I’ve been using Bing’s new chat mode since its beta release. It’s a generative AI system that can answer questions, generate content, and perform tasks based on natural language input. It’s powered by GPT-4, which is currently the most advanced language model available. Google recently launched a similar product called Bard, but it’s not as impressive or versatile as Bing.
However, there is a potential problem with this approach: these generative AI systems rely on data from human-written sources, such as websites, blogs, books, etc. But if people stop visiting or creating those sources because they can get everything they need from Bing or Bard, then those sources will eventually disappear or become outdated. And without fresh and diverse data, these systems will lose their quality and usefulness over time. How can we prevent this from happening? I have a proposal.
Imagine a new model for the internet where everyone has their personal webpage that they can update with whatever they find interesting or valuable, somewhat like this blog or a Twitter profile. And then that data is used by generative AI systems like Bing or Bard as input for their responses or content creation. Whenever Bing or Bard uses data from someone’s webpage, it credits the source by mentioning the webpage’s name or the author’s name (giving them a 'shoutout') and provides a link for the user to visit that webpage if they want to learn more about that person or topic.
This way, we create a more direct and rewarding connection between content creators and consumers. For example, suppose you are a chef who used to post recipes on some generic website that aggregates recipes from various sources. Now you can simply post them on your webpage and every time Bing or Bard uses one of your recipes as part of their response or content generation, they’ll give you proper attribution and exposure.
What makes me confident that this model will work? Well, if you observe the current trends, it’s already working to some extent! Many people share their thoughts and ideas on social media platforms like Twitter or video platforms like YouTube/TikTok without expecting any monetary reward. The main reason most people don’t write blogs is that a blog post is usually longer and more demanding than, say, a Tweet. But with generative AI tools like GPT and LaMDA, that could change. We could express our thoughts in brief and then let the AI generate a blog post by adding more details and explanations to our thoughts!
In this model, as a webpage owner, you’d have the motivation to share your work with generative AI systems so you can gain recognition and trust among the users. This would make the internet more aligned with its original vision: a network of people’s webpages that one could explore and learn from. Of course, social media platforms offer some of these benefits today but you don’t have full control over how your data and posts are managed there. This is why I personally prefer website forums over Telegram channels/Discord servers because you can index those website forums into a search engine but that is a topic for another post I suppose.
I strongly believe that if we use these AI tools in the right way, we can use them to amplify humanity rather than replace it. I do acknowledge that this model is not perfect and I welcome feedback.
I think that resisting change just because your current methods are ‘better for business’ is not a viable strategy for long-term success. We have seen what happened to IBM, Xerox, Kodak, Blockbuster and many others who failed to adapt to new technologies and customer needs. When printing was invented in Europe in the ~15th century, it was opposed by some and yet today we have a flourishing culture based on digital media. When calculators were introduced, some math teachers objected and yet today they are an indispensable tool for math education in colleges around the world. History repeats itself, and those who do not learn from it are doomed to repeat it.