By complete coincidence, I took part in one of the US DARPA agency’s design competitions. The consequences of what I learned are powerful. It started completely innocently enough. I clicked on an ad on FB, I have a liked DARPA profile so that’s probably why the ad for their project came to me. It was about a new educational project that DARPA is currently working on. They were looking for people and companies that can do it for them.
The prerequisite is to be a U.S. citizen or U.S. residency, I don’t have one but I thought what do I care I’ll probably learn something interesting.
What I learned exceeded my wildest expectations.
Well, DARPA wants to build a civilian project. The framework of the project is defined by two elements: one is the need and the other is the opportunity.
The need is defined perhaps best in a World Economic Forum document: by 2025, about half of all workers worldwide will require retraining to remain competitive in the job market. Economies today are changing rapidly on top of the accelerated changes brought about by AI. This is a gigantic need and a gigantic market.
The second element is opportunity. That opportunity is the first AIs in operation (any version of ChatGPT). As part of the project, the Americans described the problem that has not been solved so far this way:
The most effective form of teaching is tutoring in the presence of a teacher. However, this is an expensive solution. The use of AI in the role of the teacher will reduce costs and shorten the time from the creation of the need to the preparation of workers for the new profession.
After this introduction, I will write directly what the Americans are building: they are building a training company that in a few years, using AI, will be able to train up to several hundred million people. Such a company will be created starting in May.
From the meetings I got the impression that DARPA is the initiator of the project while it will be implemented by a civilian company. I don’t quite have an answer to the question of why they are doing this. The only thing that naturally comes to mind is that the problem they are trying to address is simply gigantic, so big that it is capable of shaking the social order in the US.
The tremendous changes that are already underway will create tremendous needs, and this opens up an opportunity for us to build new businesses. I think we are in the early stages of a fever similar to the dot-com era 20 years ago. New companies will be formed, huge assets will be created in a short period of time.
What is the opportunity? Well, in the fact that usually “everyone else” finds out about such projects once they take off and get a large number of customers. This time, by happy coincidence, we know about it even before the Americans prepare something. This is an opportunity to take advantage of the natural advantage of being first to market (in Poland, for example) – an opportunity that is every business founder’s dream.
This project is an example of what will happen in the next few years. There will be new projects based on tools like ChatGPT.
In our case, this is a complete change of the rules of the market game. Until now, we have had access to training services containing pre-recorded videos. That is, something like a boring lecture without the opportunity to ask questions of the presenter. I have used many times, with time you can get used to it, but I would gladly change to something better.
In our case, first of all the video doesn’t have to be boring (the first competitive differentiator) and on top of that we have the possibility of getting answers to questions from someone at the Harvard University level.
If we add to this a focus on courses in areas that are in demand in the market plus what have been bestsellers elsewhere, we have a good product strategy. Another competitive differentiator can be added to this – follow-up after-training, which is also easy to prepare.
My guess is that this U.S. service can get maybe 20 million customers in a few 4-5 years which will put its valuation (based on the valuation of today’s training services) at about a billion dollars. And this may be a highly understated result. A realistic one could settle in the neighborhood of above 8-10 billion. ChatGPT gained 100 million users in less than three months and is now valued at $30 billion.
A completely different company, founded by (…)