Bill Gates says top AI agent will replace search, shopping sites


Speaking at AI Forward 2023, Bill Gates said it would disappoint him if Microsoft were not in the running of generative AI chatbots.


Bill Gates, Microsoft Corp’s co-founder, on Monday, said the technology race to win is the development of the top artificially intelligent agent, poised to disrupt search-engine, productivity and online shopping sites. He said that the technology would be so profound that it could bring fundamental changes to user behaviours, so much so that the industry’s bigwigs may become at risk. Also Read - Google details a plan to use AI responsibly: Here’s what it says

“You’ll never go to a search site again,” he said. “You’ll never go to Amazon.” Also Read - Microsoft detects 156,000 business email compromise attempts daily

Speaking at AI Forward 2023, an event in San Francisco hosted by Goldman Sachs Group Inc and SV Angel, Gates underlined that the future of AI will include an AI assistant so adept that it would be able to understand a user’s needs and habits and provide solutions accordingly. For instance, it could read a story to you if “you don’t have time to read.” Also Read - Meta is working on a new chip for AI: What meta plans to do with it

On the topic of who would become the pioneer of such a technology, the philanthropist said it would disappoint him if Microsoft were not in the running, though there was a 50 percent chance the top player to emerge will be a startup. Inc, Alphabet Inc’s Google and Microsoft did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Gates said Inflection AI, co-founded by entrepreneur Reid Hoffman and former DeepMin executive Mustafa Suleyman, impressed him. Various industry players have worked on building a computer assistant, powered by AI, that consumers can command by speech or text to handle a range of tasks for them.

But Gates predicted that the arrival of such a highly-capable AI assistant will take some time and more if you talk about its mainstream use. So, until that happens, companies will continue using generative AI to power different existing and new products, much like Microsoft-backed OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

Gates also discussed the use of AI in accelerating innovations in the fields of healthcare and space. He said that while scientists are still puzzled about how the human brain actually works, humanity is inching closer to developing lifesaving and helpful drugs to cure diseases like Alzheimer’s, the first human trial for which could possibly happen in the next 10 years.

On whether AI will replace humans in workplaces, Gates said AI technologies can create compelling responses that could be a game-changer. It may affect white-collar workers. Using humanoid robots could be cheaper for companies than employing human employees in future, and this could, too, impact blue-collar workers.

“Whoever wins the personal agent, that’s a big thing,” Gates said.

— Reuters

  • Published Date: May 23, 2023 9:01 AM IST
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