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Why ChatGPT Won’t Replace Google

With Google, the algorithm eventually leads you to content made by real people. With ChatGPT, you never leave the algorithm

To some extent, ChatGPT is a newer, easier-to-use interface than Google.  Unlike Google, it doesn’t make you waste time by visiting those pesky websites.  It not only looks into its database for content, but it also summarizes it for you as paragraphs.

There is a problem lurking in there, however.  Being computers, neither Google nor ChatGPT cares about the truth.  They are algorithms, and they merely do as they are told.  Additionally, you can’t code the human mind into algorithms.  However, there is a fundamental difference between what ChatGPT does and what Google does that will prevent content generators like ChatGPT from displacing search engines like Google: Google eventually lets you out of its system.

Ultimately, the goal of search engines like Google is to help the user go somewhere else.  Usually, this somewhere else is a website that is not generated by computers, but content generated by humans.  In fact, Google spends significant effort trying to make sure the content it points you to is generated by people, not AIs.  Google’s advantage in search and other aspects has always been the respect that it gives to human intentionality.  Its secret sauce has always been its focus on harvesting human intentionality.

Ultimately, Google points users to websites which are run by people who do care about the truth, while ChatGPT keeps you tied to the algorithm, which does not.

This is ultimately the problem with trying to use ChatGPT like Google.  With Google, the algorithm eventually leads you to real content made by real people who have a real point of view.  With ChatGPT, you never leave the algorithm.  The algorithm is the beginning, middle, and end of the story. You are trapped in an AI prison of information that doesn’t actually have to be true, it has to only sound true.  And there is no way to tell the difference.

Jonathan Bartlett

Senior Fellow, Walter Bradley Center for Natural & Artificial Intelligence
Jonathan Bartlett is a senior software engineer at McElroy Manufacturing. Jonathan is part of McElroy's Digital Products group, where he writes software for their next generation of tablet-controlled machines as well as develops mobile applications for customers to better manage their equipment and jobs. He also offers his time as the Director of The Blyth Institute, focusing on the interplay between mathematics, philosophy, engineering, and science. Jonathan is the author of several textbooks and edited volumes which have been used by universities as diverse as Princeton and DeVry.

Why ChatGPT Won’t Replace Google