Bill Gates 'excited' about the prospects of AI and ChatGPT, here's why

Developments in AI are comparable to major milestones in technology.
Jijo Malayil
Bill Gates

Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, has expressed his excitement regarding the progress made in the field of Artificial Intelligence in the past 12 months. Gates spoke to Forbes magazine, sharing his experiences of working with the founders of OpenAI, the developers of the popular chatbot ChatGPT. "I have to say, really in the last year, the progress [in AI] has gotten me quite excited," Gates told the magazine. 

Microsoft was an early investor in the company, and it recently announced a multi-billion dollar investment to further its software developments. Gates, who left the board of directors at Microsoft in 2020, still devotes "about 10% of his time at its Redmond, Washington headquarters, meeting with product teams."

Talking about the possibilities of ChatGPT, Gates said that the possibility of it being utilized as a "math tutor that’s available to inner city students, or medical advice that’s available to people in Africa who during their life, generally wouldn’t ever get to see a doctor, that’s pretty fantastic."

The advancements in AI are comparable to technology milestones

The technology pioneer compared the developments in AI to the invention of personal computers without a graphic interface, the systems with it (Windows and Mac), and the advent of the internet. 

"It’s pretty stunning that what I'm seeing in AI just in the last 12 months is every bit as important as the PC, the PC with GUI [graphical user interface], or the internet. As the four most important milestones in digital technology, this ranks up there."

Gates added that he expects many new entrants to the field of AI. "In fact, you know, part of what's amazing is that there’ll be a lot of entrants into this space. But what OpenAI has done is very, very impressive."

Will AI indeed steal our jobs?

Repetitive blue-collar and physical jobs would definitely be among the first jobs to be affected by AI, but they're slower than expected, Gates said. 

Something like factory robotization will happen within the next five years or a decade, but autonomous driving has particular challenges that will take a while to be resolved.

What Gates is most surprised about AI is the ability for large language models to read and write. "like summarizing a complex set of documents or writing something in the style of a pre-existing author — the fact that you can do that with these large language models, and reinforce them, that fluency is really quite amazing," he said.

Gates also added that he often turns to ChatGPT for creative purposes. "When you’re with a group of friends, and you want to write a poem about how much fun something has been. The fact that you can say okay, “write it like Shakespeare” and it does — that creativity has been fun to have," he said.

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