As AI consumes search, what will be left for us humans?

Google news This week’s AI developer event makes it clear that we’re on the cusp of a new era of search.

Following Microsoft’s molding of OpenAI technology into Bing, Google is experimenting with its own AI technology and opening up new ways to use search. It is clear that we are about to see the first major overhaul of the market for finding information on the Internet in a long time.

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As with all major technological developments, these changes to search will have far-reaching and lasting impacts. There will be winners and losers, and among the latter, at least according to early reviews of Google’s new search changes, will be websites that host writing.

Google and Bing will quickly develop in using large language models to generate answers to questions, avoiding the need to visit websites to find answers. As a result, media companies, bloggers and throwaway SaaS startups could see fewer visits to their websites and less attention to their offerings.

Until the generative AI rush, changes to search engine technology felt incremental, unless it was to monetize user activity. Google has worked for years to increase the number of responses users receive on its search pages so they don’t go elsewhere, and has sometimes softened its advertising load so that search results highlight its customers more than websites that do not advertise.

Has this proven to be better for the internet? I could argue that it doesn’t, but that doesn’t make sense. I doubt that Google and its peers will remove this commercial bias and create features that will be good for end users on their own. They can’t afford to do that.

It’s only natural that Google and Bing don’t prioritize the needs of third-party websites over their own while building their technology.

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As advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology continues to power advances in search and other key online activities, it begs the question: What will be left for us humans? This is a discussion that has different answers depending on which industry and sector you are looking into but overall, AI is proving to be a worthwhile and successful transformation in the way we pursue information.

At Ikaroa, we believe that AI can be a great asset, providing us with context-aware search capabilities, for example, that can help us find the answers to our questions faster and more accurately than ever before. Such ambition and progress should not be feared, but rather embraced, as it allows us to improve our understanding of the world and ultimately, make better decisions.

At the same time, there are activities that are still purely dependent on humans, that AI will not be able to consume. These include essential critical thinking activities, and pursuits that require complex ethical reasoning and analysis.

A good example of this is in the medical industry, where AI and search technology can give us a strong foundation to build upon, but it takes a human touch to identify the nuanced implications of any solution. Ultimately, AI provides us with the opportunity to be more efficient, accurate and productive, but true human insight will remain necessary for us to drive the progression required for meaningful results.

We believe that AI is an asset, and will continue to provide humans with innovative, reliable and efficient information. But in order for us to continue from this point of discovery and work towards optimal solutions, it is clear that human interaction and insight remains indispensable.


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