Screw searching via natural language chat

Google and Bing are scrambling to add this AI ChatGPT powered cruft to search and it all seems like a step backwards.

Oh I disagree, this is one spot where NLU could be very useful to a lot of people. Effectively searching the internet is a skill. You need to search for keywords and phrases that other people chose to use and manually exclude those you don’t want. If you search for “computer locks up when I start my email” you either won’t find references where the user’s laptop froze when opening Outlook or they would be ranked much lower. NLU can optimize those queries and get the user the answers they want faster, with less effort. That’s genuinely useful technology.

Where LLMs like chatGPT ultimately aren’t useful is in providing the answers themselves, because they have no understanding or context. They’re Chinese rooms. So I wouldn’t ask chatGPT or PaLM to directly “help me fix my computer freezing when I open email” because while they may regurgitate the proper plagiarized source, they also might not, and it will be perfectly confident in its answer either way.

Do I need to take a picture of the screw or can I just describe it? I always run into trouble trying to find the right bit size, this will be a big help!


This ColdFusion video went over the very soon future of chatGPT or LaMDA assisted search, and it sounds great.

Google search (and everyone else) is nearly unusable now for a lot of queries.

I don’t know what websites will do when they can’t write an article about what time the superbowl kickoff is. With a ChatGPT assisted search, it would just tell you the answer, rather than give you 500 auto-generated SEO optimized articles.

They’ll find other things to write about.

No, they’ll just use an AI to write the articles, tuned for the ultimate SEO clickbaitiness.

“7 reasons why you’ll miss the Superbowl kickoff if you don’t read this right now!”

I’m going out on a limb that it will still put SEO optimized spam first, be filled with ads, find the wrong thing now and then, and not having very different results from now when you can’t manage to describe what you want. At least, it will have new buzzwords.

I feel like this is already happening anyway.

Haha. “Lets’s demonstrate with a live demo… We’re missing the phone.” Apple they ain’t.

OK, immersive view is pretty cool, but it sounds like it will be very limited in geographical scope.

Edit: Oh, apparently it’s not new. And it’s landmarks only. OK, not cool. I was hoping it would be city-wide, or close to it.

“I’m able to see if these places are open, if they’re busy…” she says, while standing right outside them.

They pulled the google video already. I guess it was embarrasing?

They set it to private and unlisted

I didn’t watch all of it but it certainly wasn’t impressive. All the stuff around Bard, which wasn’t much, was super vague and aspirational. Ironically, the thing I took the piss out of immediately above would have been pretty cool if it had been using Google Glass (or some new version of it). But with a phone it just looked dumb.

Also, maybe it’s just me, but the use cases they presented for Bard were not how I would want to use AI powered search at all. I don’t want it to summarise the web. I want it to point me more accurately to the right bit of the web. Who the fuck makes a decision about whether to buy an electric car based on a four point list of pros and cons?

That’s a very optimistic view of what it will be. I really, really want your vision of it, Jon. But your point here is especially true.

I was hoping that we’d have a third party search be able to use some AI and thus actually give us a great search point. But then the mad scramble by Microsoft and Google to buy/license these services tells me no, they are very much going to make their money back by placing results based on some sort of revenue, so all that great natural language stuff will still be hidden behind a page or two of results that were paid for.


But if they are competing, users will use the better service. If Microsoft’s search is not useful, people will use Google’s, and vice versa.

True, Google has ruled the roost for too long, they could use a kick in the seat.