2 min read

The AI Index Fund

There's thus a contradiction at the heart of index investing: If everybody were to invest in the index nobody would be doing the work needed to ensure that securities within the index are accurately priced, thereby rendering their prices meaningless. (View Tweet)
The obvious downsides of indexing have instead been political-economic: the fact that a handful of firms are now responsible for managing the vast majority of financial wealth in existence, what @BJMbraun and others call 'asset manager capitalism'.
https://t.co/ZuUEMh15TX (View Tweet)
Without that (uncompensated) human human labour, these models would just produce the textual and visual equivalent of noise devoid of meaning. (View Tweet)
So like indexing as an approach to asset management, there seems to be a contradiction at the heart of these technologies in that they are likely to erode the incentives for human creators upon which they themselves depend to work properly. (View Tweet)
As everyone knows, it has become increasingly common for creatives -whose work was previously 'bundled' via traditional media venues -to make their living on internet platforms by either charging directly for access (Patreon, Substack) or through ad monetization (Youtube). (View Tweet)
It's not hard to imagine a world where creators must compete for attention/subscriptions from those who are just using transformer AIs to remix existing cultural products, probably at much lower cost. We could see the cultural analogue of Gresham's Law (bad money drives out good) (View Tweet)
Large investment banks traditionally funded a significant amount of financial research and 'bundled' it together with various other services that they offered to their clients (e.g. prime brokerage). This is not dissimilar from how much creative work was traditionally funded. (View Tweet)

I've also hypothesized that LLMs have a freezing effect on up and coming artists, who would feel no desire to be less skilled than an AI for years of their career. No one starts out "good".

This may be a single generational problem, as future people learn to live with these tools, and use them in ways that we don't consider.

It's true that if everyone is invested heavily into an index, the index becomes a less valuable metric (and Fortune 500 companies get way too rich off everyone's portfolio).

However, at least with AI, there is a floor that has been created. Not everyone could be a painter, but everyone could be an investor, even if they were penny-stocking it. In what we lose in pro painters/artists/writers that define a generation, we gain millions/billions of unskilled people now able to create the stuff of their dreams without spending years of their mortal life upskilling, potentially creating more compelling careers due to combinatorics 202301051907.