Former Tesla AI director Andrej Karpathy was the latest guest on Lex Fridman’s podcast. Karpathy, a founding member of OpenAI and Stanford educator, spoke with Fridman on a variety of topics, including AI, Tesla’s departure, and even the meaning of life. For those considering learning more about machine learning, Karpathy has this tip to share.
“Beginners often focus on what to do, and I think the focus should be more on what you’re doing. So I believe on a high level in this kind of 10,000 hour concept where you you have to sort of choose the things that you can spend time in, and that you care about, and that you’re interested in. You literally have to put in 10,000 hours of work.
Karpathy emphasized that it is the work that is the most important part.
“I feel like there’s a certain determinism to being an expert on one thing if you spend 10,000 hours. You can literally pick an arbitrary thing, and I think if you spend 10,000 hours of effort and deliberate work, you actually become a subject matter expert.
Karpathy’s work at Tesla was an important part of his technological development. After taking a sabbatical, he decided to part ways with the business, and Fridman asked him to share why he chose to leave.
When Karpathy announced he was leaving, he said it was a tough decision and he had no concrete plans. He wanted to spend more time revisiting his longtime passions around technical work in AI, open source, and education.
“I think over time during those five years; I sort of settled into a leadership position. Most of my days were, you know, meetings and growing the organization and making decisions about kinds of high-level strategic decisions about the team and what they should be working on and so on.
“And it’s kind of like a corporate leadership role, and I can do that. I think it’s okay, but it’s not basically what I like, and so I think when I joined there was no computer vision team because Tesla had just passed from transitioning to using Mobileye, a third party vendor, for all of their computer vision to having to build their computer vision system. So when I arrived, there were two people training deep neural networks.
The last question Karpathy answered was about the meaning of life. Fridman recapped that the two were discussing how to get the creator of the universe to notice us. “We’ve talked about the universe chatting with us humans or the systems we create, try to answer. To get the creator of the universe to notice us, we try to create systems that are loud enough to answer.
Karpathy pointed out that this can be the meaning of life for some people and shared his own thoughts. “Everyone can choose their own meaning of life because we are conscious entities and that is beautiful.”
“I think like a deeper meaning in life if anybody’s interested, like, ‘what’s all this?'”
You can watch Karpathy’s full interview with Lex Fridman below.
Disclosure: Johnna is a shareholder of $TSLA and believes in Tesla’s mission.
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