The 2013 film Her, a science-fiction romance starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson, isn’t far off from what billionaire Marc Andreessen sees in humanity’s near future. In the movie, Phoenix’s character develops a friendship with an advanced artificial-intelligence companion, voiced by Johansson, that eventually deepens into a bizarre love.
In Andreessen’s vision of the future, AI will serve as a person’s ubiquitous companion, helping with every aspect of their lives, from making grocery lists to life-altering decisions. Everyone, starting with children who will grow up with the technology, will use AI programs that can be worn as a necklace or beam words directly into their heads through bone conduction. The AI will know these humans intimately and become their therapists, coaches, and friends, he said.
“It’s never gonna judge you. It’s never gonna be resentful. It’s never going to be upset that you didn’t listen to it. It’s never going to go on vacation,” Andreessen said in an episode of the Huberman Lab podcast on Monday. “It’s going to be there for you.”
Andreessen’s predictions carry weight. As a cofounder and general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, one of the most influential venture-capital firms in Silicon Valley, he has led multimillion-dollar funding rounds for a number of AI startups, including Alphabet’s self-driving car company Waymo and ChatGPT’s maker OpenAI. Andreessen first made his fortune by cofounding Netscape, a web browser firm AOL acquired in 1998 for $4.2 billion, and was an early investor in Facebook. He has a net worth of $1.8 billion, according to Forbes.
AI isn’t advanced enough yet for the intimate implementation that Andreessen envisions. Current iterations of large language models (LLMs) require prompting from humans—ask ChatGPT a question and it will churn out an answer. But this call-and-response structure will evolve, he suggested.
“Maybe over time, more and more, you want it deciding when it’s going to talk to you,” Andressen said in the podcast. “When it thinks it has something to say, it says it, and otherwise it stays silent.”
An AI model like this could help with a person’s decision making. From consistent use, the AI will become familiar with the user’s habits and logic, and could leverage that knowledge to prompt the user to pause and reevaluate before making a choice.
AI could also take on a variety of roles in a person’s life—a friend, therapist, companion, mentor, coach, teacher, or assistant, Andreessen said. And the user could leverage those different personas, depending on what they need at a given moment.
“When there are difficult decisions to be made in your life, maybe what you want to hear is the argument among the different personas,” Andreessen said. “You’re going to grow up, you’re going to have this in your life, and you’re going to always be able to talk to it and always be able to learn from it.”
A ‘symbiotic relationship’
The AI’s constant presence requires a practical, nondisruptive way for humans to constantly interact with the technology, such as a necklace. Andreessen described a startup developing a pendant that could project images on the wearer’s hand or a surface in front of them.
Another possibility is bone conduction, in which vibrations travel along the bones of someone’s head to the inner ear, effectively allowing a person to hear sound “in their head” while still hearing their surrounding environment. Bone conduction headphones retail from anywhere between $20 to $200 or more.
For people who fear losing their autonomy to an advanced, pervasive AI, like the one he describes, Andreessen has words of comfort: AI is just another kind of machine.
“When we want the machines turned on, they’re turned on. When we want them turned off, they’re turned off,” he said. “That’s absolutely the kind of thing that the individual person should always be in charge of.”
“It’s going to be a symbiotic relationship,” Andreessen added. “I think it’s gonna be a much better way to live.”