6 Ways AI-Powered Search Engines Will Change the Internet Forever

Ever since ChatGPT went viral, the tech industry has been obsessed with the idea of ​​AI chatbots and how they will affect us. In fact, Microsoft is now integrating a chatbot like ChatGPT directly into Bing, calling it the “new Bing,” designed to disrupt Google’s monopoly in the space.

As expected, Google countered by showing off its own chatbot called Bard, which is part of Google Search. The big question is how these AI-powered search engines will change the web in the near future. While nothing is certain yet, our next six predictions should give you an idea of ​​what to expect.

1. Users will get instant responses via Chat

Illustration of online search for answers

The main purpose of AI chatbots like ChatGPT and Bard is to save users time. Right now, if you search for a query on Google, for example, you’re presented with an endless list of articles and expected to manually find your answer by reading enough of them. If you think about it, this method is not very effective.

When you ask someone something in the real world, for example, you don’t expect a long exhaustive comment detailing everything about the topic. Rather, you expect a short, tailored answer based on experience that uses examples and metaphors and is easy to understand. If you want more details later, you prompt them to go into more detail.

This is exactly what AI search is trying to replicate. It tries to take the hassle out of searching the internet and provide instant, relevant and accurate answers without you having to do the hard work of figuring it out yourself. But as you can guess, it’s not that easy.

There are still many issues with AI chatbots, such as inaccuracy, bias, and a tendency to be repetitive. Solving these long-term problems will require a lot of user feedback so that the algorithm can better identify the intent and context of your search queries.

2. Search will become more conversational

A woman in a sweater translates on a computer

When you search for a query on the Internet today, you don’t do it the way you would naturally, but the way you think the algorithm will understand. That is, you are expected to type in specific keywords and have at least a basic knowledge of the industry jargon relevant to your query.

So instead of looking for “where should I go on vacation this year?” you searched for “10 best holiday destinations in 2023”. We do this because using a search engine feels instinctively investigative and therefore methodical, but talking to a chatbot can be perceived as more conversational. That means you’ll be able to choose a more natural language.

3. Fact-checking will become a mainstream career

Magnifying glass on laptop

Inaccuracy is, and likely will be, the biggest problem in AI search for the foreseeable future. As their availability increases, we imagine that most people can slowly transition from doing their own research to trusting a chatbot and taking its word for it. This is extremely dangerous for obvious reasons.

To combat this, it’s highly likely that Google and Microsoft will hire massive teams dedicated to fact-checking and limiting the spread of misinformation. Just as moderation is a key part of social media, fact-checking will become a key part of AI search.

Dollar bill in cart above tablet device
Image credit: Stanislav Khokholkov/Shutterstock

AI search will make online shopping much more convenient. Instead of wading through multiple reviews of multiple products from multiple creators, you can simply ask the chatbot for the best recommendations for the product category you’re looking for.

You can even ask him to compare specs and prices and get an instant summary of the features and limitations of the products you’re interested in, then simply pick one from the list. The summary will also contain a link to Amazon, so you can go straight to the platform and buy the product.

The only parties who win in this whole situation are you and Amazon. But creators, publications, and product reviewers will be in a tough spot and probably won’t want their content being used for summarizing by a chatbot.

5. Human-written content will be a priority

Dark haired woman with glasses typing on laptop and sitting on red bean bag

AI-generated content doesn’t technically violate Google’s Search Guidelines, but the company clarified that “using automation, including AI, to create content with the primary purpose of manipulating search rankings is a violation of our spam policy.”

Basically, you are free to use the AI-generated content as a template, but not as a final product. Using ChatGPT for homework is one thing, but using it to write commercial content is not only unethical, but a very bad idea in the long run.

Qualities that exclude human-written content, such as originality, prior experience, judgment, history, and unique perspective, will become even more valuable in the age of AI search. Why? Because just like people hate answering robocalls from businesses, people probably won’t want to read an article that they know isn’t written by a real human.

6. Websites will lose search traffic

A person presenting to his colleagues with a laptop

We’ve seen how AI search can help users save time and potentially create more jobs, but we haven’t yet addressed the elephant in the room: monetization. Eventually, AI search will become so satisfying that users will no longer feel the need to visit web pages. This is great for users, but a nightmare for publications.

The Internet, as you know, today runs on advertising revenue. If people stop reading articles, publications will lose traffic and advertising revenue. If they lose advertising revenue, they can’t pay their staff. If they can’t pay their staff, no new content is produced. And if no new content is produced, these AI chatbots have nothing to digest. After all, the internet is dying.

Microsoft’s response to this argument is that people will still want to dig deeper and click through web pages despite having a chatbot assistant. But this may not be the case.

As we’ve seen with the rise of other short content, most people probably wouldn’t want to do this if they’re already getting short, quick answers to their queries, even if it comes at the cost of losing context. Time will tell how things will develop.

The era of AI search is here

There are still hundreds of questions and uncertainties to be resolved about AI search. As tech geeks, we’re really excited to see how things evolve and experience the ways technology can benefit us. But it seems there are also some downsides to this new form of search.

You can save a ton of time because the user gets a quick summary of your requests, but if there’s no incentive left for your favorite creators and publications, where will the new content come from? We remain curious and alert to the developments that take place this year among other technology trends.

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