Prepare for AI chatbots that can handle your mundane tasks.

A couple ofA few weeks ago, Flo Crivello, the CEO of a startup, sent a message to his personal assistant Lindy, requesting to increase the duration of an upcoming meeting from 30 to 45 minutes. Lindy, an AI-powered software agent, identified several 30-minute meetings on Crivello’s schedule and promptly extended the duration of all of them.

“I exclaimed, ‘Oh no, she completely ruined my schedule!'” Crivello expresses his frustration regarding the AI agent being developed by his startup, Lindy, which shares the same name.

Crivello’s company is one of several startups hoping to parlay recent strides in chatbots that produce impressive text into assistants or agents capable of performing useful tasks. Within a year or two, the hope is that these AI agents will routinely help people accomplish everyday chores.

OpenAI’s ChatGPT currently provides planning advice for a business trip, but it may potentially evolve to assist with tasks such as finding a suitable flight, making the booking using a company credit card, and completing the required expense report afterwards.

The issue is that, as shown by Crivello’s calendar mistake, these agents can get mixed up in a manner that results in embarrassing and potentially expensive errors. Nobody desires a personal assistant who books a flight with 12 layovers simply because it’s slightly cheaper, or arranges conflicting schedules.

Lindy is currently in private beta, and although Crivello says the calendar issue he ran into has been fixed, the company does not have a firm timeline for releasing a product. Even so, he predicts that agents like his will become ubiquitous before long.

“I have a strong belief that within the next two to three years, these models will become significantly more advanced,” he expresses. “AI workers are on the horizon. It may sound like something out of a science fiction story, but hey, ChatGPT also seemed like science fiction at first.”

The concept of AI assistants that can perform tasks on your behalf is not new. Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa offer a limited and sometimes unsatisfactory version of this concept. However, after the release of ChatGPT last year, programmers and entrepreneurs became more hopeful about the possibility of creating highly capable and intelligent AI agents. Some early users discovered that the chatbot could understand and respond to queries in natural language by utilizing code to connect with websites or interact with other software and services.

OpenAI introduced “plug-ins” in March, enabling ChatGPT to run code and utilize platforms like Expedia, OpenTable, and Instacart. Google has now announced that its chatbot Bard can access data from various Google services and perform tasks such as summarizing email threads in Gmail or finding YouTube videos related to specific queries.

Certain engineers and founders of startups have taken it a step further by initiating their own endeavors utilizing extensive language models, such as the one powering ChatGPT. Their aim is to develop AI agents that possess enhanced and wider-ranging abilities.

After seeing discussion about ChatGPT’s potential to power new AI agents on Twitter earlier this year, programmer Silen Naihin was inspired to join an open source project called Auto-GPT that provides programming tools for building agents. He previously worked on robotic process automation, a less complex way of automating repetitive chores on a PC that is widely used in the IT industry.