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Get ready to relearn how to use the internet

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This year has brought a lot of innovation in AI, which I’ve tried to keep up with, but too many people still don’t appreciate the importance of what’s to come. I usually hear comments like, “Those are great images, the graphic designers will work on them” or “GPT-3 is great, it will be easier to cheat on term papers.” And then they end up saying, “But it won’t change my life.”

This view is likely to be disproven and soon, as AI is about to revolutionize our entire information architecture. You will have to relearn how to use the Internet.

The basic architecture of the consumer internet hasn’t changed much in the past 10 years. Facebook, Google and Twitter remain recognizable versions of themselves. The browser retains its central role. Video has become more and more important, but this hardly represents a big change in the way things work.

Change is coming. Consider Twitter, which I use every morning to gather information about the world. In less than two years, maybe I’ll talk to my computer, outline my topics of interest, and someone’s version of AI will give me back a kind of Twitter remix, in a readable format adapted to my needs.

The artificial intelligence will also not only be reactive but active. Maybe he’ll tell me, “You really need to read about Russia and the changes in UK government today.” Or I could say, “More serendipity today, please,” and that wish would be granted.

I might even ask, “What are my friends up to?” and I would receive a useful summary of web services and social media. Or I could ask the AI ​​for content in a variety of foreign languages, all translated flawlessly. Quite often you won’t be using Google, you’ll just ask the AI ​​your question and get an answer, in audio form for your commute if you like. If your friends were particularly interested in certain video clips or news passages, they are more likely to be sent to you.

In short, many of today’s basic Internet services will be intermediated by artificial intelligence. This will create a fundamentally new type of user experience.

The underlying services are unlikely to fade away. People will continue to Google things, and people will continue to read and write on their Facebook pages. But more will move directly to the AI ​​aggregator. This dynamic is already in place: When was the last time you asked Google for directions? They exist online, of course, but if you’re like me, you use Google Maps and GPS directly. You have effectively switched to the information aggregator.

Or consider blogs, which probably peaked between 2001 and 2012. Then Twitter and Facebook became aggregators of blog content. Blogs are still numerous, but many people access them directly through aggregators. Now that process will take another step, because the current aggregators will themselves be aggregated and organized, by superintelligent forms of artificial intelligence.

The world of ideas will be turned upside down. Many public intellectuals excel at promoting themselves on Twitter and other social media, and these opportunities may be diminishing. There will be a new skill – promoting yourself to AI – of a still unknown nature.

It remains to be seen how AIs will choose and credit the underlying content and what types of packages users will prefer (with or without author photos?). To the extent that users just want an answer, other intermediaries will be displaced. Why would a think tank bother to produce a policy report, if it will be added to what are essentially briefings with no explicit sources? Overall, those who are happy to produce content with little credit, such as Wikipedia’s editors, can gain influence.

And what about the competition within the AI ​​itself? A dominant AI is more likely to cite underlying sources, to ensure content generation continues and to preserve a healthy information ecosystem for it to be harvested. In a more competitive AI industry, by contrast, there is a danger of cannibalizing content but not updating it with due merit, as a free rider problem could arise.

Another question is who will reap the benefits of these innovations: the new AI companies, the old major tech companies, or the internet users? It’s too early to know, but some analysts are optimistic about new AI companies.

Of course, all of this is just one man’s opinion. If you don’t agree, in a few years you can ask the new AI engines what they think.

More from Bloomberg’s opinion:

• Google’s AI videos point to a machine-generated future: Parmy Olson

• Drug discovery is about to get faster. Thanks AI: Lisa Jarvis

• Artificial intelligence analyzed my script. Can it rock Hollywood?: Trung Phan

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or of Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Tyler Cowen is a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion. He is a professor of economics at George Mason University and writes for the Marginal Revolution blog. He is co-author of “Talent: How to Identify Energizers, Creatives, and Winners Around the World.”

More stories like this can be found at bloomberg.com/opinion