Cory Doctorow famously coined the term “enshittification”, to describe the process by which online platforms – from a combination of apathy and cynicism – tended to start out useful and then eventually become cesspools of awfulness.
Gary Marcus observes the way that the muckspreaders that are LLMs have gone from covering the internet in a light spray to a gushing torrent. Search engines, social platforms, digital goods; all are becoming less and less useful as they digest and regurgitate incorrect, AI-generated information.
“Cesspools of automatically-generated fake websites, rather than ChatGPT search, may ultimately come to be the single biggest threat that Google ever faces. After all, if users are left sifting through sewers full of useless misinformation, the value of search would go to zero – potentially killing the company.
“For the company that invented Transformers – the major technical advance underlying the large language model revolution – that would be a strange irony indeed.”
Related: Maggie Harrison’s recent “When AI is trained on AI-generated data, strange things start to happen”.