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Meta AI’s CICERO Provides a Glimpse Into the Future of Human + Machine Collaboration

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In the not-so-distant future, you will have AI assistants that help negotiate everything in real-time based on your optimal desired outcome.

These AI agents may be present through a chatbot, email, browser extension, AirPods, AR glasses or other app that is “listening” in the background and making recommendations of what to do and say. 

This will be true in business (e.g. sales, M&A, fundraising, contracts, etc.) and life (e.g. home buying, legal disputes, contracts, compensation, fantasy sports trades, etc).

Think of it as an AI agent negotiating with an AI agent through human intermediaries. 

Sounds crazy, but hear me out. 

When any form of negotiation occurs between two or more parties there's the likely potential for misaligned goals (i.e. I want X, you want Y), and trust plays a critical role in achieving a mutually beneficial outcome. We buy from, and enter into agreements with, people and businesses we trust. 

This seems like a very uniquely human process. We use language to communicate. We tap into our experience and knowledge. We use instinct and judgment. We read and understand the emotions and motivations of others through their words and actions. 

How could a machine possibly do all this?

A recent breakthrough from the Meta AI team gives us a glimpse into how it might be possible. They have built an AI agent with the goal of making it fundamentally honest, and fundamentally collaborative. 

In November 2022, Meta AI introduced CICERO, the first AI to play at a human level in Diplomacy, a strategy game that requires building trust, negotiating and cooperating with multiple players.

According to Yann LeCun, VP & Chief AI Scientist, "This breakthrough rests in the achievement of combining two different areas of AI: strategic reasoning and natural language processing. The integration of these techniques gives CICERO the ability to reason and strategize with regard to players’ motivations, then use natural language to communicate, reach agreements to achieve shared objectives, form alliances and coordinate plans."

This sort of technology may find its way into your life within a year. Or, maybe 5 - 10 years.

AI researchers never really seem to know when the breakthroughs will happen (or be commercialized), but the CICERO advancements, combined with recent research from Google DeepMind on its DeepNash AI agent, make me think we’re heading down this path sooner than we may want to believe. 

I’m not saying the tech should exist, but I believe it will, and it will permeate our lives. How businesses, governments and individuals use it will be for society to figure out. 

If you're intrigued by CICERO and its potential, I highly recommend investing a couple hours to listen Lex Fridman’s podcast interview with Noam Brown, a research scientist at Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) and Meta AI, and the co-creator of CICERO, as well as an AI that achieved superhuman levels performance in the game of No-Limit Texas Hold’em. 

Don’t get caught thinking that if you solve for generative AI, you’ve figured out the AI roadmap for your business and career. 

Generative AI is just the beginning. 

Disclaimer: I’m not factoring reaching artificial general intelligence (AGI) into this scenario, which would certainly accelerate things. That’s a topic for another time.

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