Written by 5:12 pm AI, Discussions, RelationalAI, Uncategorized

### How Relational AI is Causing Confusion for Google

This technology won’t be contained.

Earlier this week, I inquired with ChatGPT about the proper method for cleaning a humidifier. Subsequently, feeling dissatisfied with its response, I tasked the AI with devising a less labor-intensive humidifier design, which it successfully accomplished. However, when I sought an estimate for the cost of this new device—anticipated to be a few hundred dollars at the upper end—I opted to adhere to the initial recommendation of a 30-minute white vinegar soak. The entire interaction proved to be swift, uncomplicated, and carried a touch of inventive flair, instilling a sense of active involvement in a creative process rather than mere information retrieval.

Nevertheless, a persistent issue persists: the inherent lack of trustworthiness I associate with chatbot outputs. These AI systems are susceptible to fabricating information and distorting facts. While such shortcomings are concerning within the confines of an independent platform like ChatGPT, the proliferation of generative AI across the internet raises further alarms. In a recent article penned by my colleague Caroline Mimbs Nyce, she delves into how content generated by AI is causing disruptions in Google Search results, resulting in nonsensical responses to basic inquiries. This phenomenon underscores the technology’s potential to transcend containment, potentially reshaping the world in unforeseen—and not always positive—ways.

The expanse of Google’s knowledge defies easy explanation, perpetually expanding into an infinite labyrinth. With a vast network encompassing hundreds of billions of websites, housing more data than even a concatenation of 100,000 top-tier iPhones could accommodate, Google’s repository is seemingly boundless. Presently, a peculiar anomaly has surfaced: Google appears perplexed regarding the existence of an African country commencing with the letter “K.” Upon querying the search engine for such a country, the response provided in a “featured snippet” on the results page reads: “While there are 54 recognized countries in Africa, none of them begin with the letter ‘K.’” This assertion is inaccurate. Further elaborating, the text suggests, “The closest is Kenya, which starts with a ‘K’ sound, but is actually spelled with a ‘K’ sound. It’s always interesting to learn new trivia facts like this.” The fact that this misleading information originated from ChatGPT may not be surprising; however, the manner in which it attained prominence as a featured answer on the internet’s foremost knowledge repository is indeed unexpected.

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Last modified: February 7, 2024
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