Democratizing AI

Every day on X, Reddit and ProductHunt, someone somewhere launches another GPT wrapper. From an Instagram caption generator to a Profile Picture Making app, it is one step forward in putting the power of AI into every individual on the planet. There are currently over 5 billion internet users, that is the potential number of people that can currently harness the capability of AI. At its peak, ChatGPT, the most accessible and popular GenAI available to consumers has a weekly usage of 100 million which is a huge number but considering that over 5.7 billion users use the internet daily, that is significantly less than 2% of daily internet users but a win is a win. 

The internet era gave billions of average people access to information. Information is an informed power, knowing what, when and where is what we call knowledge. Knowledge is power. The internet gives everyone access to information without cost or at a fraction of the cost. Millions of people share information on social media every day with billions of information floating around the internet with equal access for everyone to everything. “6,000 tweets are posted on Twitter every second as of 2022. If we do the math, it is equivalent to 350,000 tweets per minute, 500 million tweets each day, and 200 billion tweets every year.” That is a sample of how much information moves freely on the internet from one eye to the other in a matter of seconds, making the world a global village. 

We have barely scratched the surface of this success with AI. AI will have more than double the impact the internet has on ordinary people. But currently, only a few people use it or are interested enough in using it. If you’re not techy, you will most likely not be FOMOed into using ChatGPT or Bard but it is easier for an average internet user to use an “Instagram Caption Generator” powered by GPT4. It is easier to sell the application of AI to the average user without mentioning AI. Google doesn’t sell search engines, it sells results. Meta doesn’t sell social media, it sells interaction with your family and friends. The Internet doesn’t sell and advertise itself as the Internet, it sells its applications to the Internet.  

Democratizing AI is about building the small stuff… I think

As I said in my previous paragraph, AI cannot sell itself to the masses. It can only sell its application and convenience. With the recent explosion of generative AI, we have seen many use cases from Image generation to Audio transcription to Content generation. Startups and indie projects have spun into existence. My favourite example is Perplexity AI. Most times Google, everyone’s favourite search engine sucks at finding information. With AI, it is a breeze to find the best available piece of information you’re looking for but many folks don’t know this and if they do, don’t know how to go about it. Perplexity AI creates an application of AI that infuses the power of AI to find the information without the gimmicks saving you minutes of surfing and scrolling through the first few URLs on the first page of Google. It is easier for me to sell Perplexity to a non-techy friend than to convince them to use OpenAI Playground because the application is visible. Though Perplexity AI is not small stuff but compared to Google that is the usual way of how search works, it is. The democratization of AI lies in its application to the general masses. The GPT wrapper for the Instagram caption generator matters, the profile picture maker for dating profiles matters, and the GPT wrapper for children’s story books matters to get AI to the general public. There is no silly stuff as long as someone uses it. We can only get AI into the hands of everyone by annexing the very little thing they find a little uncomfortable.  

API is the backbone of Democratizing AI  

There are thousands of OpenAI wrappers out there, thousands of Stability AI wrappers but yes, we need all of them, as many as we can. For the non-techy person, API stands for Application Programming Interface. It is an intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other.

In all honesty, I don’t have a strong opinion here. I am still 20 but I believe capitalism drives growth and AI as it stands needs all the growth it can get. API economy has existed for a while now with popular examples like Stripe, the backbone of the modern payment infrastructure, Twilio, the communication API and so many others. These are multi-billion dollar companies handling trillion-dollar economies and billions of conversations. Popular AI companies like OpenAI, Google, Anthropic etc are investing billions of dollars to train LLMs and AI models for public use. They give access to this progress through the API for a cost. Billion-dollar companies API first AI companies will be birthed while thousands of million-dollar AI companies will be created in the process too. Most times, the reward for building specific knowledge is wealth according to Naval. The more companies build AI’s first API business, the cheaper AI gets and the more average people get access to it. 

AI is getting open-sourced making it easier and cheaper to build on and expand without the headaches of the costs associated with it. In summary, we need more APIs for AI to get it to the masses. Every developer cannot build OpenAI but every developer can build a Chat with PDF apps which in turn lowers the price of a Chat with PDF apps which in turn makes it easier and affordable for students who need a Chat with PDF apps. We need more AI competitors, we need more OpenSource AI, we need more OpenAI, we need more LLAMA, we need more Mistral AI and so on. More is cheap, Cheap leads to more access, Access is democracy. 

My closing remarks, let’s build that silly stuff, create that meme generator, and let there be a million chat with PDF apps. We need as much as we can get. Every fool has access to democracy, and every dumb person can use AI ~ that is not me, it is my intrusive thought.