E23: Emad Mostaque and Sam Lessin Debate Whether AI is a Good Investment for VC
In this episode of Upstream, Emad Mostaque, founder of Stability AI, and Sam Lessin, GP of Slow Ventures and former VP Product at Facebook, discuss how paradigm shifting AI will be for different sectors of the global economy, whether startups or incumbents have the edge, and whether AI is actually a good investment for Venture Capital. Topics covered in this debate span: the attention and information economy, SaaS markets, how AI-created entertainment will impact society and our relationships, porn, and AI disruption of highly-regulated industries. Erik Torenberg and The Cognitive Revolution AI podcast host Nathan Labenz serve as moderators, asking questions towards the end. If you are interested to hear more of Sam Lessin’s unorthodox views on venture bets, head over to Turpentine VC and listen to a longer, even spicier conversation with him released this week:
Founding a business is just the tip of the iceberg; the real complexity comes with scaling it. On 1 to 1000, hosts Jack Altman and Erik Torenberg dig deep into the inevitable twists and turns operators encounter along the journey of turning an idea into a business. Hear all about the tactical challenges of scaling from the people that built up the world’s leading companies like Stripe, Ramp, and Lattice. Our first episode with Eric Glyman of Ramp is out now: https://link.chtbl.com/1to1000
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(01:00) Episode Preview
(03:20) AI as an extender rather than a deck shuffler
(07:45) Is AI a disruptive or sustaining innovation?
(09:13) What is intelligence?
(11:47) The attention and information economy
(16:43) Storytelling, the stock market, and the economy
(18:13) Sponsors: Mercury, NetSuite
(22:00) AI in the media industry, Hollywood, and distribution
(25:30) Startups vs incumbents
(27:40) Disrupting highly-regulated industries
(28:47) AI in education: an AI tutor for every child
(31:40) AI as StackOverflow 2.0 for engineers
(33:45) Regulatory Arbitrage
(36:20) The oracle problem
(38:00) Apple as the weakest live player in AI
(42:15) AI in communities and the future of social media
(43:00) Replika on Valentine’s Day and AI-generated porn
(50:10) How does the market for inference shape up? Inference vs. cloud
(51:40) Price of primary care in US in the next decade
(52:30) What are the most likely incumbents to be disrupted?
(53:25) Will big tech continue to opensource?
(55:30) Birth rate in US in the future given AI
(57:00) Can any AI leader sustain high gross margins in the future?
(58:00) Stability’s business model
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SPONSORS: Mercury | NetSuite
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