Since the end of November, there’s a new star in town.
Artificial intelligence has taken the world by storm, established by users as the latest revolutionary technology after the cloud.
For the public, the face of this paradigm shift is conversational chatbots. The best known is ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI, a startup in which software giant Microsoft (MSFT) – Get Free Report has invested more than $10 billion.
ChatGPT, which provides human-like responses to even complex requests, has transformed internet search. The chatbot showed that AI has reached a point where robots can perform certain tasks much better than humans can.
The chatbot has also changed the search-engine industry, which long has been dominated by Alphabet’s (GOOGL) – Get Free Report Google. Those cards have been reshuffled: Microsoft has incorporated ChatGPT features into its Bing search engine and into almost all its products and cloud activity. Google, protecting its flank, responded by launching Bard.
AI Boom, Sure. But Maybe a Bust After the Boom?
But beyond the search-engine industry, the AI revolution, powered by what’s known as large-language-model technology, is shaking up nearly every economic sector.
From automotive and medicine to matchmaking, retail and banking, AI, which is designed to cut significant corporate costs, is everywhere.
On the other hand, this ubiquity makes some say that the AI craze is going to be short-lived, like other trendy tech.
During the coronavirus pandemic, investors and companies were talking endlessly about crypto, nonfungible tokens and the metaverse. Coming out of covid-19 last year, everything crypto entered what was called the crypto winter, a long period marked by price declines and the disappearance of hype. That frost continues.
Elon Musk: AI Has Unlimited Potential
Elon Musk disagrees. The serial entrepreneur, one of the first investors in OpenAI, says AI will know no winter, no slack, no long period in the wilderness. The opposite: Musk believes AI will continue to spread its influence.
It all started with a thread from a Twitter user, saying that AI will continue to progress toward what experts call artificial general intelligence. AGI, the main goal of AI users, is the point at which a machine can understand or learn anything that humans can.
“I expect we will see continual progress from here to AGI, without any period that feels like a ‘winter,'” predicted Adam D’Angelo, chief executive of Quora, a social question-and-answer website and online-knowledge market.
“There are just too many obvious things left to be done. And the underlying exponential growth in compute has a very long way to go.”
D’Angelo added: “I define AGI as the ability to do anything a human can do while working at a computer with internet access (e.g. excluding robotics). I have less confidence in physical machines.”
AI Potential: Trillions of Dollars of Benefits. But…
The serial entrepreneur is out front on all aspects of AI.
He indicated last week that he would remain CEO of Tesla to oversee the electric vehicle maker’s progress in AI. In the automotive industry, AI is supposed to enable vehicles to drive themselves.
Currently, full-self-driving, Tesla’s advanced driver-assistance system, enables the Austin group’s vehicles to perform many maneuvers by themselves but does not make them autonomous. Drivers must keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
“I think Tesla’s going to play an important roll in AI and AGI, and I think I need to oversee that,” Musk told Tesla shareholders.
The billionaire entrepreneur is also building his own AI platform, called TruthGPT.
Most tech luminaries expect the next decade to belong to AI, which they say will reap financial benefits in the trillions of dollars by 2030. But there are also those who warn against the dangers of technology — including Musk himself.
“A three-letter acronym doesn’t capture the enormity of what AGI would represent, so I will refer to it as what is: God-like AI,” Ian Hogarth, a tech investor who has invested in more than 50 AI companies, warned in an essay in the Financial Times last month.
“God-like AI could be a force beyond our control or understanding, and one that could usher in the obsolescence or destruction of the human race,” he continued.
“Until now, humans have remained a necessary part of the learning process that characterizes progress in AI. At some point, someone will figure out how to cut us out of the loop, creating a God-like AI capable of infinite self-improvement.”
He added: “By then, it may be too late.”
Efforts to regulate the technology are currently under way in Washington.
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