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Personalized A.I. Agents Are Here. Is the World Ready for Them?

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Sam Altman is the chief executive of OpenAI, which is introducing personalized chatbots.

There is money to be made in A.I. assistants that can do useful tasks for people, and corporate customers have been itching to train chatbots on their own data.

Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

You could think of the recent history of A.I. chatbots as having two distinct phases.

The first, which kicked off last year with the release of ChatGPT and continues to this day, consists mainly of chatbots capable of talking about things. Greek mythology, vegan recipes, Python scripts — you name the topic and ChatGPT and its ilk can generate some convincing (if occasionally generic or inaccurate) text about it.

That ability is impressive, and frequently useful, but it is really just a prelude to the second phase: artificial intelligence that can actually do things. Very soon, tech companies tell us, A.I. "agents" will be able to send emails and schedule meetings for us, book restaurant reservations and plane tickets, and handle complex tasks like "negotiate a raise with my boss" or "buy Christmas presents for all my family members."

That phase, though still remote, came a little closer on Monday when OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT, announced that users could now create their own, personalized chatbots.

From The New York Times
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