Bill Gates On AI: It Will Change How You Use Computers, And Everything Else He Said

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Bill Gates made a surprise appearance on the Artificial Intelligence subreddit in order to share his thoughts on the future of AI and how it will impact computing. Gates is bullish on AI, believing it will entrench itself into various aspects of people’s daily lives. Personal assistants, healthcare, education and productivity will all be transformed by AI moving forward, according to Gates.

This will all be made possible through the use agents, which are essentially software-defined assistants that are able to respond to natural language and accomplish tasks by leveraging knowledge about the user. “Agents are not only going to change how everyone interacts with computers. They’re also going to upend the software industry, bringing about the biggest revolution in computing since we went from typing commands to tapping on icons” writes Gates.

Personal assistants are the most common AI use case computer users encounter today, but agents will take it to the next level in the future Gates envisions. He refers to the current offerings as simple bots confined to a specific application, while agents will be able to improve over time based on a user’s behavior and will be able to accomplish tasks across mulitple applications and potentially platforms.

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Healthcare will also see a revamp thanks to agents. The biggest benefit will be to individuals who may not have access to a doctor. In the future, they'll be able to consult with an agent and get a basic diagnosis and advice to see a doctor if necessary. Nurses and doctors will also benefit from agents, by relieving them of more basic tasks and assisting in making decisions. However, Gates notes that these agents will be slower to roll out because of the impact an agent can have on someone’s health.

Agents in the education sector will help teachers with time consuming paperwork, which could free them to get more time with their students. Meanwhile, students will be able to have agents that act as personalized tutors. These agent tutors will learn how to best present educational content in a way that will most engage that student.

Bill Gates acknowledges that there will be several hurdles to getting to this future, specifically in the areas of privacy and security. Thorny questions about who gets access to a user’s data and how they go about it will need to be addressed.