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Trace3 CTO: AI Is ‘A Watershed Point That May Eclipse All Previous Milestones’

CJ Fairfield

‘But what if this isn’t just another fork in the road? What if this is the opportunity we’ve been waiting for? The opportunity to craft a new narrative for humanity, one with boundless opportunities. We’re not just iterating on a story, we’re creating an entirely new genre,’ says Trace3 CTO Tony Olzak.

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Trace3’s innovation team is tracking over 400 startups in the GenAI space today alone.

To get ahead of the curve, the Irvine, Calif.-based solution provider is dialed in to everything AI and the impact it will have on technology, and everyday lives, over the next few years.

“McKinsey estimates that within the next few years, you’ll be able to create up to $4.4 trillion of value added worldwide annually,” said Tony Olzak, Trace3 CTO, at Trace3’s Evolve conference in Las Vegas in September. “About 80 percent of all jobs out there are subject to being enhanced by AI. We’ve seen an explosion of investment happening.”

He added that AI will also usher in a set of new startups, “so no digital business is safe.”

“Those new startups are coming in with these new cost models and they will destroy margin,” he said. “How do we make sure that we’re leading that charge ourselves?”

He referenced ChatGPT in his talk and how the AI-generated tool had 1 million users in five days and 100 million users in two months, furthering his argument that AI is growing at a rapid pace.

According to the The Harvard Business Review, AI won’t replace humans—humans with AI will replace humans not using AI, Olzak said.

“Imagine when you left your home to come to this conference and all the things that you saw: the furniture, your homes, your landscaping, paved roads, the cars, the planes,” he said. “You could argue that every single thing that you see every day has either been affected by or created by human intelligence. So what happens in the future when this unstoppable wave hits every single thing that you see, hear and experience has been affected by or created by artificial intelligence? That’s the future that we’re trying to affect and trying to figure out how we make responsible decisions along the way.”

Olzak spoke to a room full of CIOs and cybersecurity experts about where AI stands today, the challenges people face and where it’s going.

Check out his five boldest statements below.

‘One Where The Lines Between Magic And Science Blur’

Today, as we pioneer this next wave of artificial intelligence we’ve got crucial decisions in front of us. There’s another seminal moment in front of us, a watershed point that may eclipse all previous milestones. But what if this isn’t just another fork in the road? What if this is the opportunity we’ve been waiting for? The opportunity to craft a new narrative for humanity, one with boundless opportunities.

We’re not just iterating on a story, we’re creating an entirely new genre. One where the lines between magic and science blur in reality and exceeds our wildest dreams in that future. A future where the word ‘incurable’ is vanished from our vocabulary and ‘impossible’ is merely a dare. Now, that’s not optimism. That’s a vision. But vision is worthless without action, without choice. Each of us holds a brush dipped in the paints of potential. Will you be afraid of ruining the canvas or will you make bold strokes and aspire to a masterpiece?

The Last 10 Years Have Seen 10 Times The Amount Of Compute

This feels like it came out of nowhere, there was just this explosion of solutions and hype and now it’s all anyone can talk about. It’s all anything CEOs can talk about, boards can talk about … how are we going to transform our companies? How are we going to use this technology? Why does it feel like it came out of nowhere? Well, the interesting thing is that for every year for the last 10 years we’ve been applying 10 times the amount of compute and 10 times the number of parameters to train these models.

The thing about an exponential curve is that you can’t really see it until the hockey stick moment begins. So that entire flat portion, there’s just nothing interesting enough for the general public to take an interest. When that 10X term occurs, forget about 10 years from now, what do the next two years bring?

‘Generative AI Is Literally Just Fingerpainting’

One thing to keep in mind right now is that generative AI is literally just fingerpainting when you think about this maturity curve. It’s fingerpainting today. Remember, we’re operating on a 10 times exponential curve. Where does this go from here, and what does this mean for creatives in general? We’ve used stone, we’ve used canvas, we’ve used digital tools. AI will end up just being another set of tools that artists use to imagine the future. What role will you play in that journey?

An ‘Intelligence Revolution’

Some people have called this another Industrial Revolution. Now there’s some key differences between this and other industrial revolutions, and maybe a more apt name could be an intelligence revolution. McKinsey estimates that within the next few years, you’ll be able to create up to $4.4 trillion of value added worldwide annually. About 80 percent of all jobs out there are subject to being enhanced by AI. We’ve seen an explosion of investment happening. Trace3’s innovation team today is tracking over 400 startups in the GenAI space alone.

The Cautious Future Of GenAI  

The thing about generative AI right now is it can make some stuff up sometimes. GenAI right now is like an omnipotent toddler. It can create movie scripts. It can paint Picasso. It can probably cure cancer. But if we don’t keep our eye on it, it might just destroy the neighborhood. But we’re operating in 10X terms. It’s going to keep getting better with more and more compute the more and more parameters are thrown at it. It’s going to get smarter and more accurate every single year to the point where we can trust most of the things that come along with it, if we’re cautious. But where does this lead us? What happens when AI is better at doing everything that a human can? It leads to thoughts around AGI, artificial general intelligence, and what happens to the world. We’re in a bit of a prisoner’s dilemma. We can either all work together for mutual benefit or one of us can turn on each other for individual benefit.

CJ Fairfield

CJ Fairfield is an associate editor at CRN covering solution providers, MSPs and distributors. Prior to joining CRN, she worked at daily newspapers, including The Press of Atlantic City in New Jersey and The Frederick News-Post in Maryland. She can be reached at cfairfield@thechannelcompany.com.

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