Bill Gates says age of artificial intelligence has begun, lists these risks, potential

Mar 22, 2023 10:52 AM IST

Bill Gates, in his latest Gates Notes blog, hailed the AI chatbot ChatGPT and said it inspired him to think how AI could revolutionise the world in the next five to ten years.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates in his latest blog has spoken about a range of topics surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) including how the world can seek its benefits as well the challenges it poses for us. In his blog, posted on ‘Gates Notes’ on Tuesday, the philanthropist asserted that AI is as revolutionary as mobile phones and the internet.

Bill Gates (Raj K Raj/HT Photo)
Bill Gates (Raj K Raj/HT Photo)

Gates hailed the invention of ChatGPT – the buzz of the town these days – as the second revolutionary technological demonstration he had after being introduced to the graphical user interface in the 1980s. As stunned as he was after his first meeting with the GPT model, Gates said he was inspired to think about what AI could do in the next 10 years.

The American business magnate believed AI could reduce some of the world’s worst inequities, the worst he knows being health inequity. Giving an example of the United States, he said education acts as the best opportunity to reduce inequity but it needs improvement. He rooted for the Black, Latino, and low-income students – who are relatively more disadvantaged — and said with AI, the current downward trend seen in the educational sector could turn around.

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The 67-year-old philanthropist also suggested the use of AI for fighting climate injustice. Gates maintained that the world’s poorest and those who contributed least to the problem of climate change, are the worst sufferers due to it. While he was positive of the outcomes AI would produce for reversing trends of climate injustice with the help of AI, Gates said its potential needed to be explored.

Gates, in his blog further, suggested ways AI will help empower people at work, save lives, and improve education.

He maintained that humans are still better than GPT at a lot of things but at many places its capabilities are left unused. He said tools like GPT’s ability to express ideas, creation of personal agents like a digital assistant are some of the ways AI can improve work efficiency. He said a personal agent may not be feasible yet but is realistic with certain limitations that needed to be worked out including the level of personal details that should be shared with it.

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Gates believed that AI’s involvement as an assistant in industries will benefit the society by availing more free time for people to take up other things.

He also said AI can help assist health workers to be more productive. The use of AI models in poor countries will need to be trained on different diseases than in rich countries. They will need to work in different languages and factor in different challenges,” Gates said. He also spoke about the challenges AI will face and maintained it will need to be tested very carefully and properly regulated.

Gates also said AI can be a breakthrough in handling data. “The amount of data in biology is very large, and it’s hard for humans to keep track of all the ways these work…the next generation of tools will be able to predict side effects and figure out dosing levels,” he said.

On the educational front, Gates said “AI-driven software will finally deliver on the promise of revolutionising the way people teach and learn.” Gates said the focus should be on availing these tools for low income countries and sections of population who are less at the disadvantaged end.

Gates, towards the end of his blog, talked about the risks of AI and its limitations. “..Artificial intelligence can be used for good purposes or malign ones. Governments need to work with the private sector on ways to limit the risks.” He also talked about risks that could come with AI turning very powerful. “Could a machine decide that humans are a threat…” but maintained that “It will be able to do everything that a human brain can, but without any practical limits on the size of its memory or the speed at which it operates. This will be a profound change.”


    Trainee Content Producer for Hindustan Times Digital Streams. I read about feminism, late modern history, and globalisation of Korean music.

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