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The future of content: chatbots and the overflow of generic information

Have you ever accidentally lost an hour of your day to chatting with a chatbot? I recently had this experience with #ChatGPT and it was almost magical. But as amazing as it was, I can't help but worry about the potential consequences.

The overflow

As more and more people discover the power of chatbots, there is a risk of an overflow of generic content on the internet. This flood of cookie-cutter information could make it difficult for people to find trustworthy sources of information. In a world where trust is already at a premium, this could be a major problem.

A sketch of a robot quoting some unreadable text
An image generated by an AI (DALL-E 2) about this blog post - this took me about 2 minutes to generate.

A potential solution: webrings

But there may be a solution. In the past, we had something called webrings – a closed linked list of websites that were connected by ads. This concept, or something like it, could become useful again in helping people filter through the overwhelming amount of information available online.

Another interesting aspect is that webrings were made redundant by search engines like google, but that - as we will now be able to generate more content than ever -, search engines might become redundant and things like webrings might become the shiny new thing again...

The odd thing is that, according to wikipedia, webrings were a thing about 25 years ago - which oddly seems to match the Kondratieff timeframe.

The Kondratieff wave is a theory that proposes that the economy goes through long-term cycles of growth and decline, lasting approximately 50-60 years. The theory was developed by Russian economist Nikolai Kondratieff in the 1920s and is based on the observation of long-term price movements. The curve is divided into four phases:

  • Expansion phase: The economy grows and innovation flourishes, leading to increased productivity and rising living standards;

  • Peak phase: Emerging overproduction and declining profit margins;

  • Contraction phase: The economy experiences a recession and a decline in living standards;

  • Through phase: This marks the end of the cycle, as the economy begins to recover and start the expansion phase again.

A sinusoidal like timeline starting in the 1800s up till the 2000s
A random image from the internet explaining the cycles

It is my experience that we see a lot of this patterns emerging in history all the time, and that you can somewhat try to predict the future using these patterns. In fact, I gave a talk about it - in Dutch - for one of my consulting clients in the past...

In closing

Chatbots may be magical, but they could also lead to a lack of trust in the information we consume. Don't give in, but try to be a source of authenticity and reliability in a world of generic content.


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