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Strong or skinny? VC Scott Hartley says that’s the crux of the AI debate

(April 2024) Some people worry that AI will take jobs away from humans. But Scott Hartley has a more optimistic view. 

A Presidential Innovation Fellow under Barack Obama, a former employee of Facebook and Google, and now managing partner of the venture capital firm Everywhere Ventures, Hartley says humans will retain an edge over machines because “they’ll be able to ask the bigger questions” and assemble the building blocks of technology in new and interesting ways. 

“I tend to think of AI as a debate of strong versus skinny,” he said in an interview with Huawei Editor-in-Chief Gavin Allen. “On the same inputs, do you want to ‘10x’ your outputs? Or do you want to cut your inputs by 10, in order to generate the same output?”

Most companies, Hartley says, will want to multiply their output by an order of magnitude – or more. 

Not everyone will succeed, he admits. “Some companies will have to choose skinny. But I think the net of it is that output goes up.”

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