a16z Podcast

The Quest for AGI: Q*, Self-Play, and Synthetic Data

Anjney Midha and Steph Smith

Posted December 4, 2023

One topic at the center of the AI universe this week is a potential breakthrough called Q*. Little has been revealed about this OpenAI project, other than its likely relationship to solving certain grade-school mathematical problems.

Amid much speculation, we decided to bring in our new general partner, Anjney Midha – focused on all things AI – to sift through the sea of noise.

Today, we discuss the key frontier research areas that AI labs are exploring on their path toward generalizable intelligence, from self-play, to model-free reinforcement learning to synthetic data. Anjney also shares his insights on which approach he expects to be most influential in the next wave of LLMs and why math problems are even a suitable testing ground for this kind of research.

Show Notes

02:03 – What is Q*?

06:21 – Applying model-free reinforcement learning to complex spaces

13:17 – The role of self-play

19:04 – Synthetic data’s big unlock

24:44 – What does this unlock for society?