What Is AutoGPT? The Next Gen AI That Will Run Your Business For You

An image showing a brain maide out of computer circuits to indicate the power of AI and AutoGPT

ChatGPT has been around for a hot minute but, if you’re just getting to grips with all the incredible things it can do, there’s a new contender for your attention, and possibly your job, on the horizon: AutoGPT.

“An experimental open-source attempt to make CPT-4 fully autonomous,” is how its developer describes the programme.

“Auto-GPT pushes the boundaries of what is possible with AI,” they continue.

The latest AI obsession in a sea of artificially created madness promises to turn AI on itself and remove the human element altogether. The results, while early, provide a glimpse into what the implications of highly advanced AI really are.

While ChatGPT, running off OpenAI’s GPT-3.5 software, or the latest GPT-4 if you’re lucky enough to get access to it, works to create text-based responses to human-input questions, it still requires a person to direct it. In addition, the tasks that it can handle are fairly instantaneous. You can’t ask it to meaningfully create a company for you, for instance, but you can ask it to write your business’ ‘about us’ page, with varying degrees of success.

AutoGPT takes the next step by having AI essentially run itself, creating and directing AI sub-programmes to break down big commands into manageable sections and execute them. It’s essentially an autonomous AI programme, verging on a real-life virtual assistant.

Want to create a website but have no idea where to start? AutoGPT can do that. Want to write, illustrate, and publish a children’s book but have none of the requisite skills? AutoGPT can do that. Want to play the stock market and create unimaginable wealth for free? Ask AutoGPT.

The programme was created by game developer Toran Bruce Richards and is explicitly designed to “autonomously develop and run businesses with the sole goal of increasing your net wealth,” its default setting in the role of ‘Entrepreneur-GPT’.

Unlike ChatGPT, AutoGPT is actually connected to the internet. Instead of having to ask ChatGPT-specific questions to figure out a broader problem, AutoGPT can ask itself those questions to manage complex tasks.

At least, this is how it works in theory. In one video demonstrating its use potential, Australian YouTuber AI Deep Dive gives AutoGPT a series of commands, many of which it fails to carry out fully.

In one example, he gives it the goal of creating a popular children’s book with tasks of researching the most popular children’s books of all time and using that information to design the next big hit.

AutoGPT is able to instruct itself to do the research and, from that, draw inspiration for its own creation, and start structuring its own book. However, the character that it chooses to base the book on is Winnie the Pooh as the commands did not state an original character. Even with this task and the wealth of information available on AA Milne’s characters, it runs into errors and begins being unable to understand its own prompts.

However, AI Deep Dive is using the free GPT-3.5 software to run AutoGPT. Others have been able to successfully use the programme to create simple websites, create simple apps, and synthesise complex research tasks.

The theory behind all of this is the ability of AI to run itself, with one of the ultimate goals being the capacity for self-learning and self-improvement. Once AI gains the capability of being able to improve upon itself, creating something more advanced than itself, the idea follows that the more advanced programme with then be able to create even more advanced AI, eventually breaking the confines of human control and intelligence. The speed at which this could happen, and the idea that once it does it will render humans obsolete, has had technology theorists concerned for decades.

Known as the AI singularity, experts have been predicting that the moment may be close at hand and this latest step in the process could bring us rapidly closer as AI, without human input, works on itself.

Of course, AutoGPT is more a ‘proof-of-concept’ than a legitimate harbinger of the downfall of humanity – even if some people are explicitly using it that way. Still, it does signify a key shift towards autonomous AI that can speak to and develop itself.

If you want to play around with AutoGPT and see for yourself just how well it can perform complex tasks for you, the programme is available to download for free on GitHub. It is designed to work off the latest GPT-4 software but if you don’t have an access key to that, you can run it using the free GPT-3.5.

Related: Snapchat Has Dropped a Free AI Chatbot — But Is It Any Good?

Related: OpenAI Will Pay You $30,000 to Find Bugs in ChatGPT

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