Sadje posted a question – how many times a day/week do you Google stuff? The answer should be straightforward – I’m constantly using google, so much so it might be difficult to quantify it. However, the question got me thinking; Google is so integral to many lives today, we use the search engine as a tool for everything and anything – want to know how to spell something, I use Google rather than a dictionary – its so easy to access – computer, phone etc and we usually always have a smartphone to hand. That’s the current situation, but with everyone talking about AI and ChatGPT and its equivalents, I did start to wonder how that might shape the future of Google as a search engine – I know there is already some speculation.
How often do I use Google
I hadn’t really tried to quantify my google activity up til now, but its so easy to access information that I probably use Google much more than I think. I get curious about something – I’ll check Google. I’m writing something – and want to check my facts, I’ll Google it. I’m not sure how much I use Google compared to others, but I do know that I’d rather look up written information than a podcast or video to explain something. I tend to only use YouTube if I’m really stuck or looking for a video to supplement the reading material I’ve already discovered for classes. Therefore I do believe I use Google extensively, and on a daily basis.
Here are some of the things I use Google for regularly – and that’s just a quick, 5 minute think to pull this list together, so no doubt there will be many more things I could add.
- Yesterday at work I had an argument with a colleague and was sure I was right, but the other person wouldn’t back down – I googled for my proof/evidence
- I was writing a lesson plan and wanted to find some materials – Google it
- I was creating course materials for another course
- I use google to search for text when I think I might be looking at an example of plagiarism
- I was considering making pancakes – easy to Google for a recipe
- I hear something on the news or in a notification on my phone, I’ll Google to get more information or check facts
The internet is a massive information resource at our fingertips and Google helps us organise it and present our search findings. However, with so much information out there we need to know how to use it effectively; use credible, reliable sources, and avoid fake news. Please see my post on evidence-based practice for some information about this.
Google v AI
Via Google, I’ve been doing a lot of reading/research about AI, and there has been some debate about whether we’re seeing the end of days for Google/traditional search engines. Here are a couple of articles about the risks:
OpenAI’s ChatGPT Not Likely to Replace Google (Business Insider)
AI chatbot predicted to replace Google in a couple of years (Phone Arena)
Its good to hypothesise but we can’t say for definite what will happen. I do believe, however that things will change. ChatGPT and other AI technology are here to stay and will only continue to learn and improve. The only way Google will survive will be to adapt and keep up with the changes, using AI themselves otherwise they are likely to be overtaken. When looking at this topic, It did lead me to considering various questions:
How Accurate are AI Chatbots?
ChatGPT passed the US Medical Licencing exam which is scary; however, when looking at the facts it scored 50-60%. While this means, yes it did pass the exam (pass mark is 60%), as it could get 50% that means that 50% of the time it could also be wrong. If you use ChatGPT or another AI to answer your questions, how would you know its accurate? Is there a risk that by using AI we might actually end up creating more fake news, but believe its true because it came from AI/technology? There is evidence to suggest that we actually trust technology more than people and therefore because an AI has given us the information, we will believe it without question.
I find it interesting that when I added in related posts, the technology supporting our blogging has proposed a review of a ballet production – well, we all need a bit of culture, right?
Do we trust AI?
I wonder if AI/ChatGPT type-bots will replace Google – they may provide answers to some questions – although currently I’d worry about accuracy/reliability – could Chat AI end up inadvertently contribute to Fake News – it doesn’t know any better and people generally might trust what it says more because its a computer and therefore believed to be more accurate/trustworthy. (Harvard Business Review)
Can AI do everything I want from Google?
If we’re looking for information, we can ask AI a question and it will provide the answer. If we use Google, we would need to look at the sources it identifies and form the answer ourselves. We can see, therefore that AI might have the edge here. However, while Google will provide you with a range of sources, I guess AI may or may not – depending on the instructions you give it. Tell it ‘give me 5 options’ – it will give 5 options. Just ask a question, it will answer your question.
Currently AI cannot do everything Google can. It can search through the information it has access to in order to fulfil its brief, but at the moment it cannot search the internet, so it wouldn’t be able to make recommendations about restaurants, performances at theatres etc which are advertised online. So there are limits to AI’s abilities for now. I do suspect that’s simply just because its not been given access or the programming to do that yet, but I suspect its just a matter of time.
Will AI make people lazy?
Is it laziness, or is it just looking for the easy option? I’m sure in the past, people thought us lazy if we searched on Google or earlier tools for information rather than sitting and searching through books and magazines etc for information. I do think there is the potential to encourage laziness if that trait is already there. If you can get AI to type up your answers and give you all the information; but as discussed above, do we take that information at face value or do we critique it to ensure its accurate and valid? Do we still look for various sources of information, or is it doing the work for us? Ultimately, that’s a choice we must each make for ourselves.
Are you already using AI?
AI is already around us. We are already using it regularly. Do you use Google Translate? I know I do – the translation tool is a form of AI/Machine learning which improves the more we use it; but obviously it has a more limited remit because its simply translating languages. We can embed a translator on our blog/websites for people to use to translate our posts – this is a form of AI.
In terms of the laziness I was referring to above, many of us are already using a form of AI – we ask it questions and it provides us answers. Chat GPT is an advancement of that. What I’m referring to is Siri/Alexa – the more questions we ask them, the more they learn, the better their answers become. A bit step from Siri to ChatGPT but this is how technology moves forward. (I don’t actually use these tools, so please let me know if my understanding is flawed – that is another characteristic of AI/ChatGPT – its always confident in its accuracy).
Google and other search engines need to keep up-to-date so they continue to be relevant and people will continue to use Google tools. The search functions we use today will change, but I hope in 10 years’ time, I’m still able to use Google to access the information I seek.
These are my thoughts; you may or may not agree with me. You may think I’ve overlooked something – or am just plain wrong. I can’t wait to read your reactions in the comments section – will I get any responses from ChatGPT?
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