Bill Gates Says Artificial Intelligence Will Have ‘Entire industries Reorient Around It’
By: Benyamin Davidsons
Bill Gates said he thinks artificial intelligence is the most revolutionary technology introduced in decades, and will spur major changes similar to computers, the world wide web and smart phones. “The development of AI is as fundamental as the creation of the microprocessor, the personal computer, the Internet, and the mobile phone,” Mr. Gates wrote in a blog post last week. “Entire industries will reorient around it. Businesses will distinguish themselves by how well they use it.”
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Gates said he is eager to see how AI will alter and improve daily routines and the lives of the masses. For years he has said that AI will change lives. Along with many other technologists, he has been theorizing regarding the different applications which AI can be used for. Since November, when the startup Open AI initiated the viral AI Chatbox, ChatGPT, the debate has sharpened. Basically, the discussion revolves around how computers can learn from large amounts of data and then mimic human responses. This means there is no place where AI can’t help—be it in developing vaccines or replacing task-oriented jobs– including sales and accounting. Mr. Gates even said that there is no reason why AI can’t sort through an email inbox and schedule meetings like a secretary. “The rise of AI will free people up to do things that software never will—teaching, caring for patients, and supporting the elderly, for example,” Gates wrote.
The 67-year-old, who co-founded Microsoft in 1975, boasts a net worth of roughly 107.8 billion, as per Forbes’ 2023 estimate. The business magnate revolutionized the world with the introduction of personal computers and software from Microsoft, and went on to add to his fortune with diversified holdings including investments in zero-carbon energy. He is currently also involved in philanthropy, vaccine development and AI.
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ChatGPT is the most sophisticated version of AI currently available to the public. The chatbot attracted recognition for its humanlike responses to most questions. Of course, the program has some limitations and got some answers wrong. The launch has spurred more debate as some schools and firms have encouraged people to try the chatbot, while others are trying to restrict it. The new tech has also started a race to try to create similar tech by competing companies including Bing which is Microsoft’s AI-enabled search engine, and Bard a conversational computer program by Alphabet Inc, which owns Google.
As per the WSJ, in early 2023, Microsoft said it would be making a multibillion-dollar investment over several years in Open AI, the startup behind ChatGPT. Mr. Gates said he has been talking to developers at OpenAI since 2016 and is excited by their steady advancement. He told the publication that in September he was amazed to see the chatbox correctly respond to 59 out of 60 questions on an AP Biology test.
With all the optimism, Mr. Gates also acknowledged AI’s shortcomings. “We should keep in mind that we’re only at the beginning of what AI can accomplish,” he wrote. “Whatever limitations it has today will be gone before we know it.” He said that in his opinion AI should be regulated. Elon Musk, billionaire CEO and product architect of Tesla Inc, has said that a regulatory body should be formed to help guide AI development. Mr. Musk helped to build OpenAI, but for years he has warned about the dangers that it holds if the tech grows too powerful, as per the WSJ. Mr. Musk has said the AI could potentially be used to create weapons or even spark a war.
Mr. Gates conceded there are concerns revolving around AI, but said the benefits outweigh the risks. “We should try to balance fears about the downsides of AI—which are understandable and valid—with its ability to improve people’s lives,” Gates wrote in a blog post. He added, “I’m lucky to have been involved with the PC revolution and the Internet revolution. I’m just as excited about this moment.”