I went for a walk with Gary Marcus, AI’s loudest critic

Gary Marcus meets me outside the post office of Vancouver’s Granville Island wearing neon-coral sneakers and a blue Arc’teryx jacket. I’m in town for a family thing, and Marcus has lived in the city since 2018, after 20 years in New York City. “I just find it to be paradise,” he tells me, as I…
I went for a walk with Gary Marcus, AI’s loudest critic

Late last year he wrote a book, called Taming Silicon Valley, which is coming out this fall. It is his manifesto on how AI should be regulated, but also a call to action. “We need to get the public involved in the struggle to try to get the AI companies to behave responsibly,” he says. 

There are a bunch of different things people can do, ranging from boycotting some of the software until people clean up their act to choosing electoral candidates around their tech policies, he says. 

Action and AI policy are needed urgently, he argues, because we are in a very narrow window during which we can fix things in AI. The risk is that we make the same mistakes regulators made with social media companies. 

“What we saw with social media is just going to be like an appetizer compared to what’s going to happen,” he says. 

Around 12 000 steps later, we’re back at Granville Island’s Public Market. I’m starving, so Marcus shows me a spot that serves good bagels. We both get the lox with cream cheese and eat it outside in the sun before parting ways.  

Later that day, Marcus would send out a flurry of tweets about Sora, having seen enough evidence to call it: “Sora is fantastic, but it is akin to morphing and splicing, rather than a path to the physical reasoning we would need for AGI,” he wrote. “We will see more systemic glitches as more people have access. Many will be hard to remedy.” 

Don’t say he didn’t warn you.