Gmail creator predicts total disruption for Google as chatbot ChatGPT challenges tech giant monopoly


One developer, Paul Buchheit, 45, who was behind Gmail believes Google’s time as the go-to site for search, may be limited with the arrival of ChatGPT which uses artificial intelligence

The computer developer who created Gmail is predicting search engine Google may only have a year or two left before ‘total disruption’ occurs following the release of a sophisticated chatbot that uses artificial intelligence (AI).

Last week ChatGPT was released by the OpenAI company which was started by Elon Musk in 2015. 

The AI has been able to write essays, compose lyrics for songs, make up stories, draft marketing pitches, write scripts, generate complaint letters and even write poetry.

The fluency and coherence of the results being generated now have those in Silicon Valley wondering about the future of Google’s monopoly. 

One developer, Paul Buchheit, 45, who was behind Gmail believes Google’s time as the go-to site for search, may be limited.

‘Google may be only a year or two away from total disruption. AI will eliminate the search engine result page, which is where they make most of their money,’ he tweeted.  ‘Even if they catch up on AI, they can’t fully deploy it without destroying the most valuable part of their business!’ he continued.    

The fluency and coherence of the results being generate now has those in Silicon Valley wondering about the future of Google's monopoly

The fluency and coherence of the results being generate now has those in Silicon Valley wondering about the future of Google’s monopoly

A sign is displayed outside Google's new Bay View campus in June, in Mountain View, California

A sign is displayed outside Google’s new Bay View campus in June, in Mountain View, California

'One thing that few people remember is the pre-internet business that Google killed: the Yellow Pages! The Yellow Pages used to be a great business, but then Google got so good that everyone stopped using the Yellow Pages. AI will do the same thing to web search,' Buchheit said

‘One thing that few people remember is the pre-internet business that Google killed: the Yellow Pages! The Yellow Pages used to be a great business, but then Google got so good that everyone stopped using the Yellow Pages. AI will do the same thing to web search,’ Buchheit said

Gmail developer Paul Buchheit in photos from his Instagram page. In some he's seen with his wife April

Gmail developer Paul Buchheit in photos from his Instagram page. In some he’s seen with his wife April

Google currently makes most of its money from advertisers paying to have their links displayed alongside the results of a search query result in the hope that a user clicks on them. 

‘The old search engine backend will be used by the AI to gather relevant information and links, which will then be summarized for the user. It’s like asking a professional human researcher to do the work, except the AI will instantly do what would take many minutes for a human,’ Bucheit explained. 

‘One thing that few people remember is the pre-internet business that Google killed: the Yellow Pages! The Yellow Pages used to be a great business, but then Google got so good that everyone stopped using the Yellow Pages. AI will do the same thing to web search,’ he said. 

Google is also in the market of developing its own AI and is researching conversational and voice search. The tech company bought DeepMind, an AI company, in order to further develop such areas.  

‘I do think that the biggest and most interesting thing to think about is how this will disrupt the search box. Is there an entirely new interface for search? Yes, that risks Google’s core search business,’ said David Friedberg, a former Google executive and entrepreneur, to the All-In podcast.

Twitter users were praising the capabilities of Chat GPT which can write essays, compose lyrics, make up stories, dream up stories, draft marketing pitches, write scripts, generate complaint letters and write poetry

Twitter users were praising the capabilities of Chat GPT which can write essays, compose lyrics, make up stories, dream up stories, draft marketing pitches, write scripts, generate complaint letters and write poetry

Some have suggested that school homework and exam coursework may more easily be written by a bot. 

‘What kid is ever doing homework again now that ChatGPT exists?’ tweeted Liv Boeree, a television presenter.

When ChatGPT was asked by The Times if it would ever likely replace Google search, it responded in a way that was both confident and contradictory.

‘It is unlikely that a single search engine, such as ChatGPT, could completely replace Google . . . ChatGPT and other advanced language models have the potential to offer unique capabilities and a more personalized user experience.

‘As a result, it could potentially replace traditional search engines like Google and become the go-to tool for accessing information on the internet.’

What is OpenAI’s chatbot ChatGPT and what is it used for? 

OpenAI states that their ChatGPT model, trained using a machine learning technique called Reinforcement Learning from Human Feedback (RLHF), can simulate dialogue, answer follow-up questions, admit mistakes, challenge incorrect premises and reject inappropriate requests.

Initial development involved human AI trainers providing the model with conversations in which they played both sides – the user and an AI assistant. The version of the bot available for public testing attempts to understand questions posed by users and responds with in-depth answers resembling human-written text in a conversational format.

A tool like ChatGPT could be used in real-world applications such as digital marketing, online content creation, answering customer service queries or as some users have found, even to help debug code.

The bot can respond to a large range of questions while imitating human speaking styles.

A tool like ChatGPT could be used in real-world applications such as digital marketing, online content creation, answering customer service queries or as some users have found, even to help debug code

A tool like ChatGPT could be used in real-world applications such as digital marketing, online content creation, answering customer service queries or as some users have found, even to help debug code

As with many AI-driven innovations, ChatGPT does not come without misgivings. OpenAI has acknowledged the tool´s tendency to respond with “plausible-sounding but incorrect or nonsensical answers”, an issue it considers challenging to fix.

AI technology can also perpetuate societal biases like those around race, gender and culture. Tech giants including Alphabet Inc’s Google and Amazon.com have previously acknowledged that some of their projects that experimented with AI were “ethically dicey” and had limitations. At several companies, humans had to step in and fix AI havoc.

Despite these concerns, AI research remains attractive. Venture capital investment in AI development and operations companies rose last year to nearly $13 billion, and $6 billion had poured in through October this year, according to data from PitchBook, a Seattle company tracking financings.



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