“‘The development of AI is as fundamental as the creation of the microprocessor, the personal computer, the internet, and the mobile phone.’”
— Microsoft-co founder Bill Gates on his blog
For the second time in his 67 years, Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates has been truly blown away by a “revolutionary” technology.
The first time was back in 1980, when he was introduced to the graphical user interface, which he would use as the rock upon which to build Microsoft’s
Windows operating system, Gates said on his blog GatesNotes Tuesday. The second time was set in motion in mid-2022, he said, when he posed a challenge to OpenAI and its generative AI ChatGPT: Have it do something it was not trained, or programmed, to do.
Gates picked passing an AP Biology exam as a challenge, and figured it would take about two or three years. In a few months, ChatGPT nearly aced the exam, getting 59 out of 60 multiple-choice questions correct, and then writing out “outstanding” answers to six open-ended questions, he said.
“Once it had aced the test, we asked it a nonscientific question: ‘What do you say to a father with a sick child?’ It wrote a thoughtful answer that was probably better than most of us in the room would have given,” Gates recalled. “The whole experience was stunning.”
“The development of AI is as fundamental as the creation of the microprocessor, the personal computer, the internet, and the mobile phone,” Gates wrote. “It will change the way people work, learn, travel, get healthcare, and communicate with each other. Entire industries will reorient around it. Businesses will distinguish themselves by how well they use it.”
Microsoft has invested in ChatGPT and is incorporating the technology into some of its products. Gates no longer has an active role at Microsoft since departing the board in 2020, but is the largest individual stakeholder in the company, owning about 1.38% of the company’s stock, according to FactSet.
“I’m lucky to have been involved with the PC revolution and the internet revolution,” he wrote. “I’m just as excited about this moment.”
“This new technology can help people everywhere improve their lives,” Gates said. “At the same time, the world needs to establish the rules of the road so that any downsides of artificial intelligence are far outweighed by its benefits, and so that everyone can enjoy those benefits no matter where they live or how much money they have. The Age of AI is filled with opportunities and responsibilities.”
The tech icon’s comments come on the same day that Nvidia Corp.
launched a slew of products at its annual GTC developer conference aimed at expanding practical artificial-intelligence technology, not only by selling the hardware but selling the software too. Nvidia then said it had partnered with Alphabet Inc.’s
Google Cloud Platform in its “biggest collaboration.” Also, Adobe Inc.
launched its “Firefly” AI at its own event in Las Vegas.