You may have noticed over the past year that AI has been showing up a lot in public use online. Back in November of 2022, a social media trend broke out where users would pay a small fee and submit 5-10 selfies to the AI tool Lensa, which would generate artistic renderings of the user.1 DALL-E is another AI program that has received great acclaim for its ability to generate realistic looking pictures from a simple prompt. Now we’re seeing other AI tools breaking out into the market, such as ChatGPT, and it’s causing waves of excitement and trepidation as the world ponders how it will ultimately save us or destroy us.
By now you may have heard about some of the concerning responses from Bing’s ChatGPT integration, and while we will touch on this briefly, our concern as a digital marketing agency is more focused on how this new technology can be used as a resource for businesses, while being mindful of the limitations and proper use of these tools.
What is ChatGPT?
If you’re unfamiliar with ChatGPT, it is an interactive AI program that will respond to prompts and questions from users and even recall previous messages within a conversational thread. We can break ChatGPT down into its two parts:
- The “Chat”, which is the conversational interface users interact with. Everytime you enter a prompt and get a response it feels similar to communicating with a friend over a messaging app.
- Then there’s the AI brain behind the text, GPT. Short for Generative Pre-trained Transformer,2 GPT is an AI language modeling program, designed to understand and respond to over 30 languages.3 Currently in its third iteration, and with GPT4 around the corner, GPT can generate its own responses but ultimately the information it’s providing is nothing new; all of its information is pulled from content that’s already been written on the internet up until September 2021.
Here’s a simple prompt where I ask ChatGPT about its thoughts on the increasing role of AI in public use:
A bit of a cop-out if you ask us; however you can see that when asked for its opinion, the program strictly responds that it does not have personal thoughts or feelings, and instead focuses on information.
ChatGPT was created by the organization OpenAI, an artificial intelligence development and research company. Their mission statement is, “to ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity.”4 That should be comforting to everyone thinking about Skynet; however it may not be comforting for current tech companies like Google who see this as the type of product that could seriously compete with their biggest product, search.5
Why would Google be concerned about AI?
As a search engine, Google’s main function is to serve users with relevant information based on their search query and ChatGPT challenges this product feature by providing a more interactive experience. The difference between these two products is that ChatGPT pulls all of the knowledge it knows about a topic and distills it into a single response whereas Google lists out all of the known websites indexed in its database for the user to comb through. Google currently does provide a feature where it will display what it thinks is the best response in the form of what’s called a “featured snippet”, in an attempt to keep users on the platform. You may see this feature come up when searching for flights on Google and how you can practically book straight from the search engine.
Microsoft has already announced that ChatGPT will be integrating with the search engine Bing as well as an added feature of the Microsoft Edge browser.6 Early results from initial beta testing of this integration have not gone smoothly however; reports from people granted access to the program have noted some concerning behavior. In some instances the tool has gotten information completely incorrect, but more worrying is how combative the program can be when corrected.7 This isn’t to say that every conversation with the tool will devolve into an argument, but it’s hard to predict how the release of an AI program as a Bing product feature will respond to typical search queries.
While the partnership between OpenAI & Microsoft has generated a lot of publicity for the lesser-used search engine, there’s still plenty of testing and updating of the AI-integrated search to be done.
Nevertheless, this release by Microsoft has sent Google into a frenzy trying to catch up and come out with their own AI Chatbot. In the immediacy of pushing out a competing product, Google used a preview of the tool, Bard, answering a question and giving an incorrect response. This public slip-up cost Google’s shareholders over $100 billion.8 It may also surprise you to learn that Bing’s preview also had accuracy issues but was initially overlooked because of the hype created by the novel tool.
Both of these companies have been putting years of resources into AI research and development, with Microsoft partnering with OpenAI back in 20166 and Google’s own AI research going as far back as 2011,9 which is why it’s a surprise that Google appears to be trailing behind in the AI arms race.
What does AI Content Mean for Google?
So what does Google think about AI content? Over the past few years Google has been emphasizing the importance of quality content across the web through their quality rater’s guidelines in the form of an acronym known as “E-E-A-T: Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, & Trust”.10 If you’re having AI handle your content generation then you’re automatically going to miss out on these qualities in your website’s content.
Google has stated they would not penalize AI written content just because it used AI. Google refers back to their guidelines about how they value content that is helpful to users as opposed to writing content for the sake of ranking in position 1 on Google.11 Writing content with the assistance of AI is nothing new though, highly respected organizations like the Associated Press openly use AI throughout their news production and in summarization.12
Should I be using ChatGPT for my small business?
Large organizations have already started to integrate ChatGPT into their content creation and the results are mixed. Bankrate.com, a large financial education website publicly admitted to utilizing ChatGPT as the primary author on its articles with the caveat that they had been lightly edited by a human author.13 The article in question was released with typos and errors that justify why it’s worth continuing to invest in human writers and not doubling down on AI generated content.
This news was especially concerning because of the type of information that Bankrate.com creates which is financial advice. Google holds these types of sites, as well as any medically-focused websites, to a higher standard because the advice that is given can severely affect an individual’s finances or medical choices.14 Google wants to ensure that the information users get from the search engine is as accurate and expertly backed as possible when it can affect your life.
Rebel would not recommend that you start letting ChatGPT write your website content, or have DALL-E just create imagery for you to upload, but we do believe that like any tool, if used intelligently, AI can play a role in creating great results.
- Understanding Company Sentiment
- With ChatGPT and Bing connected, being able to uncover how the people online feel about a brand has never been easier
- Sourcing Inspiration
- How many times have you been stuck on a subject and not sure where to draw from next? These tools allow you to stimulate inspiration instantly
- Scaling Content Creation
- Parts of the content creation process can feel monotonous, being able to shortcut the areas of work that take up time but don’t make the work shine will bring much efficiency
- Expediting Creative Concepting
- Conveying your ideas before jumping into production can help all parties align on a unified idea before committing resources further
What’s exciting about ChatGPT is its role in creating shortcuts for solving problems. ChatGPT is an excellent tool when it comes to filling in the gaps in lines of code or formatting information for you. When it comes to content, ChatGPT still needs more human intelligence for best performance and for double checking the accuracy of its statements. Remember that since ChatGPT is essentially funneling content from the web, its base of knowledge is everything humans have published; it’s not going to have a new or interesting take that someone else online has not had already.
AI will always need some kind of human oversight to ensure proper use and implementation. While we are still in the early stages of AI adoption and we predict its use will only increase over time, there are some interesting challenges for us ahead:
- How will artists and content creators be able to control whether their work is utilized by AI? And who “owns” that work?
- How will we make sure users are properly trained on ChatGPT to not create content that’s inherently biased based on the prompt?
- Will ChatGPT suddenly become the most prolific author and what does that mean for the value of the content it creates?
As the world navigates these changes in technology, businesses and organizations should take pride that companies like Rebel Interactive Group are experimenting with this technology to understand what works and what doesn’t.
Other Sources Used Indirectly: