Generative AI is just the Beginning AI Agents are what Comes next | Daoud Abdel Hadi | TEDxPSUT

TEDx Talks
20 Mar 202413:16

TLDRThe speaker reflects on the journey of AI from being a specialist in specific tasks to becoming a more generalized intelligence with the advent of large language models like GPT-3. They discuss the potential of AI to transform into autonomous agents capable of automating workflows with minimal human intervention, using natural language to interact with various digital tools. The speaker envisions a future where AI assistants are integral to innovation, lowering barriers and democratizing technical skills.


  • 🎓 The speaker was near the completion of their master's degree in AI and felt that true intelligence in computers was far off.
  • 🚀 AI and machine learning have been instrumental in various fields like diagnosing illnesses, detecting fraud, and optimizing traffic flow, but were seen as specialists in specific tasks.
  • 🤖 The introduction of large language models like GPT-3 by OpenAI marked a significant leap in AI capabilities, showcasing more general intelligence beyond specific tasks.
  • 📝 GPT-3 can perform a variety of tasks such as writing naturally, answering questions on numerous topics, and even coding, without being explicitly programmed for these functions.
  • 🤔 Despite its capabilities, GPT-3 and similar AI models are not perfect and can make mistakes, hallucinate information, and struggle with basic math and multitasking.
  • 🧠 Human intelligence extends beyond knowledge and includes abilities like planning, problem-solving, and reflection, which are key to achieving goals and overcoming challenges.
  • 🤖 The concept of AI agents is introduced as autonomous entities designed to automate workflows with minimal human intervention, planning tasks and using tools similar to how humans do.
  • 🛠️ Agents can utilize digital tools and applications by understanding and executing code, thus performing tasks like a human would, but potentially more efficiently.
  • 🌐 The potential of AI agents includes automating complex tasks like building websites, analyzing data for business decisions, and planning travel itineraries.
  • 🔧 The foundation of agents lies in the ability to combine different functionalities and applications through code, creating a feedback loop of planning and executing actions guided by language models.
  • 🌟 As AI models become more accessible and affordable, their integration into products and services is expected to increase, potentially revolutionizing our interaction with technology.

Q & A

  • What was the speaker's initial perception of AI's capability in relation to creating true intelligence?

    -The speaker initially felt that despite the advancements in AI, including machine learning, genetic algorithms, and generative AI, there was still a significant gap in creating true intelligence with computers.

  • What major leap forward for AI did the speaker mention and what did it introduce?

    -The speaker mentioned the introduction of GPT-3 by OpenAI as a major leap forward for AI, which introduced large language models to the world, significantly advancing AI's capabilities.

  • What are some of the limitations of current AI models like GPT-3?

    -Current AI models like GPT-3 can make up facts, struggle with basic math, and have outdated information. They also have difficulty multitasking and require constant human input to complete tasks.

  • How does the speaker differentiate human intelligence from AI intelligence?

    -The speaker differentiates human intelligence by its ability to plan ahead, break down problems, reflect on the outcomes of actions, and use tools effectively. In contrast, AI intelligence is currently more confined to knowledge and specific tasks.

  • What is the concept of 'agents' as described in the script?

    -Agents are autonomous entities designed to automate workflows end-to-end with minimal human intervention. They plan tasks, reflect on outcomes, and use tools similar to how humans do, but independently and without the need for constant input.

  • How do agents utilize tools and applications?

    -Agents understand the task described to them and then plan which tools they need to use. They execute the task by using those tools in a way that achieves the desired outcome, all without requiring the user to have detailed knowledge of the tools themselves.

  • What are some real-world examples of agents mentioned in the script?

    -Examples include Microsoft's Copilot within Excel for analyzing spreadsheets, Shopify's Sidekick for building websites, Hyperwrite as a personal assistant for booking flights and ordering takeaway, and Chat GPT's catalog of agents known as GPTs.

  • How does the speaker envision the future relationship between humans and AI agents?

    -The speaker envisions a collaborative relationship where AI agents take on tasks that were once thought to be unique to humans, democratizing skills and lowering barriers to innovation. This allows humans to focus on bigger picture tasks that require creativity, ingenuity, and human experience.

  • What is the potential impact of AI agents on the workforce and innovation?

    -AI agents have the potential to automate many tasks, making processes more efficient and accessible. This could lead to a democratization of skills, enabling more people to participate in innovation and problem-solving, and shifting the focus from tool usage to more strategic and creative endeavors.

  • How does the speaker address the concern of AI replacing human jobs?

    -The speaker acknowledges the concern but also emphasizes the empowerment and opportunity that comes with AI. By outsourcing certain tasks to AI, humans can focus on higher-level, creative, and strategic aspects of work, suggesting that AI and humans will coexist in a collaborative manner rather than a replacement model.

  • What is the significance of the transition from command line interfaces to graphical interfaces in the context of AI agents?

    -The transition from command line to graphical interfaces revolutionized human-computer interaction. The speaker suggests that the next evolution might be an AI-assisted interface, which would further simplify interactions and make technology even more accessible and intuitive.



🤖 The Evolution of AI and the Emergence of GPT-3

This paragraph discusses the journey of AI from being a specialist in specific tasks to the development of general intelligence with the introduction of GPT-3. It highlights the limitations of early AI systems and the significant leap forward with the release of GPT-3 by OpenAI. The speaker reflects on the ability of GPT-3 to perform a variety of tasks, such as writing naturally, answering questions on numerous topics, and coding, showcasing its impressive versatility. However, it also acknowledges the imperfections of AI, including its tendency to make mistakes, hallucinate information, and struggle with basic math and multitasking.


🛠️ The Concept of AI Agents and Their Functionality

The second paragraph delves into the concept of AI agents, which are designed to automate workflows with minimal human intervention. It compares the use of tools by humans in their daily tasks to the way AI agents operate, emphasizing the agents' ability to plan tasks, reflect on actions, and use tools autonomously. The speaker provides examples of how AI agents can assist in various scenarios, such as building websites, analyzing business data, and planning trips, highlighting the potential of digital labor and the simplification of complex tasks through AI.


🌐 The Practicality and Current Examples of AI Agents

This paragraph explores the practical implications of AI agents and their current existence in various forms. It explains how the underlying code structure of digital interfaces allows AI agents to perform tasks by combining different functionalities and applications. The speaker mentions real-world examples of AI agents, such as Microsoft's Copilot for Excel and Shopify's Sidekick, and discusses the potential for more businesses to incorporate agents into their products and services. The paragraph concludes with a reflection on the transformative impact of AI agents on the way we interact with computers and the potential democratization of technical skills.



💡Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think and learn like humans. In the context of the video, AI is the driving force behind the advancements in technology that enable machines to perform tasks typically requiring human intelligence, such as diagnosing illnesses or optimizing traffic flow. The video highlights the evolution of AI from being a specialist in specific tasks to a more generalized form of intelligence capable of understanding and executing a wide range of activities.

💡Machine Learning

Machine learning is a subset of AI that allows computers to learn from and make predictions or decisions based on data. It is a fundamental concept in the video, as it underpins the development of AI systems that can adapt and improve over time without being explicitly programmed for every specific task. The speaker's master's degree in AI would have involved studying machine learning, which is crucial for creating intelligent systems that can learn from experience.

💡Generative AI

Generative AI refers to AI systems that can create new content, such as text, images, or music, that did not previously exist. In the video, generative AI is exemplified by the capabilities of GPT-3, which can write in natural language, answer questions on various topics, and even produce code and creative writing like articles, songs, and poems. This type of AI showcases the potential for AI to not just analyze data but also generate new and original content.

💡Large Language Models

Large language models are AI systems designed to process and generate human-like text based on the input they receive. These models are trained on vast amounts of data, including books, articles, and research papers, to understand and produce text in a way that mimics human language use. In the video, GPT-3 is an example of a large language model that has revolutionized the way AI interacts with humans by demonstrating an impressive ability to understand and generate natural language.


In the context of the video, intelligence refers to the ability of AI systems to exhibit human-like understanding, reasoning, and problem-solving. The speaker initially felt that AI was far from achieving true intelligence, but the advancements in AI, particularly with GPT-3, have shown signs of intelligence that can reason, recognize patterns, and understand requests without explicit programming. This concept is central to the discussion of AI's potential to automate tasks and transform the way we interact with technology.

💡Autonomous Agents

Autonomous agents are AI systems designed to perform tasks or automate workflows with minimal or no human intervention. These agents are capable of planning their tasks, reflecting on the outcomes of their actions, and using various tools to achieve their goals, much like humans do. In the video, the concept of autonomous agents is introduced as the next evolution of AI, where they can potentially control devices, browse the web, and use applications on our behalf, significantly changing the way we interact with technology.


Code refers to the systematic arrangement of instructions or rules used to create software or digital applications. In the video, the background of everything we see on our screens is formed of code, which is the foundation for all digital actions and interactions. The ability of AI to understand and manipulate code is crucial for the development of autonomous agents that can use various tools and applications to perform tasks.

💡Digital Labor

Digital labor refers to the work performed by AI or automated systems in the digital space. In the context of the video, digital labor is exemplified by autonomous agents that can browse the web, navigate files, and use applications on our behalf. These digital workers have the potential to revolutionize the way we perform tasks by taking over mundane or complex activities, thus freeing up humans to focus on more creative and strategic aspects.


Innovation in the video refers to the process of creating new ideas, methods, or products. The advancements in AI and the emergence of autonomous agents are seen as a driving force for innovation, as they lower the barriers to entry and enable more people to participate in creating solutions and building new things. The democratization of technical skills through AI is expected to foster a new era of innovation and creativity.


Collaboration in the context of the video refers to the partnership between humans and AI, where AI systems like autonomous agents can work alongside humans to achieve common goals. The speaker emphasizes that the relationship with AI should not be seen as a replacement but rather as a collaborative effort that enhances human capabilities and allows us to focus on the bigger picture, using our creativity, ingenuity, and human experience more effectively.


The speaker was nearing the completion of their master's degree in AI six years ago, feeling that true intelligence with computers was far off.

AI and machine learning have been instrumental in various fields such as diagnosing illnesses, detecting fraud, and optimizing traffic flow.

The perception of AI as a specialist in very specific tasks was common, with limited generalization capabilities compared to humans.

The introduction of OpenAI's GPT-3 marked a significant leap forward in AI, challenging previous notions of its capabilities.

GPT-3 demonstrated a level of intelligence by being able to write naturally, answer questions on a wide range of topics, and even read and write code.

GPT-3's ability to reason and recognize patterns in a human-like way is impressive, moving beyond just being a specialist.

Generative AI, such as GPT-3, has potential uses beyond content creation and editing, marking the beginning of a transformative technology.

Despite advancements, AI is not perfect and can make mistakes, hallucinate information, and struggle with basic math and multitasking.

The intelligence of humans extends beyond knowledge to include problem-solving, planning, and the ability to use tools effectively.

The concept of AI as autonomous agents is introduced, aiming to automate workflows with minimal human intervention.

Agents operate by planning tasks, reflecting on outcomes, and using tools, much like humans do in practical operations.

The potential of agents includes website building, data analysis for business decisions, and trip planning, all without specialized human knowledge.

Agents are digital labor capable of browsing the web, navigating files, using applications, and controlling devices on their own.

The possibility of agents is becoming a reality, with technologies like Microsoft's Copilot and Shopify's Sidekick already in use.

The increasing accessibility and affordability of language models suggest a future where agents are commonplace and integrated into various products and services.

The evolution of AI assistants and agents may lead to a new kind of interface, revolutionizing our interaction with computers, similar to the shift from command line to graphical interfaces.

The democratization of skills through AI empowers more people to innovate and build solutions, lowering barriers and enabling broader participation.

The relationship between humans and AI is expected to be collaborative, with AI taking on specialized tool usage and humans focusing on bigger picture creativity and ingenuity.