DeepMind co-founder predicts “third wave” of AI: machines talking to machines and people

Forward-looking: It looks like the initial hype surrounding generative AI is running out of steam. But according to Mustafa Suleyman, one of the cofounders of DeepMind, generative artificial intelligence is just a phase before the next wave: interactive AI, where machines perform multi-step tasks on their own by talking to other AIs and even people.

Suleyman gave his opinion on the state of AI in an interview with MIT Technology Review last week. He said the first wave of AI was classification, with deep learning classifying types of input data such as images and audio. The second, current AI wave is generative, which takes that input data to produce new data.

The next, third wave, according to Suleyman, will be interactive AI. He says that rather than clicking buttons or typing, users will be talking to their AIs, instructing them to take actions. “You will just give it a general, high-level goal and it will use all the tools it has to act on that. They’ll talk to other people, talk to other AIs,” Suleyman explained.

It’s often argued that generative AI is a bit of a misnomer, seeing as these LLM-powered tools don’t show intelligence in the same way as humans or animals. But Suleyman suggests that interactive AI will be closer to the artificial intelligence often seen in sci-fi media. Rather than being “static” like today’s technology, phase three AI will be animated, able to carry out its instructions with freedom and agency.

“It’s a very, very profound moment in the history of technology that I think many people underestimate,” he added.

Earlier this year, Suleyman’s company, Inflection AI, released a rival to ChatGPT called Pi, which he says is nicer, politer, and more focused on being conversational.

While generative AI remains an enterprise-changing, multi-billion-dollar industry, a lot of the hype around the tech has cooled in recent times. Web traffic toward the ChatGPT site is down for the third month in a row, while similar tools have reported flat or declining user growth. However, with the technology expanding in scope and advancing all the time, Suleyman’s prediction that a third phase of AI will usher in a new era of technology might be more than just hyperbole. It does sound worryingly a bit like Skynet, though.

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