The Bot is Out There

This is a continuation of a recent post I wrote called “Artificial Intelligence for PPC Advertising is Irrational“. This is a Part 2, brought to the fore by an excellent article by Michael Every of Rabobank.

“The Bot Is Out There. It Doesn’t Feel Pity, Or Remorse, Or Fear, And It Absolutely Will Not Stop Until Your Job Is Dead”

Zerohedge, by Michael Every of Rabobank

In this post I present two concepts, one that stays within the context of online marketing, and then other tangents that resulted from Michael Every’s article. I hope you’ll bear with me and be forgiving for trying to scribble too much into a single post.

There is a lot of noise about what AI will do. Michael Every nails one very important point, “The AI doesn’t know what it’s saying: it can only rehash the data it draws from. It also has to weigh the ‘correctness’ of arguments by the frequency of their appearance rather the logic they hold. For example, how many financial press articles were talking about the economic and market impact of mercantilism in 2015? Not very many. How many are today? Lots. Yet if you adjust for that lack of reading, there are other problems. Will the AI trawl through web forums and social media to listen to the to-and-fro of ideation there? If so, how will it avoid the collateral flotsam and jetsam in ‘dark pools’?”

Right! AI produces artificial, biased results because it is programmed by humans. (As I pointed out in my earlier post) Human input equals biased output. AI can never be truly unbiased because humans are not God-like.

Unbiased egalitarian outcomes are the antithesis of business, and advertising in particular. However, AI, when used by all advertisers, would produce egalitarian results. Google already offers it’s AI campaigns (Machine Learning) with results that are the very definition of mediocre. That is fine for the nascent, naive or lazy. But lazy businesses tend not to thrive or survive.

AI cannot produce better results for one advertiser if competing advertisers employs AI similarly. Yet, this must be Google’s vision for the future of online advertising. From personal experience, I can tell you their support teams are pushing advertiser hard to use their AI. Support = Up-Selling, migrating everyone to AI/ML campaigns.

So the point of this article related to advertising is that within Google’s walled garden, there will be a bifurcated environment; two tiers so to speak. One in which are the nascent, naive or lazy group using AI/ML, and then there will be those with the ability to compete with sophisticated methods that require talent and resources. Essentially you will have to write your own algorithms to have an advantage.

I think it is fantastical thinking that AI will replace everything humans do, relegating humans to livestock, happily consuming, (those useless eaters that they are) while the robots carry out all means of production. I know some people see that as the inevitable, but I for one don’t buy that version of the future. But who will build the robots?

Now for that tangent

ChatGPT has just demonstrated to the world what is possible, and it rightly frightens most people because they don’t understand much about it. It frightens Google because they know.

its [ChatGPT] release led Google’s management to declare a “code red.” For Google, this was akin to pulling the fire alarm. Some fear the company may be approaching a moment that the biggest Silicon Valley outfits dread — the arrival of an enormous technological change that could upend the business.

The New York Times

If an AI agent like ChatGPT is applied to saerch, the search business model will change dramatically.

I think it is obvious to most, but I’ll expound anyway. If I can explain to ChatGPT in complex terms what I want, and get what I want on the first go, well, good-bye to that fat revenue model made possible by ad placement along side all those failed search attempts. That might convert into 80% less revenue. Who knows. There are other things to consider as well. In this scenario there is only one winner. Zero visibility for #2.

This will cause mutations in online advertising, but there will evolve some form of advertising that requires human inputs in order to produce results that facilitate competition (also called “bidding”). Can you imagine two ChatGPT bots attempting to outbid each other? Remember the movie Wargames?

There are several ways this might work out. What will Google do? Some plans must be afoot to prevent the end of the search engine monopoly or a 80% decline in revenue.

Therefore, I cannot see how an AI agent like ChatGPT will be allowed to enter the search game. My thoughts race to: strangled in it’s crib.

One oft overlooked aspect is that Google’s surveillance value is too great for TPTB to lose. So maintaining Google in its current form is probably not only the priority of Google shareholders. Let that sink in.

Google could purchasing ChatGPT. Implement but degrade the utility of what ChatGPT could do. Something akin to still using a horse to pull an automobile so that it can’t do all the things that make a automobile better than a horse-drawn buggy. Who needs more horse-power? I’m fine with the 1 I got.

That strategy works well in the world we live in today in which monopolies seem to thrive in spite of laws that would prevent such behavior. And by building a patent-wall to protect your property.

Im better the short-term solution is that Microsoft, as the primary investor in ChatGPT, will seemingly bungle everything and ChatGPT is not allowed to come into use in any way that would disrupt the game. Not exactly strangling ChatGPT in it’s crib, but neutering or controlling it.

A Clue

In my prior post “Rethinking Search Marketing” I wrote about the US DOJ suing Google. But it has just occurred to me, that this unexpected action may be intended to block Google from purchasing ChatGPT. What else is the real motive of this totally unexpected and uncharacteristic move by the DOJ? And I thought anti-competitive practices are the domain of the FTC. Im confused I guess.

Why would they NOW act to disrupt the comfy status quo, unless there was something much bigger afoot?

Can this genie be put back in the bottle? I know someone will try. We live in interesting times indeed. Be prepared to adapt.

BTW. If you found this article in Google search results, (as unlikely as that may be) please comment. It would help me confirm that posts that mention subjects not to the liking of Google are blacklisted. (I’m sure this one will be) Mention your search term please. Thank you.