Batter Up! Scoring This Expert’s 2023 AI Predictions

This AI seer offered some intriguing predictions for AI technology going forward. So what’s his batting average?

If you follow the artificial intelligence market, chances are you’ve heard of Rob Toews, a partner at San Francisco Bay Area-based Radical Ventures. There, Toews leads the firm’s technology investments, including BirchAI, Hebbia, Muon Space, Reka, Twelve Labs, Unlearn, among others.

Toews has a side gig, too, as a Forbes contributor on all things AI where he pens a regular technology column.

Last December, Toews offered up an interesting column on his “Top 10” AI predictions for 2023.

Almost one year later, it’s just as interesting to track the bets made by one of the most prominent AI thinkers in the business and see how his predictions panned out.

Let’s break out the magnifying glass, review a few of those predictions, and track Toew’s batting average on AI calls for 2023.

Toews: GPT-4 will be released in the next couple of months—and yes, it will be a big deal.

“Expect GPT-4 to be released early in the new year and to represent a dramatic step-change performance improvement relative to GPT-3 and 3.5. As manic as the recent hype around ChatGPT has been, it will be a mere prelude to the public reaction when GPT-4 is released. Buckle up.”

Verdict: Home Run. OpenAI released GPT-4 to rave reviews in March, 2023.

Toews: We are going to start running out of data to train large language models.

“It has become a cliché to say that data is the new oil. This analogy is fitting in one underappreciated way: both resources are finite and at risk of being exhausted. The area of AI for which this concern is most pressing is language models.”

Verdict: Double. High marks for the term “new oil” and yes, language model realities are getting a closer look by AI developers. But “exhausted” may be an over-reach right now.

Toews: For the first time, some members of the general public will begin using fully driverless cars as their day-to-day mode of transportation.

“In 2023, robotaxi services will rapidly transition from a fascinating novelty to a viable, convenient — even mundane — way to get around the city. The number of robotaxis on the road and the number of people who use them will surge. In short, autonomous vehicles are about to enter their commercialization and scaling phase.

Rollout will happen on a city-by-city basis. Beyond San Francisco, expect fully driverless services to become available to the general public in at least two more U.S. cities next year. Plausible candidate locations include Phoenix, Austin, Las Vegas, and Miami.”

Verdict: Triple. Driverless taxis have debuted in San Francisco and L.A., but it’s looking like the sector will need more time to get its act together.

Toews: Search will change more in 2023 than it has since Google went mainstream in the early 2000s.

“In the wake of ChatGPT, one reconceptualization of search that has gotten a lot of attention is the idea of conversational search. Why enter a query and get back a long list of links (the current Google experience) if you could instead have a dynamic conversation with an AI agent in order to find what you are looking for? Conversational search has a bright future…, Character.AI, Metaphor and Perplexity are among the wave of promising young startups looking to take on Google and reinvent consumer search with LLMs and conversational interfaces.”

Verdict: Double: AI has definitely changed the way Google looks at search data. The tech giant has issued four AI-related algorithm updates in 2023. Expect more to follow in 2024 as the technology expands.

Toews: Many billions of dollars of new investment commitments will be announced to build chip manufacturing facilities in the United States as the U.S. makes contingency plans for Taiwan.

“Artificial intelligence, like human intelligence, depends upon both software and hardware. Certain types of advanced semiconductors are essential to power modern AI. By far the most important and widespread of these are Nvidia’s GPUs; players like AMD, Intel, and a handful of younger AI chip upstarts are also seeking to enter the market. Nearly all of these AI chips are designed in the United States. And nearly all of them are manufactured in Taiwan.”

Verdict: Home Run*: There’s no doubt the major hardware and software providers, especially semiconductor manufacturers, are giving Taiwan a wide berth as its frosty relationship with China looms large over the geopolitical landscape. That said, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. remains the largest provider of computer chips, generating 60% of the world’s supply, and that’s not changing anytime soon.

Still, Toews is right on the money about the burgeoning China-Taiwan situation, so let’s call this an “inside the park” home run that covers all the bases – even though the ball doesn’t leave the park.

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