Why ChatGPT's Impact Will Be Bigger Than the Web Browser, Smartphone and Search Engine
I have been working In the “new media'' field for more than three decades. Over those years, there have been four times I’ve seen technology that -- from the moment I saw it -- made clear it would fundamentally change the way we live and work.
The first was the Mosaic browser in 1993, a free browser client that made the World Wide Web a reality and accessible to all. The second was the Nokia 9000 Communicator, a clamshell mobile phone with a full screen, web browser and integrated email service I saw demoed by a Finnish newspaper publisher at a conference in Europe in 1996. This was the first true smartphone, many years before the iPhone.
Also in 1996, a friend showed me a web crawler and search technology for online job listings called Junglee that was both simpler and dramatically more powerful than any “search engine” existing at the time. Junglee was a key inspiration in the founding of Google (Larry Page and Sergey Brin were students/advisees of Junglee’s Stanford CompSci grad student founders), and acquired by Amazon in 1998 as a price-comparison shopper.
It’s been almost 27 years, but I’ve now seen the fourth: ChatGPT, the AI-powered chatbot that is taking the tech world by storm, and which caused the CEO of Google last month to declare “Code Red,” telling the entire company that their entire search business is now at risk.
Over the past 24 hours, I’ve asked ChatGPT to draft press releases. In all of ten seconds each to type requests, I’ve had it generate press releases better than we’ve ever written on our own. I’ve had it create pitches, financial analyses of public companies, legally tight privacy policies, executive bios and explainers designed to describe complex technology solutions to eight-year-olds (which was super-cool).
None of the requests took more than dozens of seconds to construct, and none of the outputs took more than 20 or 30 seconds to generate.
At my company's most recent weekly All Hands meeting, I told all of our employees that from that day forward, all of their jobs are going to change through AI bots. Do I think that AI tools will have a bigger impact on how we live and work than the browser, smartphone or search engine?
Simply: Yes, I do.
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An earlier version of this blog was originally published by MediaPost.