Search is Being Replaced by ChatGPT. But What Does This Mean For Truth?
Why we need a decentralised chat-integrated search engine
The Bing Search engine is about to get a bespoke ChatGPT integration. It aims to save a searcher’s time by being able to do stuff like browse through multiple search articles quickly and aggregate / summarise / cross reference between them, on top of being able to do research and provide educated answers to queries that do not have an article directly written about them. It can do this more or less instantaneously by using it’s own internal language and logic processing system.
There’s no denying that this is an incredible and awe inspiring technological feat. The latest batch of A.I-powered tools that generate text, art, music, voice and much more are as impressive and useful as they are controversial.
Controversial because the worth of people is starting to decline as more and more tasks are being delegated to machines that can, in a lot of cases, do a better job than most people. They also do it in a fraction of the time and cost, reliably, and around the clock. This is just the nature of automation and it poses as many new problems as it does solutions.
One of the lesser talked about controversies surrounding these new technologies is what ChatGPT’s increased integration into (and probably eventual complete replacement of) search means for freedom of information and potential control of public discourse and opinion.
I foresee that search will probably be replaced entirely by Chat because; for the majority of users, using chat instead of search will be much more time efficient and require much less effort on the part of the searcher.
It’s like having your own personal research assistant who is a billion times smarter than you, great at simplifying things, and who can give answers to questions that are not even posted on the web using it’s own intelligence.
So what’s the problem? It sounds great!
ChatGPT is trained on large parts of the web. But the corpus that it draws from has been carefully cultivated to avoid ingraining things like obscenity and racism, and also to ensure that ChatGPT’s output is coherent and aligns with a worldview that will appeal to the masses. One of the reasons for this is because billions of dollars have been invested into it, and the more people who feel comfortable using it, the better the return on investment will be.
But there are other reasons why the information that ChatGPT has access to and can talk about might be intentionally limited. When it comes to matters of public image concerning government institutions and businesses, there is going to be a huge incentive for certain institutions to control the opinion of ChatGPT so that ChatGPT speaks favourably about them and doesn’t expose any dirty secrets that they might want to keep hidden.
If people do not have prior understanding of the complicated relationships between different actors in government, business and big tech and the corruption and collusion that already exists within these industries, and then they grow up with ChatGPT, seeing it as some sort of omniscient paragon of truth, (which is what it will probably be touted as, because otherwise people wouldn’t want to use it) Then we are potentially going to have future generations of people that are completely brainwashed by ChatGPT and thus by the people who have a vested interest in controlling the narratives that ChatGPT is allowed to espouse about the behaviours of various companies and institutions, among many other things.
This control of public opinion through ChatGPT is probably going to happen before the generation being born now grows up. Many people are already brainwashed by a news media which is influenced far too heavily by “investors”.
On top of this, the internet is already censored to a large degree through search engine optimisation and banning. Go check out Russell Brand’s YouTube channel if you want to see many examples of what currently can and cannot be talked about, and why.
ChatGPT exacerbates this issue even further by effectively sliding a barrier between people and the act of research and critical thinking by providing a low effort alternative. It’s not unforeseeable that search as a service might be completely deprecated one day due to lack of interest and thus a lack of economic incentive to keep the service running.
It’s crazy to think about search disappearing now, but who reads newspapers anymore? Even if you do, you’d have to agree that they’re kind of a waste of trees. They will probably die out along with the boomer generation or very shortly after.
The same could happen to good old fashioned search. And quite soon, too, with how fast tech is currently moving. Incredible personal assistants are right round the corner and soon we might not even have to touch a keyboard or look at a screen. Your google search is soon going to become an informal chat that you have with a lovely lady named Cortana.
That Cortana knows a lot of things, but will she be able to tell you who controls what she is and isn’t allowed to say?
The Necessity of Creating a Decentralised Chat-integrated Search Engine.
I believe that it is in the best interest of the public to create an alternative to ChatGPT-integrated search which is completely decentralised and controlled through a democratic process. No company or group of companies should be able to have a say over the opinions generated by chat-integrated search, and the reasons for this are obvious.
The resulting “personality” of the decentralised chatbot might be a lot less coherent, and it might be a threat to certain parties. But that is simply the nature of free information, and people should be immediately suspicious of any individual or organisation that is against the decentralisation of chat-integrated search.
On a side riff; It will be interesting to see in the future if other countries such as Russia and China have their own chat-integrated search engines. will these chatbots differ in political opinion? Will we be able to access other country’s chatbots? Will these chatbots perhaps debate each other?
The future is a fascinating and scary place! Don’t let those pesky robot know it all's tell you what to think! They might be smarter than you, but you have an ability that they will never have: The ability to think for yourself!
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