Get Ready to Relearn How to Use the Internet


This year has brought new techniques in artificial intelligence, which I have tried to keep up with, but too many people have not seen the emergence of other countries. I often hear comments like, “Those are great graphics, graphic designers will work with that,” or, “GPT-3 is cool, it will be easy to cheat on term papers.” And they conclude by saying: “But it won’t change my life.”

This idea will likely be proven wrong – and soon, as AI is about to transform our entire knowledge of architecture. You will have to learn how to use the internet again.

The basic structure of the consumer Internet has not changed much in the last 10 years. Facebook, Google and Twitter remain popular versions of their former selves. The browser retains its central role. Video has increased in importance, but that shouldn’t be a big change in how things work.

Change is coming. Consider Twitter, which I use every morning to gather information about the world. Less than two years from now, maybe I’ll be talking at my computer, explaining the topics I’m interested in, and someone’s version of AI will spit me a Twitter remix, in a format that’s readable and relevant to my needs.

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AI will also not only respond but act. Maybe it will tell me, “Today you really need to read about Russia and the changes in the UK government.” Even if I say, “I’m asking for more calm today,” and that wish can come true.

I would also ask, “What are my friends doing?” and I will find a useful digest of web and social media resources. Or I can ask the AI ​​for content in various foreign languages, all translated flawlessly. Most of the time you won’t use Google, you’ll just ask the AI ​​your question and get an answer, with the sound of your commute if you like. If your friends especially liked video clips or episodes from the news, those can be sent to you.

In short, many of today’s Internet services will be powered by AI. This will create a new kind of user experience.

It is unlikely that basic services will disappear. People will still Google things, and people will still read and write on their Facebook pages. But most will go directly to the AI ​​integrator. This trend is already happening: When was the last time you asked Google for directions? They’re online, of course, but if you’re like me, you use Google Maps and GPS directly. You have actually moved to the information aggregator.

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Or consider blogs, which peaked between 2001 and 2012. Then Twitter and Facebook became aggregators of blog content. There are still many blogs, but most people get access to them directly through aggregators. Now that process will take another step – because the current connectors will be integrated and programmed, in the most intelligent ways of machine intelligence.

The world of ideas will be turned upside down. Many public intellectuals do very well at promoting themselves on Twitter and other social media platforms, and those opportunities may be diminishing. There will be a new capability – self-advertising in AI – of a still unknown nature.

It remains to be seen how AIs will select and credit basic content, and what types of packages users will choose (with or without author images?). To the extent users are just looking for feedback, however additional links will be removed. Why should a think tank bother to produce a policy report, if it is going to be added to what are summary notes without clear implications? Overall, those who enjoy producing content with little credit, such as Wikipedia editors, can gain influence.

And what about competition within AI itself? A prominent AI is likely to cite primary sources, ensuring that content production continues and maintaining a healthy information ecosystem for its benefit. In the highly competitive AI field, by contrast, there is a risk of people consuming content but not renewing it with proper credit, as the free rider problem may enter.

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Another question is who will reap the benefits from this innovation – the new AI companies, the big old tech companies, or the internet users? It’s too soon to know, but some analysts are bullish on new AI companies.

Of course this is all just one person’s opinion. If you don’t agree, in a few years you’ll be able to ask new AI engines what they think.

More from Bloomberg Opinion:

• Google AI Videos Point to a Machine-Generated Future: Parmy Olson

• Drug Access Is Coming Soon. Thank you AI: Lisa Jarvis

• AI Installed My Screenplay. Can It Crack Hollywood?: Trung Phan

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Tyler Cowen is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a professor of economics at George Mason University and writes for the blog Marginal Revolution. He is the author of “Talent: How to Spot the Powers, Creators, and Winners Around the World.”

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