radical Insights.

Weekly Research and Commentary on the Future of Business and Technology.

Get Ready For Your Smart Agent.

Jun 6, 2023

No other than Microsoft’s co-founder Bill Gates made a bold statement during the recent AI Forward 2023 conference in San Francisco: “[…] you will never go to a search site again, you will never go to a productivity site, you’ll never go to Amazon again.”

Gates’ comment is the logical conclusion of the end of search as we know it, which we talked about in our last briefing. His vision goes a few steps further – in effect and cause. The first part of the statement above is “Whoever wins the personal agent, that’s the big thing […]” – Gates’ vision for the future is smart, autonomous, personal agents executing tasks on our behalf.

We already see the weak signals for this possible future emerging: ChatGPT has plug-ins, Microsoft’s AI can leverage the Bing search engine, and open-source projects such as AutoGPT lead the way. And as per usual in the world of technology – progress happens “gradually, then suddenly” (as per Ernest Hemingway), and the early versions of this technology are simply not good.

During my time at Mozilla, Chris Beard (who later became Mozilla’s CEO) worked on a set of agents representing the different facets of your personality – you are a different person in different settings, your online persona should match that and smart agents are possibly the most powerful way to express this. Back in the 2010s, this was mostly a speculative concept, as technology wasn’t mature enough – something which has changed with the rise of LLMs. And Beard just founded a company to make his ideas a reality. Another weak signal bubbling up…

Here at be radical we are looking at ChatGPT and its siblings less through the lens of its direct implications but rather like to ask ourselves what the implications of the implications will be – as the true disruption will be experienced in the ripple effects of evermore powerful AIs. (via Pascal)