Obligatory: the views and opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not represent the views and opinions of my employer.
In light of all the hype going around about ChatGPT, I wanted to offer my “hot take” on what the next 2-5 years of the web look like.
One aspect of the rise of generative models that isn’t getting the right amount of attention is the long-term effects on the information economy. I think that being able to automatically produce arbitrary content that is indistinguishable from human-generated content at scale is the death knell of the web as we know it.
As we speak, thousands of small businesses are being started up with the sole purpose of exploiting ChatGPT as a “SEO expert”. It is being used to write websites, social media posts and reviews to promote products and businesses.
For the last decade, this job has been tasked to content farms in poorer areas of the world. The work done in these places has been slowly rotting away the value system that Google and Amazon (among others) relied upon: that information you find on the internet is truthful and aligned with your interests. Now that GPT has entered the scene, the work of these content farms is about to accelerate. ChatGPT produces better “fake” content faster and cheaper than the best content farm. A lot faster. So fast that I suspect that what took these SEO mills a decade to produce will be repeated in less than a year.