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Plagiarism Engine: Google’s Content-Swiping AI Could Break the Internet

Tom’s Hardware: “Search has always been the Internet’s most important utility. Before Google became dominant, there were many contenders for the search throne, from Altavista to Lycos, Excite, Zap, Yahoo (mainly as a directory) and even Ask Jeeves. The idea behind the World Wide Web is that there’s power in having a nearly infinite number of voices. But with millions of publications and billions of web pages, it would be impossible to find all the information you want without search. Google succeeded because it offered the best quality results, loaded quickly and had less cruft on the page than any of its competitors. Now, having taken over 91 percent of the search market, the company is testing a major change to its interface that replaces the chorus of Internet voices with its own robotic lounge singer. Instead of highlighting links to content from expert humans, the “Search Generative Experience” (SGE) uses an AI plagiarism engine that grabs facts and snippets of text from a variety of sites, cobbles them together (often word-for-word) and passes off the work as its creation. If Google makes SGE the default mode for search, the company will seriously damage if not destroy the open web while providing a horrible user experience. A couple of weeks ago, Google made SGE available to the public in a limited beta (you can sign up here). If you are in the beta program like I am, you will see what the company seems to have planned for the near future: a search results page where answers and advice from Google take up the entire first screen, and you have to scroll way below the fold to see the first organic search result…Even worse, the answers in Google’s SGE boxes are frequently plagiarized, often word-for-word, from the related links. Depending on what you search for, you may find a paragraph taken from just one source or get a whole bunch of sentences and factoids from different articles mashed together into a plagiarism stew…”

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