AI is about to completely change how you use computersSOURCE: gatesnotes.com
I still love software as much today as I did when Paul Allen and I started Microsoft. But—even though it has improved a lot in the decades since then—in many ways, software is still pretty dumb. To do any task on a computer, you have to tell your device which app to use. You can use Microsoft Word and Google Docs to draft a business proposal, but they can’t help you send an email, share a selfie, analyze data, schedule a party, or buy movie tickets. And even the best sites have an incomplete understanding of your work, personal life, interests, and relationships and a limited ability to use this information to do things for you. That’s the kind of thing that is only possible today with another human being, like a close friend or personal assistant. In the next five years, this will change completely. You won’t have to use different apps for different tasks. You’ll simply tell your device, in everyday language, what you want to do. And depending on how much information you choose to share with it, the software will be able to respond personally because it will have a rich understanding of your life. In the near future, anyone who’s online will be able to have a personal assistant powered by artificial intelligence that’s far beyond today’s technology. This type of software—something that responds to natural language and can accomplish many different tasks based on its knowledge of the user—is called an agent. I’ve been thinking about agents for nearly 30 years and wrote about them in my 1995 book The Road Ahead, but they’ve only recently become practical because of advances in AI. 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.