As someone who has forever changed how society uses and interacts with technology, Bill Gates is undoubtedly one of the most well-known people in the tech sector. It’s not surprising, then, that there’s a buzz around what became known as Bill Gates’ Holy Grail technology.
At the 2016 Code Conference, attendees learned that Bill Gates’ Holy Grail technology is artificial intelligence (AI). The man himself divulged this information during an event at the gathering. As part of his dialog, Gates went further and explained that he foresees a future “with machines that are capable and more capable than human intelligence.”
A Realistic Perspective
It’s essential to realize that Bill Gates’ Holy Grail technology outlook doesn’t involve seeing AI while wearing rose-colored glasses. In fact, outside of the 2016 proclamation, Gates’ said a year earlier during a Reddit Ask Me Anything event that he didn’t understand why people weren’t concerned by the possibility that AI might become too smart to control.
He admitted, though, that some AI technology would help humans with their duties and not be smarter than them, which would be positive.
Even during the Code Conference when he spoke of AI so highly, Gates recognized the impact on the labor market as AI tech takes over repetitive tasks initially handled by humans. He acknowledged the need to figure out retraining. That would then allow people to continue working productively, albeit in other roles.
While giving more details about his opinions, Gates talked about how there has been more progress as of late than at any other time associated with civilization. He said he believes that in less than 20 years, people will undoubtedly see robots handling more jobs than they do now.
The Improvement Bill Gates Wants to See
A couple of years after the Reddit live chat where Gates disclosed his concerns about AI, he took part in another Ask Me Anything event hosted by Reddit and tied computer advancements to the achievements he’d like to see during his lifetime.
He specified his desire to see computers with capabilities to read things and understand them like humans. Gates referenced an example that even the smartest AI can’t read a book and then comprehend the information enough to recall it while taking a test about the content — at least not yet.
Gates called that achievement a “big milestone” and recognized that numerous companies, including Google and Facebook, are trying to make it a reality. Even before that happens, though, Gates expects to see AI that can drive cars, clean houses and otherwise assist people with life’s daily tasks.
While answering the same question about his hopes via Reddit, Gates also turned to medical technology and expressed wanting to see vaccines for HIV, tuberculosis and malaria engineered during his time on Earth.
Expanding AI Knowledge Through Literature
During the 2016 Code Conference, Gates’ wife Melinda was with him on stage. She chimed in to say that one way to tell what captures her husband’s interest is to take a peek inside his book bag.
She said there’d been numerous AI books in it, which lead her to conclude that although Gates has shifted to philanthropy in recent years, he’s working on AI, too. In fact, Gates even gave a few book recommendations and urged people to read them to get up to speed about AI.
While addressing Harvard students during an April 2018 Q&A, it was clear the fascination still holds true. Gates was a Harvard dropout who wisely decided that founding Microsoft took priority over his coursework. However, he said that if he were to attend classes now, he’d study artificial intelligence and try to tackle some of the existing problems in the AI arena, such as the one brought up in the Reddit event about reading comprehension.
How Gates Thinks AI Will Positively Impact Humanity
Bill Gates believes AI will help humans eventually look forward to extended vacations and brings up the potential to produce twice as many goods with less labor. If that happens, technology will play a sizeable role in boosting productivity.
Looking at Both Sides of the Issue
It’s refreshing to realize Bill Gates has devoted deep thought about the good and bad things that could happen as a result of AI’s rise in society. Instead of showing that he’s “all in” with the technology, he sees AI’s promise and knows it’ll be necessary to take precautions so that it doesn’t have too strong of an effect on humanity.
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