Startup+"I think AI is perhaps the biggest revolution since the invention of the internet"
"I think AI is perhaps the biggest revolution since the invention of the internet"
Tal Barnoach, General Partner of VC firm Disruptive, was speaking ahead of the finals of Calcalist and Poalim Hi-Tech's 2023 StartUp+ competition.
Ahead of the finals of the 2023 StartUp+ competition, Calcalist spoke with senior executives in the ecosystem about the extent to which the new AI tools are affecting the world of entrepreneurship, how entrepreneurs can use these tools, what is the impact on the high-tech workforce, and if will we see changes in the startup map following the use of AI.
"I think this is perhaps the biggest revolution since the invention of the internet. In the next two years, as we progress, we will understand how much this is going to change everything we do. A start-up company that does not understand and study the subject in depth will have a very difficult time in the competition," says Tal Barnoach, General Partner of VC firm Disruptive.
According to him, the consequences of artificial intelligence tools on the world of entrepreneurship are broad. "It's more than just learning generative AI, but understanding how each company should use these tools correctly and where this gives them a relative advantage over their competitors."
"The AI applications today already provide a tremendous benefit and there is an endless variety of potential uses. Along with the enormous and quite exciting benefits of this technology, which is changing the world we live in, we also need to consider the moral dilemmas that accompany it," said Michal Kissos-Hertzog, CEO of Poalim Hi-Tech. "For startups at the beginning of their journey, it is about using AI to write code, quality control, finding ways to analyze and use data in a more efficient way, marketing and the like. The importance of AI for entrepreneurs is the potential to save time and money, give the startup an edge and make it more efficient. The key is correctly identifying the opportunities and utilizing existing AI solutions in the most efficient way with minimal development and investment. No wonder that with the development of GPT-4, about 80% of our high-tech customers, at all stages, are in one or another development process that integrates the capabilities of GPT-4 and those who have not yet started will start very soon. It's really not in the trend phase anymore, it's an integral part of our world and the benefits are clear."
"The impact of artificial intelligence on the world of entrepreneurship in the world of software will be even more dramatic than the implementation of tools in enterprises," says Didi Gurfinkel, co-founder and CEO of Datarails. "Two big events are happening now. One is that all organizations are trying to figure out how to integrate the new capabilities within the existing tools, to implement conversational and generative AI to catch up with competitors and maximize existing capabilities. The second is a deeper process, and it may take more time to see a dramatic change of what software looks like. Starting with the UI, we will see more intuitive tools and a lot of conversational text. We will see tools that are GPT-first, that are based on existing platforms such as OpenAI and all the software will look different. It's a change similar to the one made when the cloud arrived. When Salesforce launched the CRM, they didn't come with a better product but with something that is built completely differently and I believe that's what we'll see here."
"Besides the obvious advantages, there is the worrying question about the rate of entry of artificial intelligence technology into the world," says Kissos-Hertzog. "The advanced developments in the field (theory of mind and self-aware AI) are progressing at such a fast pace that there is no person or company that is able to process the possible effects and consequences on the world and on us. The bodies that are responsible for writing the regulation are also not keeping up and companies are working without significant supervision. The lack of control and regulation in artificial intelligence as of today endangers the future of humanity. We are in a period when the largest tech companies in the world are in commercial and political competition to produce the best intelligent machine, and therefore artificial intelligence will soon become smarter than us by thousands of times over. It is inevitable. The question that arises is whether along the way we take care, in Asimov's words, ‘to make sure that the machine does not harm a person’."
According to Kissos-Hertzog, "a very strange situation is created where a developer, as part of a development processes, has to address questions of morality, discrimination, fake data, fake news, and fraud, differentiating between treatment of living beings and objects, all kinds of questions that up until now were not relevant to a developer writing code. Can we leave the responsibility to the developers, who are under enormous pressure to produce results, because there is currently no appropriate regulation? We are in a very interesting time and things can turn for the better or for the worse. What is certain is that we all, each in our own role and in our own place, have a responsibility to determine what the impact of artificial intelligence will be on our future."
Artificial intelligence will also affect the workforce in technology companies. In the short term we won't see much change, but Barnoach believes that in the long term the impact will be significant. "Everything is going to be automated, so fewer people will be needed at the end - fewer workers. On the one hand, it is possible to establish a startup more easily today because there are tools that allow writing software in a much more efficient way. On the other hand, until it reaches the level where you don't need a programmer on the other side, but people who know how to manage these resources correctly, we will need more sophisticated programmers and in smaller numbers - 8 or 9 instead of 15," he says.
Gurfinkel, on the other hand, says that the impact will not necessarily be on the number of people but on the expertise of the person and the way in which people work. "When you look at history, the amount of workers required does not decrease, but they simply do other things. The emphasis will be more on flexibility, to orientate yourself very quickly in such frequent changes. It’s about the ability to make a connection between technical abilities and creative abilities."
In addition, the startup map will change. "I think we will see a lot of startups that bring productivity tools and tools that are "enterprise software", which are based on the new infrastructures because the time to market will be shortened significantly. We will see a significant change in companies whose focus will be on AI. Some will disappear and some, which complement these platforms - will grow," says Gurfinkel.