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Bill Gates says top AI agent will replace search, shopping sites

Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Microsoft founder Bill Gates visit Imperial College University, in London

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) -Bill Gates, Microsoft Corp's co-founder, on Monday said the technology race to win is the development of the top artificially intelligent agent, poised to disrupt search-engine, productivity and online shopping sites.

"You’ll never go to a search site again," he said. "You’ll never go to Amazon."

Speaking at AI Forward 2023, an event in San Francisco hosted by Goldman Sachs Group Inc and SV Angel, Gates said it would disappoint him if Microsoft were not in the running, though there was a 50% chance the top player to emerge will be a startup.

Amazon.com Inc, Alphabet Inc's Google and Microsoft did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Gates said Inflection AI, co-founded by entrepreneur Reid Hoffman, impressed him.

Various industry players have worked on building a computer assistant, powered by AI, that consumers can command by speech or text to handle a range of tasks for them.

"Whoever wins the personal agent, that’s a big thing," Gates said.

(Reporting By Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco; Editing by Bill Berkrot)