Generative AI is taking off, and along with it excitement and hype about the technology’s potential. I encourage you to think of it as a general-purpose technology (GPT, not to be confused with the other GPT: generative pretrained transformer). Like deep learning — and electricity — generative AI is useful not just for a single application, but for a multitude of applications that span many corners of the economy. And, like the rise of deep learning that started 10 to 15 years ago, there’s important work to be done in coming years to identify use cases and build specific applications.
Generative AI (Gen AI) offers huge opportunities for AI engineers to build applications that make the world a better place. Will it be used to deliver educational coaching, help people with their writing and artwork, automate customer support, teach people how to cook, generate special effects in movies, or dispense medical advice? Yes, all of the above and many more applications besides! When I asked people on social media what they use ChatGPT for, the diversity and creativity of responses showed just a sampling of current Gen AI use cases.
With Gen AI, things like writing and graphics that once were in limited supply will become abundant. I spoke on this theme last week at Abundance 360, a conference organized by XPrize founder Peter Diamandis. (Stability AI’s Emad Mostaque and Scale AI’s Alexandr Wang spoke in the same session.) It was a wonderful conference with sessions that covered not only AI but also topics like food, robotics, and longevity (how can we live longer and stay healthy until age 120 and even beyond?).
I also spoke about AI Fund, the venture studio I lead, where we’re building startups that use Gen AI along with other forms of AI. The AI Fund team understands this general-purpose technology — but not global shipping, real estate, security, mental health, and many other industries that AI can be applied to. Thus we’ve found it critical to partner with subject-matter experts who understand the use cases in these areas. If you have an idea for applying AI, working with a subject matter expert — if you aren’t already one yourself — can make a huge difference in your success.
Moreover, I don’t think any single company can simultaneously tackle such a wide range of applications that span diverse industries. The world needs many startups to build useful applications across all these sectors.
It should go without saying that, in applying Gen AI, it’s crucial to move forward with a keen sense of responsibility and ethics. AI Fund has killed financially sound projects on ethical grounds. I hope you will do the same.
P.S. I love the abbreviation Gen AI. Gen X, Gen Y, and Gen Z refer to specific groups. This abbreviation suggests that all of us who are alive today are part of Generation AI!