Bill Gates has big dreams for AI.
In a blog post published on Tuesday called “The Age of AI has begun,” Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, called ChatGPT and related AI advancements “revolutionary” and outlined his predictions for the possibilities of artificial intelligence.
ChatGPT burst onto the scene in late 2022 as the first and most advanced publicly available tool powered by “generative AI.” That means it can create answers on its own, write songs, and generally create the appearance of having the “illusion” of understanding, combined with access to a large database of information.
Though the technology is not without issues, (such as “harmful instructions” or “biased” content, the OpenAI says), it has the potential to transform everything from how search engines work to how papers are graded in schools.
And much larger tech companies are getting in on the action. Microsoft’s Bing has already partnered with ChatGPT; Google soft-launched its own fact-spewing and essay-writing bot, Bard, via a waitlist for certain people in the U.S. and U.K. on Tuesday; and Meta’s LLaMA was leaked in February.
In the post, Gates said ChatGPT’s advances “inspired me to think about all the things that AI can achieve in the next five to 10 years,” he wrote. The letter touched on everything from climate change to global health — as well as general productivity increases. He said he’s been in meetings with OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, since 2016.
Gates also wrote that he’s “seen two demonstrations of technology that struck me as revolutionary” in his lifetime, and ChatGPT is one of them.
The first was when he first saw the “graphical user interface,” a.k.a., the user-friendly computer, in 1980. The second was when he saw ChatGPT obtain a 5 out of 5 score on an Advanced Placement (AP) Biology exam and give what he said was a “thoughtful answer” to a question regarding what someone might tell a dad with a sick child.
“I knew I had just seen the most important advance in technology since the graphical user interface,” he wrote in the blog post.
AI can help with everything from time-saving paperwork tasks to conducting research on life-saving drugs to how we educate our children, he wrote. Further, could help people have “AI-generated insights” about growing crops in areas affected by climate change.
Gates co-founded Microsoft in 1975, which revolutionized computers and gaming. He left the company to work full-time in philanthropy in 2008.