2023: The AI Pivot; Civilisation Stands on the Cliff Edge?
There was an interesting post on 21st Century Wire last week about Google calling “code red” on the existence of a new AI chatbot which essentially responds with better summaries when posed questions instead of just a list of search results.
I even ran the article through an AI summary tool and it came up with this:
OpenAI’s ChatGPT, a revolutionary new chatbot, has been released, prompting Google to declare a “code red” and fear for its search business. Google has its own chatbot, LaMDA, but may be reluctant to deploy it due to its inability to deliver digital ads. AI chatbots may not be entirely truthful, and could give people fewer reasons to click around, including on advertising. Google is now reassigning teams to develop and release new AI prototypes and products, and will eventually need to decide whether to overhaul its search engine to incorporate a chatbot.
Which I thought was a pretty good overview: Chatbots (AI research tools) are good, but can be manipulated and have less capacity to serve ads.
Is 2023 the Year of AI?
The world is entering a new era – the Age of Aquarius. It is an age of new beginnings, technological advances, and an increased understanding of the universe around us. In this new age, AI chatbots are playing an increasingly important role, providing us with answers to questions, advice, and even business plans. The Age of Aquarius could be a game-changer for Google, as the company will need to decide whether to overhaul its search engine to incorporate a chatbot, or risk being left behind in this new era of technology.
That last paragraph was courtesy of AI also.
I’ve also been thinking about this moment we are in, as the next evolution of search (as Google et al have since they don’t have this built-in). I have been playing around with AI content generation tools and they’re great to provide summaries of concepts, ideas or topics you need some insight into, instead of having to sift through countless links, build up your own picture and create your own summary.
However, this synopsis-building, AI-driven search solution can easily be more prone to filtering, censorship and all the bad stuff big tech has been accused of doing recently, but for the average person, it is the next natural step – if implemented properly and with oversight.
Scotty famously introduced us to computers you could talk to back in the 60s in Star Trek. You posed a natural language question or request and the computer (an AI) went off and collated, computed, analysed, summarised and then gave you a concise response.
I asked my alpha AI tool about this and it said:
In the original series of Star Trek, it is widely believed that the iconic phrase “Beam me up, Scotty” was first uttered in the episode “The Trouble with Tribbles” in 1967. However, it was not until the episode “Wolf in the Fold” in 1968 that the character of Montgomery Scott, more commonly known as Scotty, first said the phrase “Computer”.
Slightly more than I asked for (I only asked for the year Scotty first said “Computer”) but pretty cool. Especially since I couldn’t find a reference to the same question typed into DuckDuckGo on the first 2 pages. AI:1, Search:0. And if you’re wondering what all the fuss is about with Scotty and the Computer reference, it was made famous in the film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and you can read about the history and humour in more detail here.
And now we’re here, today.
I think Google will either pivot its own AI or acquire other players in the field to rapidly adopt this next technological evolutionary leap, as will other big tech companies but they may initially be behind paywalls. And I expect we’ll see AI betas rolling out to every search near you early in 2023.
Siri (et al) has been doing a pseudo form of this, but backed by AI it will quickly be Scotty’s “computer …” from back in the day (which, interestingly featured an Apple Mac in the film). So AI (re)searches on mobile devices won’t be far off.
We’ve been so focused on AIs becoming self-aware (and the potential threat they pose) that the better-suited “dumb” chatbots have slipped in under the radar. These don’t need to be “alive” but intelligent enough to analyse natural language searches and collate the right response without censorship. They’re still in their infancy but the time is right. This is the Age of Aquarius, after all.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments.