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ChatGPT replacing Google as go-to search engine?

March 9, 2023 12:10 AM

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Fears are spreading in Silicon Valley that ChatGPT – the AI chatbot taking the world by storm – could become the globe's go-to search engine, a UK paper reported.

Google execs are said to have declared a 'code red' over fears its $150-billion-a-year search business monopoly could be wiped out thanks to the Microsoft-backed tool. Much has been made about ChatGPT's ability to perform eerily-human professional tasks such as writing emails and resumes. But fears in big tech stem from the fact it can instantly conversationally respond to users' questions, using data aggregated from the internet.

 That's a worry for search engines that rely on users scrolling and researching themselves, exposing them to advertisements. However, experts have noted that ChatGPT appears to have a liberal bias and its answers are not entirely transparent, which raises doubts about its effectiveness as a search tool. 

OpenAI invented ChatGPT, a startup co-founded by billionaire and Twitter CEO Elon Musk, and is headquartered in San Francisco. A system prototype went online on November 30, 2022, and quickly climbed the popularity ladder, garnishing over one million users in its first week. ChatGPT uses a machine-learning technique called Reinforcement Learning from Human Feedback (RLHF).

This means it learns through interactions with its environment. It has been fine-tuned using supervised and reinforcement learning - which uses feedback to teach the system what responses are desired. Proper results draw positive feedback, while incorrect answers or behaviour will cause negative feedback. 

OpenAI explains on its website that its agent is let loose to act randomly. The AI gradually builds a model of the goal of the task by finding the reward function that best explains the human's judgments. It then uses RL to learn how to achieve that goal, according to OpenAI.

As its behaviour improves, it continues to ask for human feedback on trajectory pairs where it's most uncertain about which is better and further refines its understanding of the goal.

The massive dataset of internet text ChatGPT learned from also allows it to generate text similar to what humans would write. One of the significant advantages of the chatbot is its ability to conversate. It can detect the context of messages and respond accordingly.

This makes it well-suited for language understanding and dialogue generation tasks. The model can generate high-quality text and human-like responses, making it suitable for a variety of industries, such as customer service, finance and healthcare. 

Additionally, ChatGPT can be fine-tuned on a specific task or dataset, making it highly adaptable for different use cases. This ability provides AI with various applications, such as language translation, text summarization, and question answering. 

The version of the bot available for public testing attempts to understand questions posed by users and responds with in-depth answers resembling human-written text in a conversational format.

Just like Google's search, it is accessible on a desktop for free, but it responds with information in a totally different way. Users first have to verify they are not a bot by entering their name and mobile number. 

A person can then ask it anything, although some answers will be more detailed than others depending on how much training in that topic the AI has received. ChatGPT can spit out an answer to many questions in a fraction of second. 

The human-like responses to questions could also make it feel like there is another person speaking on the other end. 

Experts say a tool like ChatGPT could be used in real-world applications such as digital marketing, online content creation, answering customer service queries or, as some users have found, even to help debug code. 

It has been used to pass exams, deliver sermons, write love and apology letters, code software and give relationship advice, to name just a handful of its functions. Some companies have used the platform to create emails and sales campaigns. 

Marketing experts believe its use could be expanded, helping answer frequently asked customer questions and providing base-level customer support. The healthcare field is excited about its potential too. Some have speculated that it could help answer patient questions about symptoms and advise them on how to continue.

With both the US and the UK suffering from doctor shortages, the tool could get patients in need simple care fast, while freeing up physicians for more serious work. It has also landed a spot as a 'co-author' on more than 200 books on Amazon.

Students have also reportedly bent the rules by harnessing the AI's power to write essays and create projects. How could it be used as a search engine?  ChatGPT differs from other search engines by providing one single answer to a query. Google, and other similar competitors, spit out hundreds of results and lets users pick their own source of information on a certain topic. 

Typical search engines also provide videos, news articles and images related to a topic or question. ChatGPT streamlines this process, though, instead giving users one simple answer based on what the AI itself is trained to say. It also does not show adds. Google and other search engines like Bing are teaming with advertisements that sometimes portray themselves as actual results.

The AI is trained using text it pulled from the internet. This is unlike search engine algorithms that are instead more personalized, and give results based on a person's search history. What Google and ChatGPT output is also different, with the tech giant's results being based on relevance and popularity. 

Chat GPT responses are generated based on probabilities and what it determines to be the context of the conversation. Chatbots have been filtering into the internet for decades but have only been able to answer simple questions with standard answers. But ChatGPT is believed to be the future of these systems, carrying out conversations with users through multiple queries, providing lightning-fast responses and generating software code. 

OpenAI's system can engage with disgruntled customers, increase company sales and provide medical information to patients. For companies, ChatGPT could help cut costs. But spells bad news for human employees who could lose their position.

Zak Saidi, creative director and AI Lead of creative agency IZSRI, told DailyMail.com that copywriters, bloggers and people who produce online copy could be among the first to fall in the AI revolution.

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