Technology

AI Will See 'Significant Use by the General Population'

By 2025. According to Bill Gates. Every child could have their own AI tutor.

By Inc.Arabia Staff
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Bill Gates predicts that by 2025, artificial intelligence (AI) will be widely used in the United States, transforming daily life. He expresses optimism about the potential impact of AI, foreseeing significant adoption within 18-24 months in high-income countries and around three years in African nations. Gates believes that AI can address global issues, particularly technological inequality, if smart investments are made. He highlights AI initiatives funded by the Gates Foundation, including personalized education tools, AI solutions for preventing antibiotic resistance in healthcare, and support for small farmers in Africa. Despite the current limited use of AI, Gates anticipates a substantial increase in AI adoption globally within the next two years.

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EXPERT OPINION BY MINDA ZETLIN, AUTHOR OF 'CAREER SELF-CARE: FIND YOUR HAPPINESS, SUCCESS, AND FULFILLMENT AT WORK'@MINDAZETLIN

By sometime in 2025, the use of artificial intelligence will be common among most Americans, perhaps transforming daily life as we know it. That prediction comes from Bill Gates, whose outlook on AI is decidedly optimistic. 

"If I had to make a prediction, in high-income countries like the United States, I would guess that we are 18-24 months away from significant levels of AI use by the general population," he writes in a year-end blog post. "In African countries, I expect to see a comparable level of use in three years or so." That's a step forward, he adds, because African countries and other poor nations have always lagged behind richer nations in benefiting from new technology and innovation, often by longer than three years. That technological inequality is one global problem he believes AI can solve--if we choose to use it that way. "If we make smart investments now, AI can make the world a more equitable place," he writes.

This is just one way AI could make the world better, he adds, but there are many others--some of which people are just starting to think about. The Gates Foundation held an AI Grand Challenge earlier this year, giving grants of up to $100,000 to help develop AI-driven projects that tackle global challenges in health care, opportunity, development, and gender equity.

Here are a few projects it has funded this year.

1. An individualized tutor for every student.

"The AI education tools being piloted today are mind-blowing because they are tailored to each individual learner," Gates writes. In addition to being customized for every student and curriculum, they can work in local languages, and contexts. 

For example, one such initiative in Kenya is called Somanasi, which means "learn together" in Swahili. "The tutor has been designed with the cultural context in mind so it feels familiar to the students who use it," Gates writes.

2. Preventing antibiotic resistance.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when a pathogen has encountered the same antibiotic so many times that it adapts and evolves to "ignore" it. This is a huge problem in Western hospitals, and an even bigger one in Africa, which has the highest mortality from antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

The first line of defense is for health care providers to fine-tune the way they prescribe medications to avoid pushing microbes to the point of resistance. That's where AI comes in. Aurum Institute in Ghana is working on an AI tool that integrates the most up-to-date information on specific pathogens that might be nearing antibiotic resistance, and provides suggestions for the best drug and dosage to treat an illness without creating AMR.

3. Helping small farmers in Africa.

Researchers at the University of Uganda are working to help small family farms in sub-Saharan Africa. These farms are an important part of the region's economy, but they can be wiped out by pests or crop disease. 

One problem is that smallhold farmers have little access to information on how to fight specific pests and diseases, particularly if they only speak the local language of their area. This is where to ChatGPT may be able to help. The researchers will test ChatGPT's ability to assemble and curate accurate, targeted information about how to deal with specific crop diseases and other threats, and then deliver that information in local languages, to help farmers protect their precious crops.

Here in the United States, you might think that AI is already ubiquitous, but it really isn't. A Pew Research Study published in May surveyed more than 10,000 Americans. It found that, while 58 percent had heard of ChatGPT, only 14 percent had actually tried it. That's what Gates believes will change within the next two years.

One problem is that--despite the proliferation of AI "cheat sheets" online--many people have struggled to find use cases where AI is truly helpful. That includes Gates himself. "I thought I would use AI tools for the foundation's strategy reviews this year, which require reading hundreds of pages of briefing materials that an AI could accurately summarize for me," he writes. "But old habits are hard to break, and I ended up preparing for them the same way I always do."

There's a growing audience of Inc.com readers who receive a daily text from me with a self-care or motivational micro-challenge or tip. Often, they text me back and we wind up in a conversation. (Want to learn more? Here's some information about the texts and a special invitation to an extended free trial.) Some of the people in my text community love AI, some use it reluctantly, some hate it, and some just haven't bothered to try it. But if Gates is right, no one will be able to avoid AI for much longer.

Photo Credit: Getty Images.

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