Bill Gates predicts AI will be bigger than PCs

by The Insights

Bill Gates, long the richest person in the world, made his fortune predicting the advent of personal computing in the 1980s. Now the Microsoft co-founder believes AI will be a bigger force and above all faster for technological change.

The march of nearly 40 years of progress since its Windows operating system allowed ordinary people to easily navigate a PC will pale in comparison to the speed at which artificial intelligence is transforming society, he said. written Tuesday.

“Soon, the pre-AI era will seem as distant as the days when using a computer meant typing at a C:> prompt rather than typing on a screen,” Gates predicted.

The centibillionaire entrepreneur-turned-philanthropist argued that advances in AI will far outpace advances in computing power as an entire global software industry begins to shift its research efforts towards developing applications for the field. booming.

“Since so much of it now turns its attention to AI, innovations are going to happen much faster than what we experienced after the breakthrough of the microprocessor,” he wrote.

For example, Gates thinks that areas where artificial intelligence struggles to compete with humans, such as in abstract reasoning, aren’t as big of an obstacle as they seem right now.

“I think we’re going to see them mostly fixed in less than two years and maybe much faster,” he wrote.

OpenAI’s ChatGPT created a tech gold rush

However, Gates tempered the excitement humanity was about to create general artificial intelligence. Developing software capable of learning any task or subject, without any practical limit on the size of its memory or the speed at which it operates, could be anywhere in a decade or even “a century”, a he wrote.

Multitasking CEO Elon Musk has been looking for the development of AGI as a way to finally deliver on his eternal promise to turn today’s Tesla cars on the road into intelligent robotaxis at the push of a button.

“AGI does not yet exist – there is a vigorous debate going on in the computer industry about how to create it, and whether it can even be created at all,” Gates wrote.

There’s been a veritable gold rush since OpenAI revealed ChatGPT in late November, becoming the fastest app to reach one million users.

In January, the $2 trillion software company that Gates co-founded (which he left as a director in 2020) then invested several billion dollars in OpenAI.

ARK Invest analysts said the deal was a two-pronged assault on Google, challenging its dominance in the highly lucrative search engine business while forcing Google to scale back its cloud computing investments that rival Google. Microsoft’s own Azure service.

Now Google is fighting back, announcing plans on Tuesday to open up its own Bard chatbot for wider public testing.

The market will not fairly distribute the benefits of AI

Gates, who said in July that he would give away almost all of his fortune, expressed concern that AI would further widen the gap between rich and poor.

At least that is the most likely scenario, as long as the authorities do not take steps to ensure that the greatest number of people benefit, he argued.

“Market forces will not naturally produce AI products and services that help the poorest,” Gates warned. “The opposite is more likely.”

His pessimistic view contrasts sharply with that of Musk, who wants to create a new humanoid robotics division at Tesla that he says will one day eclipse its core business of selling cars as its biggest business.

The Tesla boss says AI-powered robots will usher in a new “era of abundance”, where there will be no scarcity beyond the goods and services humanity deems necessary to protect. Literature or art created by a human, for example, would be valued more than works generated by an AI algorithm.

In an effort to steer the debate away from the skilled jobs that AI will eliminate en masse, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman simply appealed to one of the most basic human instincts of all. “A lot of people get richer” turned out to be the alluring vision of artificial intelligence presented last month by former venture capitalist Y Combinator.

Gates seems concerned that AI pioneers like Altman might be more concerned with dollar signs than the progress of humanity as a whole.

“The world must set the rules of the road so that any disadvantages of artificial intelligence are outweighed by its advantages,” he argued, “so that everyone can enjoy these advantages no matter where they live. or how much money he has”.

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