which involves providing enterprise support and customized versions of their AI models, and the strategy to compete with larger firms like Microsoft and OpenAI.


๐Ÿ”’ Safety, Open Source, and the Future of AI Development

The final paragraph discusses the safety concerns associated with open-source AI models and argues that openness can lead to increased safety through transparency and widespread testing. It also highlights the potential for an AI-driven security industry. The conversation concludes with a reflection on the potential for the global South to build their own AI models and the likelihood of open-source generative AI contributing to economic growth in the world's poorest nations.



๐Ÿ’กOpen-Source AI

Open-Source AI refers to artificial intelligence systems whose source code is made publicly available, allowing anyone to view, use, modify, and distribute the software. In the context of the video, it is suggested that open-source AI has the potential to significantly boost GDP in the world's poorest countries by democratizing access to advanced AI technology. This approach is contrasted with proprietary AI systems that are built and controlled by Western tech giants, which may not be as accessible or suitable for poorer nations.

๐Ÿ’กGenerative AI

Generative AI is a type of artificial intelligence that is capable of creating new content or data based on patterns it has learned from existing data. This includes generating images, text, or even code. The video highlights generative AI's ability to produce outputs based on prompts, such as creating an image of a badger playing football on a bicycle. The technology is seen as a significant advancement because it can understand and apply principles, rather than just memorizing facts.

๐Ÿ’กGDP Growth

GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth refers to the increase in the value of goods and services produced by a country over a specific period. In the video, it is suggested that the implementation of generative AI could lead to a significant increase in global GDP, with Goldman Sachs predicting a 7% increase within 10 years. The premise is that AI can enhance productivity and remove barriers to information flow, leading to economic prosperity.

๐Ÿ’กCultural Bias

Cultural bias in AI refers to the tendency of AI systems to reflect the cultural norms, values, and perspectives of the data they were trained on, which is often skewed towards Western or English-speaking contexts. This can lead to AI systems being less effective or even inappropriate for non-Western cultures. The video discusses the need for AI models to be culturally relevant and tailored to the specific contexts in which they will be used.


In the context of the video, infrastructure refers to the fundamental systems and structures, such as data networks and computational resources, that support the development and operation of technologies like AI. The conversation emphasizes the importance of building AI infrastructure, particularly open-source models, as a means to empower countries in the global South to leapfrog traditional developmental stages and directly access the benefits of advanced AI technology.

๐Ÿ’กEconomic Requirements

Economic requirements pertain to the specific conditions and needs of an economy, including factors such as available resources, market demands, and cultural contexts. In the video, the discussion around AI emphasizes the importance of tailoring AI technologies to meet the unique economic requirements of different countries, particularly those in the global South, to ensure that the technology is both accessible and effective.

๐Ÿ’กData Privacy

Data privacy refers to the protection of personal and sensitive information from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure. In the context of AI, data privacy is crucial as AI systems often rely on large amounts of data, which can include sensitive personal information. The video touches on the importance of data privacy in the development of AI systems, particularly when these systems are used in regulated industries or handle sensitive data.

๐Ÿ’กAI Supercomputers

AI supercomputers are high-performance computing systems specifically designed to handle the complex calculations required for training and running advanced AI models. These machines are capable of processing vast amounts of data and performing numerous operations simultaneously, which is essential for developing AI systems that can learn from and generate new content. The video highlights the high costs associated with building and training AI models on such supercomputers, which can be a barrier to entry for poorer countries.

๐Ÿ’กInformation Flow

Information flow refers to the movement and exchange of data or information within a system or between different systems. In the context of the video, improving information flow is seen as a key benefit of AI, as it can help remove barriers and friction within organizations, systems, and economies. The conversation suggests that by enabling more efficient information flow, AI can enhance productivity and prosperity.

๐Ÿ’กGlobal South

The term 'Global South' refers to countries in the Southern Hemisphere, which are often characterized as developing or emerging economies. These regions face unique challenges, including limited access to technology and resources. The video discusses the potential for AI to leapfrog traditional development stages and directly benefit these regions by improving productivity and economic growth.

๐Ÿ’กFriction in Systems

Friction in systems, particularly economic and business systems, refers to inefficiencies, obstacles, or resistance that slows down or hinders processes. In the context of the video, reducing friction is associated with improving productivity and prosperity by streamlining processes and removing barriers to information flow. AI is seen as a tool that can help achieve this by making information more accessible and by automating routine tasks.


Open-source AI has the potential to significantly raise the GDP in the world's poorest countries within 5 years.

The most advanced AI systems are currently built in the West, often running on expensive supercomputers and trained on English language data.

Emad Mustar, founder and CEO of Stability AI, has accelerated the company to a billion-dollar valuation in less than 3 years.

Mustar is vocal about the potential of open-source AI to benefit the poorest nations with young populations and limited infrastructure.

Forbes Magazine has criticized Mustar, questioning his company's technology, partnerships, and governance practices.

Generative AI, which started in 2017 with the 'Attention is All You Need' paper, focuses on compressing data to learn principles rather than facts.

Generative AI can produce outputs based on prompts, creating unique responses that are not always the same due to its principle-based learning.

Stable diffusion, a generative product by Stability AI, can produce images from text descriptions, such as a badger playing football on a bicycle.

The focus on AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) is to create a machine capable of doing anything, mimicking human general intelligence.

Stability AI's approach is to allow customization and specialization of AI models, rather than relying on one model to do everything.

Generative AI can be used to produce commercially or emotionally useful outputs, such as working software code or meeting invitations.

Goldman Sachs reported that generative AI could lead to a 7% increase in global GDP within 10 years.

The economic impact of generative AI could be as significant as the Gutenberg Press, improving productivity and prosperity.

Information flow improvements due to generative AI could lead to better resource allocation and economic growth.

The global South could leapfrog to intelligence augmentation, benefiting from AI advancements without needing to follow the same development path as the West.

Open-source models can be adapted and specialized by countries to create culturally relevant AI, which is vital for the technology to be suitable for their needs.

Stability AI's business model involves releasing open-source models and offering enterprise support and customized versions.

Open-source AI models can democratize the technology, allowing countries with less AI talent to develop their own applications and infrastructure.

Open systems are considered safer and more transparent, leading to a potential growth in AI-driven security and resilience industries.

The vision of open-source generative AI contributing to GDP growth in the world's poorest nations is considered highly likely due to the high demand and potential for impact.