Power users and casual users think AI chatbots will be faster than search engines in two years. Chatbots will reduce the need to go to ad-supported websites for replies, and publishers may need to rethink how to make money from online content.
You probably know that ChatGPT and other AI-powered technologies from Google, Microsoft, and others could transform society.
Using a short text input, generative AI chatbots and image generators may create award-winning photos, essays, blog entries, poetry, and even working computer code in seconds.
AI-powered solutions doing business processes that used to take hours have been extensively discussed. Naturally, AI has been criticized for threatening employment in content production, customer service, data entry, and even computer programming(Opens in a new window). However, another major development might radically transform how we get information and perhaps upend the existing ad-supported internet model.
In March 2023, Aberdeen Strategy & Research surveyed 642 professionals from a variety of sectors to assess the workplace effect of AI(Opens in a new window). (Ziff Davis owns Aberdeen Strategy & Research.)
AI chatbots (42%) outperformed search engines (24%) in predicting how people would find internet-based information in the future.
Users currently use chatbots for web searches and expect to use them more in the future. Nearly 60% of March 2023 poll respondents have used generative AI technologies. Chatbots like ChatGPT were almost three times as popular as text-to-image programs like Dall-E 2 or Midjourney. While anybody can utilize AI to create Van Gogh-style orange dinosaur drawings, few are doing so.
16% of respondents were heavy users of AI products, while 43% were casual users. Power users were younger. Power users outnumbered Gen X (14%) and boomers (10%).
These elite users are testing generative AI, trying novel use cases, and forming educated views that will affect us. We found that early power users believe by seeing. 74% of generative AI power users think advanced AI might be as significant as the internet.
Generative AI technologies impress professionals. They’re far more likely than non-users to find them useful in a wide range of commercial use scenarios, including “finding information more quickly than a traditional search engine.”
64% of generative AI power users and 35% of casual users think AI can discover answers faster than a search engine, compared to 7% of non-AI users. Our analysis suggests a rapid shift from search engines to AI chatbots. Power users (87%) and casual users (80%) think AI chatbots would be faster than search engines in two years, compared to 42% of non-users.
When ChatGPT, Google’s Bard, and Bing chat extend their capabilities to more users, these findings should be revisited. After decades of dominance, might technologies like ChatGPT and Bing chat eventually dethrone the default method of getting information online—using a search engine and clicking through to websites for further details?
Chatbots will likely reduce the need to go over to ad-supported websites for replies in the future. No one will miss scrolling past half a dozen irritating adverts and autoplay movies to locate a mac and cheese recipe at the bottom of a long page. Chatbots already respond to questions with recipes and ingredient lists in seconds.
If internet users spend more time chatting to chatbots and less time reading ad-supported websites—one key method publishers generate money—publishers may need to rethink how to make money from online content. Our research suggests a new model based on existing expectations.
84% of respondents think chatbots should cite and link to AI-generated replies. These citations were formerly hidden in chat window footnotes.
“In the near future, publishers may need to reconsider how to make money from online content.”
49% of respondents think original authors should be compensated directly if their work is used to train AI models.
Chatbot makers will profit from search behavior shifts. Microsoft will add adverts to Bing Chat. Rob Wilk, Microsoft’s Corporate VP of Advertising, predicted that Bing chat will provide “rich insight…into user intent through deep conversational engagement, (which) will deliver smarter and more actionable opportunities for advertisers to engage with customers.”
Google CEO Sundar Pichai said his business is “thoughtfully evolving” Bard AI(Opens in a new window) to “get it right with the publisher ecosystem.” Google and Microsoft make a lot of money from search, so they’ll want to keep incentivizing web publishers to provide new, high-quality material for people and chatbots to learn from.
The search engine was an improvement over webrings, but nothing lasts forever. AI-powered chatbots have only been available for five months, but they show great potential for a variety of application scenarios. The fastest internet search results are one of them.
Survey people already prefer chatbots over search engines. Chatbot producers will decide how to design their interfaces and generate money while attracting more users. As generative AI becomes more widespread, it will affect the new internet experience and content monetization.