Bill Gates, the illustrious founder of Microsoft, is not a big fan of the metaverse. On the other hand, the billionaire is full of praise for generative artificial intelligences like ChatGPT.
As every year, Bill Gates organizes a session of questions and answers on Reddit social network. Unsurprisingly, the founder of Microsoft was bombarded with questions from Internet users. One of them asked the billionaire, who remains one of the ten richest men in the world, about the metaverse.
The metaverse, a fake revolution?
The computer scientist did not hide his skepticism about accessible worlds in virtual and augmented reality. According to him, the Web3this decentralized version of the Internet that relies on blockchains, is not such a crucial advancement:
“I don’t think Web3 is that important or the metaverse alone is revolutionary.”
This isn’t the first time Bill Gates has taken on Web 3. Last year, he fiercely criticized one of the key elements of metaverse: non-fungible tokens (NFT). In his eyes, the entire NFT market is just a huge speculative bubble without the slightest interest.
In his responses on Reddit, Bill Gates doesn’t seem to completely dismiss the metaverse. Moderate, the billionaire is content to estimate that the revolution promised by the virtual worlds will have need for other innovations to arrive at his ends. The metaverse, as presented by Meta and its competitors, is not as major a revolution as the Internet was, according to Gates.
At the end of 2021, he had however prophesied the arrival of meetings in the metaverse. As part of his annual review, Bill Gates said he expected a great revolution in office workaccelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic:
“Over the next two or three years, I predict that most virtual meetings will move from grids of 2D camera images […] to the metaverse, a 3D space with digital avatars”.
Read also: Bill Gates publishes his CV, written 48 years ago, just before the creation of Microsoft
A glimpse of the future
On the other hand, Bill Gates was very enthusiastic about artificial intelligence. For the IT pioneer, AI is ” quite revolutionary. He said he was impressed by the prowess of generative intelligences, such as OpenAI’s must-have ChatGPT, which has been arousing enthusiasm in recent weeks:
“It gives a glimpse of what is to come. I’m impressed with this whole approach and the degree of innovation”.
Mirroring its co-founder, Microsoft was very interested in the success of ChatGPT. Prior to the launch of the chatbot, the American firm invested $1 billion to finance the start-up. Microsoft is reportedly considering shelling out another $10 billion in hopes of integrating ChatGPT into some of its products. For example, the company would like to add the chatbot to Bing, its search engine, to compete with Google. Generative AI would also come enrich software like PowerPoint, Word and Outlook.
“I still work with Microsoft, so I follow that very closely”says Bill Gates.
He believes that artificial intelligence will have a huge impact on the world. The philanthropist imagines that a smart chatbot could eventually come assist teachers or doctors. Better than a human, an AI would be able to arouse children’s interest in mathematics, explains Gates. Similarly, the technology could provide medical assistance to “ people in Africa who do not have access to a doctor”. Obviously, Bill Gates is studying these possibilities within the framework of the actions of the philanthropic foundation Bill-and-Melinda-Gates, dedicated to the fight against poverty and disease.