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Bill Gates: Why I’m Optimistic About The Future Of AI

via PBS NewsHour
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The potential of artificial intelligence (AI) to drive innovation and improve various aspects of life, particularly in low- and middle-income countries has become a topic recently praised by experts in the field, including tech billionaire Bill Gates.

Gates remains particularly hopeful in AI’s potential role in drug discovery, healthcare, education, and addressing global health challenges.

“One of the biggest impacts so far is on creating new medicines. AI tools can speed up the process of drug discovery significantly, and some companies are already working on cancer drugs developed this way,” Gates said. (Trending: Supreme Court Delivers Historic Ruling on AR-15s)

“A key priority of the Gates Foundation in AI is ensuring these tools are also used to address health issues like AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria that disproportionately affect the world’s poorest.”

“I believe there is huge potential to use AI to improve lives in low- and middle-income countries. I recently met with several innovators from developing countries during a trip to Senegal. They’re doing amazing AI research with the intention that it will one day benefit people in their own communities.”

“Much of their work is still in the earliest stages of development, but it is setting the stage for a massive technology boom later this decade.”

There remains, however, a serious need to address potential risks associated with AI.

“In order to maximize their benefit, we need to tackle some of the broad risks associated with AI, including how to prevent bias and hallucinations,” Gates warned.

“Hallucinations refer to times when an AI system confidently makes some claim that simply is not true, which could be disastrous in a medical context. Although some researchers think hallucinations are a problem inherent to AI technology, I don’t agree. I’m optimistic that, over time, AI models can be taught to distinguish fact from fiction.”

“OpenAI, for example, is doing promising work on this front.”

Overall, experts have primarily focused on leveraging AI to create a more equitable world and reduce the gap in technology adoption between high-income and low-income countries.

“I’m inspired to see so many researchers already thinking about how we deploy new technologies in low- and middle-income countries,” Gates pressed.

“If we make smart investments now, AI can make the world a more equitable place. It can reduce or even eliminate the lag time between when the rich world gets an innovation and when the poor world does. In high-income countries like the United States, I believe we are 18-24 months away from significant levels of AI use by the general population.”

“In African countries, I expect to see a comparable level of use in three years or so. That’s still a gap, but it’s much shorter than the lag times we’ve seen with other innovations.”

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