Grateful to Dropbox CEO Drew Houston for joining Thursday Nights in AI to discuss the power of LLMs, AI in the workplace, and seeing past the AI hype. Our top takeaways…

On today's AI boom:

“LLMs are like 10 breakthroughs in one thunderclap. For most of the history of computing, computers couldn’t really parse a sentence. An LLM can parse text, read and understand text, generate text, and code. Any one of those things would have been considered a breakthrough that would have kept us busy for five years. But they all happened at the same time. It’s like the Amazon guy dropped off an alien artifact that is LLMs and we’re all kicking and poking it, seeing what noises it makes.”

On distinguishing real vs hype:

“People have been predicting what AI can do for a long time, more or less correctly. But they often didn’t come true until 10-20 years later… That’s the prism I look at AI through: a lot of cool demos, but more discernment needed to figure out what can really scale.”

On how AI will affect knowledge work:

“I’m interested in how we can re-segment knowledge work so that our human processor can be doing human things and the silicon brain can be doing the other things. We're sort of in an environment where we just invented this other kind of processor and now we need to figure out what we can offload to it.”

On the opportunity for Dropbox:

“ChatGPT is amazing, but there are whole categories of questions that ChatGPT and generic AI can't answer. and it is limited when it comes to answering personal questions. Dropbox is well-placed to build personalized AI connected to your information in a secure and trustworthy way, that can help folks make sense of their working lives more broadly and build more of a self-organizing Dropbox."

 On how to build while the ground is moving quickly beneath you:

“You need a portfolio approach. For us, we think of it in terms of baskets: singles, doubles, home runs, more speculative ideas, more sustaining ideas. This way, we can make small investments and double down on what works. We have a talented team, so we also built our own internal Y Combinator called AMP to explore different ideas. We take a small team and let them rip. Sometimes they explore my ideas, sometimes it’s what they want to do. We want to explore a little bit of everything.”

Watch the full interview below:

Watch video on YouTube