The brief history of artificial intelligence: The world has changed fast – what might be next?



Aug 12, 2023 • 4 min read


The brief history of artificial intelligence: The world has changed fast – what might be next?

Just 10 years ago, no machine could reliably provide language or image recognition at a human level. But, as the chart shows, AI systems have become steadily more capable and are now beating humans in tests in all these domains.

AI systems rely on machine learning, which requires training computation. Training computation is measured in floating point operations, or FLOP for short. One FLOP is equivalent to one addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division of two decimal numbers. Training computation is one of the three fundamental factors driving the capabilities of AI systems, along with algorithms and input data.

For the first six decades, training computation increased in line with Moore's Law, doubling roughly every 20 months. However, since around 2010, this exponential growth has accelerated even further, with a doubling time of just about 6 months.

This exponential growth in training computation has led to significant advancements in AI. In fact, some experts believe that there is a real chance that human-level artificial intelligence will be developed within the next few decades, and some even believe that it will exist much sooner.

In a recent update, Cotra estimated a 50% probability that "transformative AI" will be developed by the year 2040, less than two decades from now. This prediction highlights the rapid progress AI has made and the potential for even more significant advancements in the near future.

But what does this mean for society? The development of human-level artificial intelligence raises important questions about ethics, safety, and the impact on the job market. As AI becomes more capable, it has the potential to revolutionize industries, automate tasks, and change the way we live and work.

While the possibilities are exciting, it's crucial to approach the development of AI with caution. There are concerns about the ethical implications of creating machines that are as intelligent as humans, as well as the potential for AI systems to be used maliciously or to perpetuate biases.

To ensure that AI development is responsible and beneficial, it's essential to prioritize safety measures, ethical considerations, and diversity in AI research and development. This includes establishing guidelines and regulations, fostering collaboration between researchers and policymakers, and promoting transparency and accountability in AI systems.

Incorporating unique ideas and insights, one interesting concept to consider is the idea of AI augmentation rather than AI replacement. Instead of viewing AI as a threat to human jobs, it can be seen as a tool that enhances human capabilities and productivity. By leveraging the strengths of both humans and AI systems, we can create a symbiotic relationship that maximizes efficiency and innovation.

In addition to the ethical and societal implications, businesses can also benefit from AI advancements. AI can improve efficiency, enhance decision-making processes, and automate repetitive tasks. Companies that embrace AI technology can gain a competitive edge and position themselves for success in the digital age.

Now, let's switch gears and discuss the concept of "リテンション" or retention in the startup world. Retention is a critical metric for startups as it measures the ability to retain users and customers over time. Various retention curves, such as the flattening curve, declining curve, and smile curve, can indicate the success and growth potential of a product.

When a product is truly exceptional, its retention curve will actually increase. This occurs during the hyper-growth stage, where product development and network effects drive user churn and return. The sloping curve typically results from the release of new product features, news, or other events that impact the overall usage.

Vertical curves are often observed in subscription-based businesses that offer annual plans or trial versions. These curves highlight the importance of identifying and understanding the engagement of "super users," who are the most highly engaged and retained users. By analyzing the interaction of this group with the product, overall retention can be improved.

Investigating user drop-offs at each stage also helps in understanding the effectiveness of acquisition channels, whether paid or free, and identifying any issues in the registration or onboarding process.

Combining the concepts of AI and startup retention, there are actionable advice that can be applied to both areas:

  • 1. Prioritize ethical considerations: As AI continues to advance, it's crucial to prioritize ethical considerations and ensure that AI systems are developed and used responsibly. This includes addressing biases, promoting fairness, and considering the impact on society.
  • 2. Foster collaboration and diversity: Collaboration between AI researchers, policymakers, and stakeholders is essential to ensure that AI development is comprehensive and inclusive. Emphasizing diversity in AI research and development can lead to more robust and equitable AI systems.
  • 3. Embrace AI augmentation: Instead of viewing AI as a threat to human jobs, businesses and individuals should embrace the concept of AI augmentation. By leveraging AI technology to enhance human capabilities, we can create a symbiotic relationship that maximizes productivity and innovation.

In conclusion, the field of artificial intelligence has experienced significant advancements in recent years, and there is a real possibility of developing human-level AI within the next few decades. However, it is crucial to approach AI development with caution, prioritizing ethics, safety, and diversity. By embracing AI augmentation and fostering collaboration, we can harness the potential of AI for the benefit of society and businesses.


  1. "The brief history of artificial intelligence: The world has changed fast – what might be next?", (Glasp)
  2. "リテンション (Sequoia Capital) - FoundX Review - 起業家とスタートアップのためのノウハウ情報", (Glasp)

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