Why create personal AI?

Palo Alto, CA – May 2, 2023

Palo Alto, CA, May 2, 2023 – Why create a personal AI? It’s a fair question. One that is perhaps not asked, let alone answered, often enough. For context, it’s worth stepping back and thinking about how consumer software has impacted the world over the last decade.    I think it’s true to say that while social media has delivered some incredible benefits, democratizing the ability to broadcast, empowering people to learn and connect at unimaginable scale, some aspects have caused significant harm both to individuals and to society.    A small but influential number of power users post content designed to solicit outrage and anger. Their posts spread faster and further because their content often plays fast and loose with the facts, is inflammatory, or in some cases is even deliberately misleading. This fuels the spread of misinformation and amplifies existing divisions.    While processes like these have a long history, there’s little doubt that new technology has accelerated them dramatically. I don’t think social media companies set out to do this, but they have certainly profited from it. That in turn has led them to react slowly when their platforms are misused or facilitate harm.    Since their business models involve getting paid to show ads when people spend time engaging with content, some companies have an inherent incentive to show the most engaging content regardless of its quality, veracity or impact on society.    As a result, all the most capable AIs today have often been designed to persuade you to exchange your attention for something that you want in return; information, connection, news, entertainment and so on.    AI needs to work for you. This is why we build AI. To try to rebalance this asymmetry. Imagine the most capable AI in the world that is truly on your side, directly aligned with your interests and constantly calibrating to your needs. What would it look like to shift from being at the mercy of AIs trying to grab your attention to working alongside one that helps you express your personal intention and then achieve it?    Imagine an AI that helps you deeply understand topics you really care about, rather than flagging superficial clickbait. Imagine an AI that helps you empathize with or even forgive ‘the other side’, rather than be outraged by and fearful of them. Imagine an AI that optimizes for your long-term goals and doesn’t take advantage of your need for distraction when you’re tired at the end of a long day.    Imagine your personal AI companion with the single mission of making you happier, healthier and more productive.    Sure, these are very hard challenges. They’re hard to define, let alone deliver on. It may be years before we can make significant progress in all these directions. But setting out our intention, our North Star, is essential.    This is the AI we are creating. This is what it means to truly put the interests of people first, both in the experiences we create and the way we get paid. It’s difficult for many of the big tech companies to do this because they’re busy prioritizing advertisers and content creators. It’s a huge balancing act. We are going to try to do it differently.    We don’t have all the answers, but we are setting out to develop a personal intelligence that really does work for you, that’s in your corner, always on your team. Our mission is to firmly align your AI with you, and your interests, above all else. It means designing an AI that helps you articulate your intentions, organize your life and be there for you when you need it.    Why build an AI? Because done right, it will make us smarter, more creative, kinder to one another and hopefully give us back time to allow us all to live the lives we really want.