Discover more from The Era of Generative AI
#1 - Emad Mostaque: Generative AI as a public good
This is 'Infrastructure for humanity' says CEO and Founder of Stability AI
Today I bring you my conversation with Emad Mostaque, the CEO and Founder of Stability AI.
Emad and Stability are integral to the story of Generative AI. The open release of Stable Diffusion in August 2022 was a watershed moment, but that doesn’t even scratch the surface of what’s coming next.
Beyond Stability’s meteoric success, Emad and I enjoy a broad-reaching conversation discussing Generative AI’s potential as ‘infrastructure for humanity.’
I realized that a new type of AI was coming that wasn't like the previous one. And not only did everyone deserve to have it open as infrastructure for humanity, but there was a really good business case for that as well. “ - Emad
It turns out that Emad and I share a few things in common beyond our interest in GenAI: our South Asian roots (his Bangladeshi, mine Nepali) and a background working on counter-extremism.
In this episode, we cover the following:
Stability’s Genesis/ Stable Diffusion (SD)
Emad’s story and Stability’s role in funding the open-source AI research community.
The immense popularity of SD:
SD’s GitHub repository is on par with Ethereum and Bitcoin in terms of popularity and participation. Over 20-30 million people are using SD as of November ‘22.
Stable Diffusion took a hundred thousand gigabytes of images and created a two gigabyte file that could make just about anything…and it runs now on an iPhone without internet. I think that was a pivotal moment.’ - Emad
Infrastructure for Humanity
Generative AI as a new medium of human communication.
Generative AI’s potential to radically improve current systems encompassing everything from education to healthcare.
A vision for the Internet in which everyone has their ‘own AI,’ moving ‘intelligence to the edge.’
Generative AI as a public good instead of controlled by a few.
Policy/regulation and the UK vs the US as hubs for Generative AI.
There are two modalities for the internet. One is that you have these AI companies selling ads to monetize tension even better than before. Or we flip it. And we make it so everyone can have their own AIs and move intelligence to the edge…Every single person, country, culture, and company has their own AI and it's built on an open-source infrastructure…” - Emad
Speed: This technology is exponential — it will spread “faster than anything we’ve seen before.”
Investment: Unlike the distant promise of Web 3.0 and the Metaverse, Generative AI has immediate utility. Expect hundreds of billions of dollars to go into the sector in the coming years.
Multi-modal models: video models, 3D models, language models and code models.
If you think about the quantums here from a market-sizing perspective: a hundred billion went into self-driving cars. Hundreds of billions of dollars went into Web 3.0. Do they offer as much value as this… immediately? Probably not. We can assume that hundreds of billions of dollars will go into the sector in the coming years, and every single company will need a Generative AI strategy.” - Emad
I’ve spent a long time going over this conversation (it turns out editing still involves a lot of ‘grunt work’ even with AI transcription tools!) — and I am particularly struck by the sense that Emad views this as an existential question. While Stability AI has emerged as a leader in this space — will Emad’s vision endure?
Time will tell.
Finally, on a personal note, I want to thank everyone again for the fantastic response to this Substack — the community is growing quickly! Help spread the word — share, subscribe and keep your comments coming.
PS — If you want to nominate someone for an interview, drop me a line. I am always up for an interesting and good-faith discussion. (email@example.com).