Who's going to pay for Bing AI Chat stealing traffic from websites?
The recent development of Bing's AI-powered chat feature is a major step forward for the search engine, but it raises serious concerns about the future of content creation on the internet. The feature, which utilizes AI to scrape information from the web and respond to questions with long-form answers, has the potential to greatly benefit users, but it could also spell trouble for content creators.
In the current digital landscape, traffic is the lifeblood of websites, as it translates into ad revenue and other forms of compensation. By presenting users with all the information they need right in the chat feature, Bing's AI could divert much-needed traffic away from the sites where the information originally comes from, reducing the sustainability of these sites.
These issues are not new, and in fact, Google has already faced similar problems with link attribution in the past. In 2019, the EU passed a law that requires Google to only display the headlines and names of press publications in its search results, with the content publishers themselves having the option to display a snippet of an article. This change came about as a result of news outlets in France seeking compensation for clicks that Google was diverting away from their sites.
In 2021, Facebook and Google have paid a total of approximately AUD 200 million to Australian media companies in the last year. This comes as a result of a new regulation in Australia that requires technology platforms to negotiate payments with the media industry, which was introduced after a dispute between Google and the country's consumer watchdog. Since then, over 30 agreements have been reached between media organizations and tech giants.
Furthermore, AI-generated content has already faced legal challenges, with Midjourney and Stable Diffusion being sued for copyright violations. It's not a stretch to imagine that big online publishers will follow suit if AI-powered search engines continue to scrape their content without compensation.
So, what can be done to address these concerns? One solution could be for AI-powered search engines to pay royalties or some form of compensation for the content they use. However, there has been no indication from either Microsoft or Google that they are interested in taking this route.
As the use of AI-powered search engines continues to grow, it is vital that we find a solution that compensates content creators while still providing users with the best possible experience. In the end, search engines won't be especially useful without access to new information and content.