The Rabbit r1 is a smartphone-like AI device that was one of the most exciting things from CES 2024. Rabbit’s keynote was a particular highlight as the startup gave the world a glimpse of the future of AI. It’s not just generative AI like ChatGPT that can answer most of your questions and prompts. The r1 introduces a new kind of AI, which can interact with your apps and perform tasks for you.
Rabbit uses a “large action model” (LAM) to power this sort of AI feature, while large language models (LLM) offer more common features like what you might do with ChatGPT. Perplexity helps facilitate these features on the Rabbit r1.
Put differently, the Rabbit r1 can do a bunch of stuff that ChatGPT can’t do. The ChatGPT rivals out there from Google and Microsoft can’t do it either. However, a new report about OpenAI’s next plans indicates that the ChatGPT creator is looking to develop features that would let you control your device with the help of AI, just like you would on the Rabbit r1.
That sounds like the future of AI I’m waiting for. And it’s the kind of personal AI functionality I want to see built into the next-generation iPhones courtesy of iOS 18.
The Rabbit r1 knows how apps work, thanks to its LAM training. Once you log into your apps, you’ll be able to tell the r1 to do things for you that would otherwise require pulling out the phone. Examples include ordering food online, booking a cab, and even buying hotel and plane tickets for a family vacation.
That sounds incredibly exciting. Also, it’s somewhat scary. You have to give AI such control over your apps and entrust a company like Rabbit with the security and privacy of your data. But that is the future of computing.
Humane is another example of this. it’s a company that wants you to use AI for most of your computing tasks, and forget about the screens. Humane’s ambitions are too big for the near future. The company could also learn a thing or two from the Rabbit presentation about how to market the Humane Ai Pin to get users a bit more excited.
OpenAI is, unsurprisingly, catching on to that. I am not surprised because OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman reportedly wants to build the iPhone of AI with the help of Jony Ive. That device would have to deliver functionality similar to the Rabbit r1, if not better. It would have to let you use the AI for more than asking questions and editing photos.
According to The Information, that’s what’s happening now. “OpenAI is hustling to release a product that could prove almost as revolutionary,” as ChatGPT.
“OpenAI is developing a form of agent software to automate complex tasks by effectively taking over a customer’s device,” the report notes. That sounds complicated and somewhat scary. The AI would not actually take over anything. It would just provide actions that match your commands. Like transferring data from a document to a spreadsheet. Or filling in an expense report in accounting software.
Other examples include gathering data about a topic, like a set of companies. Or something more useful for the user, like creating itineraries and booking flights.
That’s how OpenAI’s ChatGPT “software agents” would take over your device. And the experience sounds a lot like what Rabbit r1 is going for.
Back to the privacy and security aspect, that’s where the iPhone comes in. I’d be more likely to trust Apple’s future GPTs, including a smarter Siri, with such AI actions on the device rather than anyone else. I’d love to be able to tell the AI to perform tasks for me on my iPhone without having to go into the apps myself.
I already said that the Vision Pro needs AI to make computing even faster. And I meant this type of AI where you can instruct AI to do things for you using the apps you have at your disposal. I don’t want to be constrained to things like only getting information on topics, summarizing text, and fixing code.
Such software agents could unleash the powers of the iPhone in ways we can’t even think of yet. Plus, I would be able to teach the AI what I want. I could come up with automation and shortcut ideas for the handset and pass them on to the AI to execute them rather than going through the whole Shortcuts app myself.
I am speculating, but that’s the AI future I’m looking for. While The Information details OpenAI’s plans, I’m sure other tech companies are pursuing similar dreams. Google already gave us a glimpse of personal AI experiences when it unveiled the Pixel 8 last fall.
I absolutely loved the demo where you could talk to the AI to assess your exercise and health performance by taking into account data the phone can record about you. Data that the AI can put together to give you a better picture of your fitness and overall health.
That’s why I’m certain the iPhone will eventually get Rabbit r1-like features. How long it’ll take, that remains to be seen. I’m also certain that OpenAI will go to market with these ChatGPT software agent innovations well before Apple.
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