Oct 25 • 1HR 14M

Roko's Basilisk (w/Nathan Benaich)

On Dead Cat, we talk about AI with the founder of Air Street Capital

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Eric Newcomer
A podcast about Silicon Valley, hosted by newsletter writer Eric Newcomer and Tom Dotan, with Katie Benner as a regular special guest.
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Dall-E: “Roko’s Basilisk evil artificial intelligence in the style of a cute but fierce pokemon with a pokeball in the background”

Nathan Benaich, the lone general partner at Air Street Capital, has long been on my radar as an artificial intelligence obsessive.

And so now that the artificial intelligence is suddenly the fixation of the venture capital world, I invited Benaich on the Dead Cat podcast to talk about generative artificial intelligence.

With my co-hosts, Tom Dotan and Katie Benner, we talked about the promise of generative AI and the ethics of a machines borrowing from the vast depths of human creativity.

I pay homage to the AI overlords, cheering for the triumph of generalized artificial intelligence while Benaich warns us that the conversation about generalized artificial intelligence is a bit of a distraction.

Benaich is the co-author of the State of AI Report that came out this month. It’s worth a read.


At the 42:40 mark, Nathan departs and Katie, Tom, and I change topics dramatically.

Tom reads from the former Mailchimp CEO’s email to the email marketing company discouraging employees from stating their pronouns at the beginning of a meeting.

The article in Platformer, which first published the email, carries the headline, Did this email cost Mailchimp's billionaire CEO his job?

Here’s an excerpt of Mailchimp’s then CEO Ben Chestnut’s message to the company:

I am noticing that whenever new employees introduce themselves in Zoom before asking their question, they’re also announcing their pronouns. This is completely unnecessary when a woman (who is clearly a woman) to tell us that her pronouns are “she/her” and a man (who is clearly a man) to tell us that his pronouns are “he/him.”

Tom, Katie, and I weigh in on the conversation around pronouns in the workplace, heavy-handed HR policies, and embarrassing CEO emails.

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