AI as the New Platform: A Cambrian Explosion


Ross Hale

on •

Mar 31, 2023

AI as the New Platform: A Cambrian Explosion

Well, folks, AI is finally here, and holy moly, it is real.  It’s the most exciting new development since the invention of… the iPhone app store?  The internet?  Written language?

It remains to be seen just how crazy this is going to get, but suffice it to say, it suddenly feels like we’re living real-life science fiction and that absolutely everything will be affected.

How fast this happens and how pervasive the change is depends on the speed at which the technology continues to advance.  Which, recently, feels at a blisteringly fast pace.

Or is it? Interestingly the underlying tech (which is Recurrent Neural Networks or RNNs with a brand new “short-term memory” algorithm called Transformers) is quickly improving but remains largely unchanged at a fundamental level from what OpenAI released GPT3 in 2020.

Instead, the advances are coming from the very very beginnings of a Cambrian Explosion of killer apps sitting on top of AI as a platform. Everything that is a thing will be augmented or replaced with a version that leverages AI. And even more new things that were never possible and that we have never even imagined will be created.

It’s the most exciting thing in tech since, well, the invention of tech.

What does Platform even mean?

This is one of the most surprising things to me about how AI is coming onto the scene: it looks as if the actual AI layer is not massively different between different implementations of Transformer-based LLM’s. Meaning the AI itself is more like the internet. It’s just there. And everyone has access. And therefore, everyone can build on top of it.

Many other articles have outlined the difficulty of “building moats” around the underlying AI tech itself. Here’s just one example from the suddenly famous Eliezer Yudkowsky of how and why that is: the ease at which models can copy each other.

So it’s looking like, instead of a singular entity like Cyberdyne Systems building a secret AI lab and hoarding the tech all for themselves, the models will be out there for builders to leverage and build on top of. Again… just like the internet.

Will there be opportunities to build companies that improve the underlying infrastructure and introduce improvements at the platform layer? Absolutely, there will be tons. And they will be incredibly valuable and either get acquired or IPO into the next Googles and Microsofts.

For builders and entrepreneurs

So what does this mean? Is the singularity here? The end of capitalism and the economy? All white-collar knowledge work to be replaced by a new form of hyperintelligence? Maybe eventually. But first…

We just hit reset on the internet. Everything is an opportunity. M&A will be going wild. Companies we’ve never heard of will be IPO’ing in no time. Investors will (and should!) be jumping on companies that will flip for multi multi millions in a matter of months.

The Cambrian explosion of software development tools and new, different ways of building will, by itself, be mind-boggling and unlike anything we’ve seen before in the software development craft (so much to write on that I’ll have to save it for another post).

But that explosion will pale in comparison to the number of new, killer applications. The first movers in AI-powered everything, followed by second movers building things we couldn’t even previously imagine, and third movers building even better versions of all of it.

As AI enthusiasts with enterprise and startup experience in augmenting and improving our clients' products and business functions with artificial intelligence, data science, and NLP, I think Artium is poised to stay at the forefront of this explosion, and I can't wait to see the impact we have on the world as we shepherd clients through this new technological revolution.

- Ross Hale, CEO of Artium