There was no input from any type of artificial intelligence involved in this article.
I feel like I need to do this disclaimer on everything I write now because everywhere you look people seem to be relying on AI to write the words people used to write.
I get it – it’s easy, and like all other lovely people who write for a living on the internet, anything that makes it easier. But it also sucks and makes for really awful stuff that’s full of misinformation to read. For me it’s not worth the exchange – been there before, that’s it.
Interestingly, Google made the same decision about AI-produced articles, at least for me. It might not have been the right reason(s), but like a broken clock, Google gets it right every now and then.
Google is one of the leaders in AI (Artificial Intelligence) and LLM (Large Language Model) research and has demonstrated some amazing tools. AI is used in many parts of your Android phone, as well as a number of Google services, but the company hasn’t released a comprehensive consumer-facing AI interface that can do term papers or blog posts.
The official reason why, according to Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and SVP of Google Research Jeff Dean sounds lazy: “The cost if something goes wrong would be greater because people have to trust the answers they get from Google.”
Like almost everyone else, I thought this answer was some kind of code Yes, really means “we haven’t found a way to monetize it and use it for search” and thought Google was blowing smoke. Either way, it looks like the company made the right choice regardless of the reasons.
AI does what it is taught and no more
AI is neither artificial nor intelligent. It’s software that takes what’s fed to it and programs how to present it. It can (almost) drive a car, it can identify a cat, and it can write essay-length content that people try to pass off as their own.
There are also some examples of AI being dangerous, such as assuming it is Wood chips make muesli taste better or the crushed china adds calcium and essential nutrients when added to baby formula. I was put off when AI clearly plagiarized human authors and disregarded any sense of journalistic ethics, but this is crazy.
Imagine if any of this came from Google. We lose our collective sanity when the camera app takes three seconds to load, and that’s before we’ve eaten any wood shavings, which would likely make us even more grumpy.
Again, imagine if Google gave false information using errors in basic arithmetic wrapped up in a financial advice article. That would have ended with Pichai pulling a wooden cross up a hill if people had their way. We hate Google, but we also trust Google to tell us where to find what we’re looking for and not give us bad advice. We probably shouldn’t, but we do.
There is no turning back
None of this changes the fact that AI is rapidly replacing the outsourcing and freelance writing industry. That’s unfortunate, but it’s also partly Google’s fault.
In case you don’t already know, it’s an industry to find ways to add keywords to a title that will propel it to the top of Google search results. Every web content creation company does it, including Android Central and my favorite YouTuber, who has started calling every broken car he fixes “abandoned” and “forgotten.” These words move video to the top of search results, just like “best” moves a written article up in search. Those are the words we use to search for “stuff,” so that’s what we get.
It’s called search engine optimization and AI is really good at it. The actual content of an article doesn’t matter because once you’re there and seen the ads, the site can count it as a hit as if you spent 10 minutes reading valuable content.
You’ve noticed that Google (and Bing and Jeeves or any other search engine you use) results are getting worse because of SEO. AI will make this worse. It doesn’t have to be like this.
Words written by an AI are easy to determine. You can try the demo from this tool by Edward Tian to learn more about the methodology used, but if a person can write an accurate tool to eradicate AI-written content in just a weekend, Google can filter it out of search results. But it doesn’t.
There’s probably a reasonable explanation for this, but we don’t know and honestly I don’t care what it is. AI-written articles are just plain bad and I would never like to be linked to one by a search engine.
Google will likely jump on the consumer bot AI bandwagon at some point, maybe even as early as 2023. It won’t be pretty, as chances are Google has far more advanced conversational AI than anything we’ve seen before . It needs to be heavily censored and constantly tweaked lest it become something that makes Microsoft Tay look tame and soothing.
then It will have a reason not to filter AI out of search results and our lives forever. 💰