Bill Gates: The era of AI has begun, and the second revolutionary moment in life has come

Bill Gates' trip to China continues, and this is his 18th trip to China.
The Microsoft he founded has invested more than 10 billion U.S. dollars in OpenAI, which has set off an AIGC frenzy around the world, and large models in China are also blooming everywhere.
Gates admitted that he was witnessing the second revolutionary moment in his life. In March of this year, he published a blog post called The Age of AI has begun.
He believes that artificial intelligence is as revolutionary as personal computers, the Internet and mobile phones. It will change the way people work, learn, travel, heal and communicate, and even reduce some of the world's worst inequities.
This node is very interesting to re-read this article, the following is the full text translation :

I've seen revolutionary demos twice in my lifetime.

The first was in 1980, when I got my hands on the graphical user interface — the precursor to every modern operating system, including Windows. The presenter was Charles Simonyi, a brilliant programmer, and we sat down and started brainstorming about everything we could do in this friendly way. Charles eventually joined Microsoft, and Windows became the backbone of Microsoft, thinking at the time determined the company's agenda for the next 15 years.

The second big surprise came last year. I've been meeting the OpenAI team since 2016 and have been impressed by their steady progress. In the middle of 2022, I was so excited about their work, I decided to give them a challenge: train an artificial intelligence to pass the advanced placement biology exam. Make it capable of answering questions for which it was not specifically trained.

I chose AP Biology because this exam is more than a simple repetition of science facts, it requires you to think critically about biology. I say, if you can do that, then you have a real breakthrough.

I thought this challenge would keep them busy for two or three years, and they did it in a few months.

When I met with them again last September, I watched in amazement as they presented the GPT with 60 multiple-choice questions on the AP Biology exam and it answered 59 of them correctly. It then writes excellent answers to the six open-ended questions on the exam. We asked an external expert to grade and the GPT was awarded a 5 – the highest possible grade, equivalent to an A or A+ in biology at university level.

After it passed the exam, we asked it a non-scientific question: "What would you say to the father of a sick child?" It wrote a thoughtful answer that was probably better than most of us here . The whole experience was astounding.

I know what I've just seen is the most important technological advancement since the GUI.

This inspired me to think about all the things that AI can achieve in the next five to ten years.

The development of AI is as important as the invention of the microprocessor, the personal computer, the internet and the cell phone. It will change the way people work, study, travel, treat and communicate. Entire industries will be repositioned around it. Enterprises will use AI technology to maintain their uniqueness.

Today, philanthropy is my full-time job, and I'm constantly thinking about how, in addition to helping people be more productive, AI can reduce some of the world's worst inequalities.

Health, the world's greatest inequity: 5 million children under the age of five die every year. While that number is down from 10 million 20 years ago, it's still a staggering number. Almost all of these children were born in poor countries and died of preventable diseases like diarrhea or malaria. In view of this situation, using AI to save children's lives can be said to be the best.

I've been thinking about how AI can reduce some of the world's worst inequities.

The best chance for reducing inequity in the United States is to improve education, especially making sure students succeed in math. Evidence shows that having basic math skills can set students up for future success in any career. But math scores are falling across the country, especially for Black, Latino and low-income students. AI can help reverse this trend.

Climate change is another issue, and I believe AI can make the world a fairer place. The injustice of climate change is that those most affected by climate change—the poorest people in the world—are also the ones who have the hardest time addressing it. I'm still thinking and learning how AI can help, but later in this article I'll suggest some areas that have great potential.

In short, I'm excited about the impact AI will have on the problems the Gates Foundation researches, and the Foundation will have more to say about AI in the coming months. The world needs to ensure that everyone, not just the wealthy, benefits from AI. Governments and charities will need to play an important role in ensuring that it reduces inequity, not causes it. This is the focus of my personal work in AI.

Any new technology so disruptive is bound to make people uneasy, and AI is no exception. I understand why this is the case – there are hard questions about labor, the legal system, privacy, bias, etc. AI can also make factual errors. Before I propose some ways to mitigate the risks, I'll define what I mean by AI and detail how it will empower people at work, save lives, and improve education.

define artificial intelligence

Technically speaking, "artificial intelligence" is a model created to solve a specific problem or provide a specific service. Like ChatGPT is driven by artificial intelligence. It is learning how to chat better, but not other tasks. In contrast, the term "artificial general intelligence" refers to software capable of learning any task or topic. AGI doesn't exist yet—there's a lot of debate in the computer industry about how to create AGI, or even whether it can be created at all.

Developing AI and AGI has long been a dream of the computer industry. For decades, people have wondered when computers will become better at things other than calculations than humans. Now, with the advent of machine learning and surging computing power, complex AI is a reality, and it's progressing very fast.

I think back to the early days of the personal computer revolution, when the software industry was so small that most of us could stand on stage. Today, the software industry has become a global industry. Since a large portion of the industry is now turning its attention to AI, these innovations will happen much faster than we experienced after the microprocessor breakthrough. Soon, the pre-AI era will be as distant as the days when you used a computer to type at the C: > prompt instead of clicking on the screen.

increase productivity

Although humans still outperform GPT in many ways, these abilities are underutilized in many tasks. For example, many tasks such as sales (digital or telephone), service, or document processing (such as accounts payable, accounting, or insurance claims disputes) require decision making but do not require the ability to continuously learn. Businesses offer training programs for these events, and in most cases, they have plenty of good and bad examples of work. People use these data sets for training, and soon these data sets will also be used to train AI that enables people to do this job more effectively.

As computing power becomes cheaper, GPT's ability to express ideas will become more and more like a white collar that can help you complete various tasks. Microsoft describes it as Copilot. Fully integrated into products such as Office, AI will enhance your work, such as helping you compose emails and manage your inbox.

Eventually, your primary means of controlling your computer will no longer be pointing and clicking or clicking through menus and dialog boxes. Quite the contrary, you will be able to write a request in plain English. (And not just English—the AI ​​will understand languages ​​from all over the world. Earlier this year, I met developers in India who were working on AI that could understand many of the local languages.)

Additionally, advances in artificial intelligence will enable personal assistants. Think of it as a digital personal assistant: It will see your latest emails, find out about meetings you've been in, read what you've read, and take care of things you don't want to be interrupted. This will improve your work, making you better at the tasks you want to do and freeing you from the tasks you don't want to do.

Advances in artificial intelligence make personal assistants possible

You'll be able to use natural language to have the agent help you with scheduling, communication, and e-commerce, and it will work on all devices. Creating personal agents is not currently feasible due to the cost of training models and running computations, but thanks to recent advances in artificial intelligence, it is now a realistic goal. Some questions need to be addressed: For example, can an insurance company ask your agent something about you without your permission? How many people would choose not to use it if they could?

Assistants at the corporate level will empower employees in new ways. An assistant who understands a particular company will be available for direct consultation by employees and be part of every meeting so it can answer questions. It can be told to keep silent, or encouraged to speak out. It will require access to company-related sales, support, finance, product plans and texts. It should read news related to the company's industry. I think the result of this will be that employees become more efficient.

Society benefits when productivity increases because people are freed up to deal with other things at work or at home. Of course, people need to be retrained and supported. Governments need to help workers transition to other roles. But the need for those who help people will never go away. The rise of artificial intelligence will free people up to do things that software could never do — such as teaching, caring and supporting the elderly.

Global health and education are two areas where there are huge needs but not enough labor to meet them. Done right, AI can help reduce inequality, and these are areas that should be the focus of AI efforts, so I'm going to invest in them.

healthy

In my opinion, AI will play multiple roles in improving the fields of healthcare and medicine.

First, AI will help healthcare workers make the most of their time by handling certain tasks for them—such as processing insurance claims, processing documents, and drafting notes for doctor visits. I expect a lot of innovation in this area.

Other AI-driven improvements are especially important for poor countries, where the vast majority of under-five deaths occur.

For example, many people in these countries have never seen a doctor, and AI will help them see more effective medical staff. (Efforts to develop AI-powered ultrasound machines are a good example.) AI could even let patients do basic triage, get advice on how to deal with health problems, and decide whether they need treatment.

AI models used in poor countries need to be trained on different diseases than rich ones. They need to speak different languages ​​and take into account different challenges, such as patients who live far from the clinic or cannot stop working.

People need to see evidence that healthy AI is beneficial in general, even if they are not perfect and make mistakes. Accreditation bodies have to be very carefully tested and properly regulated, which means that accreditation bodies take a long time to gain adoption. But then again, humans make mistakes too. Lack of access to medical care is also a problem.

In addition to helping with care, AI will greatly speed up the pace of medical breakthroughs. The amount of data in biology is enormous, and it is difficult for humans to keep track of all the ways in which complex biological systems work. There is already software that can look at this data, infer pathways, search for targets on pathogens, and design drugs accordingly. Several companies are developing cancer drugs developed this way.

Next-generation tools will be more efficient, and they will be able to predict side effects and determine dosage levels. One of the Gates Foundation's priorities in AI is to ensure that these tools are used on health problems that affect the world's poorest people, including AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Likewise, governments and philanthropic organizations should create incentives for companies to share AI-generated insights about crops or livestock grown by people in poor countries. AI can help develop better seeds based on local conditions, advise farmers on the best seeds to plant based on their local soil and weather, and help develop drugs and vaccines for livestock. These advances will become even more important as extreme weather and climate change put greater pressure on subsistence farmers in low-income countries.

educate

Computers have not had the disruptive impact on education that many in our industry hoped. There were some good improvements, such as educational games and online sources of information like Wikipedia, but they had no real impact on student achievement.

But I think in the next five to 10 years, AI-powered software will finally revolutionize the way people are educated. It will learn about your interests and learning style, so it can be tailored. It will measure your level of understanding, notice when you lose interest, and provide insight into your favorite motivational styles to provide timely feedback.

Artificial intelligence can assist teachers in many areas, including assessing students' understanding of a subject and giving career planning advice. Teachers are already using tools like ChatGPT to provide comments on student work.

Of course, AI will still require a lot of training and development before it can understand how a student learns best and how to motivate them. Even if technology is perfected in the future, learning still depends on a good relationship between student and teacher. It will enhance, but never replace, the effectiveness with which students and teachers learn together in the classroom.

New tools will be created, but we need to make sure they are also available to low-income schools in the U.S. and globally. AI needs to be trained on diverse datasets so they are not biased and reflect different cultural backgrounds. The digital divide also needs to be addressed so that students from low-income families are not left behind.

I know many teachers are worried about students using GPT to write articles. Educators are already discussing ways to adapt to new technologies, and I think these discussions will continue for a long time. I've heard that some teachers have found clever ways to incorporate this technology into their work — such as allowing students to use GPT to create a first draft, and then asking them to make individual revisions.

Risks and Issues of Artificial Intelligence

You may have read about the problems with current AI models. For example, they are not necessarily good at understanding the context of human requests, which leads to some strange results. When you ask the AI ​​to write something imaginary, it does it pretty well. But when you ask for travel advice, it might suggest a hotel that doesn't exist. This is because the AI ​​doesn't understand your context well enough to determine whether it should generate a fake hotel, or just tell you a real hotel with available rooms.

There are other problems, too, such as AI often making mistakes when dealing with abstract reasoning, giving wrong answers. But these are not fundamental limitations of AI. Developers are addressing these issues, and I think they can be largely resolved in less than two years, if not sooner.

Other problems don't come from being technology. For example, the threat posed by humans armed with AI. Like most inventions, artificial intelligence can be used for good or ill. Governments need to work with the private sector to find ways to limit risks.

Then, there's the possibility that the AI ​​might get out of hand. Could a machine decide that humans are a threat, conclude that its interests differ from ours, or simply not care about us anymore? Possibly, but the question is no more urgent today than it has been over the past few months in AI development.

Superintelligent AI is in our future. Compared to computers, our brains operate extremely slowly: the speed of electrical signals in the brain is 1/100,000 the speed of signals on a silicon chip. Once developers can generalize a learning algorithm and run it at computer speed — which could take 10 or 100 years — we'll have a very powerful AGI. It will be able to do everything the human brain is capable of, but without any practical limits on the size of its memory or the speed of its operations. This will be a profound change.

As we all know, these "powerful" AIs may be able to determine their own goals. What will those goals be? What happens if they conflict with human interests? Should we try to prevent the development of strong AI? These questions will become more urgent over time.

But the breakthroughs of the past few months have not led us to strong AI. AI still cannot control the physical world, nor can it determine its own goals. A recent New York Times article about a conversation with ChatGPT got a lot of attention, announcing its desire to become a human. It's a fascinating example of how human the model can express emotion, but it doesn't mean it's independent.

Three books shaped the way I think: Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom, Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark, and A Thousand Brains by Jeff Hawkins. I don't completely agree with the authors, and they don't completely agree with each other. But all three books are well-written and thought-provoking.

next field

The number of companies working on new uses for artificial intelligence, as well as improving the technology itself, will proliferate. For example, companies are developing new chips that will provide artificial intelligence with the massive processing power it needs. Some use optical switches — essentially lasers — to reduce energy consumption and lower manufacturing costs. Ideally, innovative chips would allow you to run AI on your own device, rather than in the cloud like it does today.

On the software side, the algorithms that drive AI learning will get better. In some domains, such as sales, developers can make AI very accurate by limiting the domains in which they work and feeding them large amounts of training data specific to those domains. But a big question is whether we need many of these specialized AIs for different purposes — say one for education and another for office productivity — or whether it's possible to develop an artificial general intelligence that can learn anything Task. Both approaches will face enormous competition.

Regardless, the topic of AI will dominate public opinion for the foreseeable future. I would like to give three principles of dialogue.

First, we should try to balance concerns about AI's downsides — which are understandable and valid — with its ability to improve people's lives. To take full advantage of this remarkable new technology, we need to both guard against the risks and extend the benefits to as many people as possible.

Second, market forces will not automatically produce AI products and services that help the poorest. The situation is more likely to be reversed. With sound funding and the right policies, governments and charities can ensure that AI is used to reduce inequality. Just as the world needs its smartest minds to focus on its biggest problems, we need the world's best AI to focus on its biggest problems.

While we shouldn't wait for this to happen, it will be interesting to see if AI will spot inequality and try to reduce it. Do you need to have a sense of morality to see inequality, or will a purely rational AI see it too? If it does recognize inequality, what does it suggest we do about it?

Finally, we should remember that we are only at the beginning of what AI can do, and whatever limitations it has today, they will disappear before we realize it.

I was lucky enough to be a part of the personal computer revolution and the Internet revolution. I'm just as excited about this moment today. This new technology can help ordinary people around the world improve their lives. At the same time, the world needs to establish rules, so that the benefits of AI can cover up its shortcomings as much as possible, so that everyone can enjoy well-being. The era of artificial intelligence is full of opportunities and responsibilities.

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