A Human-Centric Path to AGI

Today, we are excited to share our investment in Adept, which is coming out of stealth and announcing a $65M Series A co-led by Greylock and Addition. Adept is a ML research and product lab building general intelligence by enabling humans and computers to work together creatively.

Over the past several decades, and in the last several years in particular, we’ve seen significant advancements in AI and its impact on the way in which we work and live. While these advancements have historically been incremental and task-specific, the invention and introduction of the Transformer in 2017 at Google Brain was a breakthrough for the field – and dramatically accelerated the pace of progress in AI. Transformers excel at generality and can extend across domains – finally making the north star of artificial general intelligence (AGI) tangible.

Since the introduction of the Transformer architecture, we’ve seen incredible models get built that demonstrate the wonderful power of this architecture with high scales of data and compute. As just a few examples – GPT-3 can generate text to write poetry or answer emails, DALL-E can generate highly realistic images from natural language descriptions, Codex can assist in the development of high quality software code, and BERT is now a foundational part of powering Google Search.

Yet, despite these dramatic advances, these models have a significant limitation – at least so far.

While excellent at understanding and generation, these models can’t act in the increasingly digital world in which they operate. We believe the next quantum leap in AI advancement and impact will combine understanding with actuation to transform the way we live and work. We are thrilled to back Adept in that ambition.

A Universal Collaborator

Adept’s foundational and ambitious vision ties the general power of AI (and Transformer models) with advancements in program synthesis to enable AI models to both understand and act on behalf of users. Adept’s general system will be trained on every software tool and API out there – leveraging the decades-long API-zation of all the tools and capabilities we use everyday to offer a universal collaborator that can work hand-in-hand with humans to radically improve effectiveness and productivity.

Adept will be able to do things like “submit an expense report for you” or “visualize a data set” – all using existing software like Salesforce, Figma, Tableau, and Twilio. We believe this product approach will play a central role in the future of work and transform many software markets. Most importantly, we also believe this is the most tractable definition of, and path to, AGI.

Deep Roots In the Large Model World

The Adept co-founders – David Luan (CEO), Ashish Vaswani (Chief Scientist), and Niki Parmar (CTO) – are a group of exceptional technologists, researchers, and product builders that have been central to pioneering this next wave of AI. David led Google’s large model program, and before that was head of engineering at OpenAI. Ashish and Niki are two co-authors of the Transformer paper (Attention Is All You Need) and have been critical to its core invention and technical advances.

Today, Adept is an exceptional team of nine from companies like Google and Deepmind. The Adept team is in highly rarified air – there are very few teams with this level of understanding and capability in AI. The company has current openings in engineering, research, product, and design. If you’re interested in working with the team, reach out to them at hello@adept.ai.

A Human Centric, Product Oriented Approach

A fundamental belief of the Adept team is that the path to AGI requires humans to be in the driver’s seat. While some AI companies are working towards a world where machines outperform humans, Adept believes machines should work together with humans. With Adept, people can spend more time doing work they enjoy the most.

Greylock has a special history of partnering with market-defining software companies from the earliest stages including Workday, Palo Alto Networks, Figma, Dropbox and more recently AI companies like Abnormal Security, Cresta, and Snorkel. We think that the next phase of AI will come from building products that people use today – but that also contain the seeds of generality for the future. Adept is doing exactly this, and we’re excited to bring Greylock’s expertise in enterprise products to bear. We believe not just in Adept’s deep technical competence, but also in their ability to build something useful. We’re thrilled to be partnered with David, Ashish, and Niki on this journey as Adept embarks on the human-centric path to building general intelligence.

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