Gmail creator predicts A.I. bots like ChatGPT will destroy search engines within 2 years

February 1, 2023, 12:40 PM UTC
Business people use internet for information and browsing information network concept
Search engines like Google and Bing are already turning their focus to developments in A.I.
Surasak Suwanmake—Getty Images

A.I. chatbots such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT could make typical search engines obsolete within two years, according to Gmail creator Paul Buchheit.

Buchheit explained in a Twitter thread that he predicts the future of web search as we know it right now could be completely upended by 2025. In his words, we’re only “a year or two away from total disruption.” 

The computer engineer and entrepreneur clarified that it might not be ChatGPT itself that takes over, but that A.I. as a whole is certainly set to drive the Google model into the ground. Unless, that is, such companies adapt. 

Buchheit added his predictions for exactly how he thought such developments would go. First: “The URL/Search bar of the browser gets replaced with AI that autocompletes my thought/question as I type it while also providing the best answer (which may be a link to a website or product).” 

He added that “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.” 

Buchheit compared it to the decline in use of the yellow pages, which was once the go-to directory for businesses and contact details but was replaced by Google. 

Change is already happening

The former Google developer pointed out that the ubiquitous search engine is so shaken by the chatbot’s success, especially since that search page is where websites such as Google make most of their money, that it now has over 20 different A.I. projects in the works.

In December, it was reported that Google had issued a “code red,” and since then Google has already launched an A.I. tool that transforms hums into actual music

“Whoa, this is bigger than ChatGPT to me. Google almost solved music generation, I’d say,” tweeted Keunwoo Choi, an A.I. scientist at Gaudio Lab, an A.I. audio technology company. 

Google isn’t the only tech giant thinking about this—OpenAI has also struck a deal with Microsoft that will see ChatGPT incorporated into the Bing search engine. 

It appears Buchheit’s predictions are already starting to come true.  

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