In early 2023, there has been no bigger story in tech than artificial intelligence. The success of ChatGPT, in particular, has dominated the headlines, prompting almost existential panic in some sectors as we get to grips with how disruptive this technology might be. For those not aware, ChatGPT is an AI virtual assistant, one that is able to pass college entrance exams, explain to you Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, or compose a poem on your favorite type of cat.
ChatGPT is a text-to-text AI, so all you need to do to get an answer is write a question for it. As such, many experts believe that it will one day replace a product that has dominated many of our lives for two decades – Google Search. Indeed, reports suggest that Google’s parent Alphabet has real concerns over the rise of artificial intelligence and that they believe it might represent one of the biggest ever threats to its dominant position in the search engine sector.
A fundamental difference in search techniques
On the face of it, you can see the obvious pathway. Why would you “google” a question, which leads to a range of answers (and advertisements), when you can ask ChatGPT, or similar AI tools, which will give you a specific answer? As you might expect, it raises a challenge to Google’s business model.
But might we argue that traditional search algorithms still have a future? Despite the success of ChatGPT, there are benefits to using the older model, even if we do believe Google has flaws. The underlying argument revolves around trust. Yes, you’ll hear from some quarters that Google, and Big Tech in general, has too much control over the internet. And it’s hard to disagree that they have often overstepped at times in their role as gatekeepers. Then again, you must remember that ChatGPT and its parent, OpenAI, are also part of the Big Tech picture, with Microsoft having a significant stake in the latter.
And yet, beyond the question of Big Tech, we want to look at the structural arguments here. For all the times we have heard phrases like “Google is your friend” or “just google it”, it’s worth remembering that Google does not tell you the answer to a question; it provides links for where you might find the answer. It’s up to you, the user, to judge whether the sources are reputable or not. ChatGPT does tell you the answer. However, it does not provide sources – you have to trust it. And in testing, ChatGPT has been shown to be particularly adept at spoofing answers when you ask it something demonstrably incorrect.
Options like casinos entertainment suit search aggregators
In our view, there are countless examples of where the search algorithms and models of compiling results from various sources are more beneficial to the user than a specific answer. These range from review aggregators like Rotten Tomatoes to hybrid models like CasinoMeta. The latter uses an algorithm to create ranking scores for online casinos based on user feedback and the opinions of casino gaming experts. Moreover, in light of our discussion here, it provides transparent evidence of how its modeling works and, thus, how it arrives at an unbiased score for each casino.
Our point here is to ask whether you would prefer to see online casinos rated by a transparent algorithm or whether you would like to ask an AI for a specific answer, which you will get without the tool “showing its work.” This same model can be applied to other sectors, including movies, video games, hotels, restaurants, and so on. It’s our view that the results and links-based search algorithm are superior for those looking for a recommendation compared to taking an AI on blind faith.
Of course, none of this is to say that Google Search or sites like, say, TripAdvisor is perfect. We know that there is a competitive industry in SEO, so that the superior product, but rather the one that uses search engine optimization most astutely, does not necessarily go to the top. Moreover, Google and others have been accused of promoting products that give it a financial incentive above those that might align better with our original search query. And if you have ever ordered a product from Amazon that doesn’t quite fit the description, you will be well aware that the review system can be easily gamed.
But it still boils down to the fundamental point. One option gives you a specific answer without telling you how. Another gives you a range of options where you can judge for yourself where the veracity lies. ChatGPT has been one of the most eye-opening tech advances in years, decades perhaps. But the death of the search engine might be somewhat exaggerated.