There’s been some interesting feedback on the past few articles, about the worrying prospect of AI-powered search providing us with supplier recommendations. A former colleague, who’s much wiser than me, wrote to say:
“This developing series of articles is very interesting. I wonder if there is a parallel with the music industry and how it discriminates against smaller businesses (in that case, minority artists)?
“You’ll remember how difficult it used to be to find LPs by lesser artists in record stores. Now it is all online streaming, but it is still hard to find minority artists – they are there, but unless you know them already, how do you find out about them? All the ‘search assistants’ are geared towards promoting the artists who are top of the tree already.
“Information overload attacking us from all directions means there is even less time to search!
“I’m thinking that it is going to be even harder now to find a specialist, niche supplier and it is the top 10 who will get even stronger, even in areas where they are not necessarily the optimal choice. Therefore, the smaller suppliers will have a greater struggle to survive.
“I could draw some parallels in sports as well, but I’ll stop there!”
This nails one of the problems we’re going to face. What if there’s a readily-available list of general-purpose widget manufacturers online, but not one for the subcategory of blue widgets? If we ask the chat search to recommend blue widget suppliers, will it default to the list of general-purpose widget suppliers …which most likely won’t include any of the specialist blue widget suppliers we probably need?
And if so, will it tell us what it’s done?