Ads have come to AI chatbots. What does it mean? What does any of it mean?

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Ads have come to AI chatbots. What does it mean? What does any of it mean?

Bing’s AI-generated answers now include ads (@debarghya_das / Twitter)

AS I PREDICTED from day 1, ads have come to ChatGPT.

— Well, sort of.

— Technically, it’s Microsoft’s Bing search engine —which is powered by the same tech that powers ChatGPT— that has started serving up ads.

— I called this last year, when people were predicting AI chatbots would “end” Google.

I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND that argument, mostly because monetizing AI chatbot conversations seems pretty simple:

— 1. Sell the rights to sponsor certain queries to advertisers.

— 2. Ask those advertisers for the language they want you to display.

— 3. Sprinkle that language in with your chatbot’s “natural responses” when it serves its users answers!

— Just like Google Ads today, the advertiser gets the “impression” for free, and only pays when the ad language is clicked on.

— Simple, right?

WELL, APPARENTLY, BING ads have some “comprehension issues.”

— Like, in the case pictured above, it’s not exactly clear who’s doing the advertising (“TrueCar”?), and what exactly they’re advertising.

THAT DOESN’T MATTER. Those issues will sort themselves out, and soon.

— The larger point is that “The Deal,” as it always would have done, is finding its way into the very newest media platforms.

— (The Deal is my nickname for the advertising-supported business model, and it goes something like this: “show me what I want for free and in exchange I’ll look at an ad every now and then.”)

SIDEBAR: BELIEVE IT or not, advertising can —and should— be a force for good. (Really!)

— For instance, good advertising creative executions make people happy.

— Example: millions look forward to the Super Bowl for the ads alone.

BUT THERE’S MORE to it than that.

— Advertisers professionalize the content they sponsor.

— This makes logical sense. After all, advertisers won’t stick around if the content is wrong, or really off putting.

— In this way, big advertisers will play a powerful role in helping ensure Bing Chat stays both civil and accurate, something early versions of generative AI have actually struggled with.

OK, SO WHAT does this all mean?

— Well, zoom out: ads have societal benefits too.

— Selling advertising can allow media firms to offer services and content at lower, or even no cost.

— Do you ever stop and think for a second how remarkable it is that Google, Gmail, Google Maps, Google News, YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, TikTok, CapCut, Snapchat, plus countless major news and sports sites like CNN.com and ESPN.com, not to mention thousands and thousands of professionally produced podcasts and more, are all… completely and totally free?

— That’s the power of The Deal, and it is good for society in that it enables more people to access information, entertainment, and educational resources, which —theoretically, at least— contributes to a more informed and connected population.

— Bottom line: ads are coming to ChatGPT and similar, which should strengthen generative AI’s output, and widen the audience for it.

— At the same time, and contrary to many predictions, generative AI won’t kill search advertising.

— It will grow it.

— Good.


Microsoft’s Bing chatbot is getting more ads »»

Microsoft talks about its plans for ads inside Bing Chat responses »»

Written by Jon Kallus. Any feedback? Simply reply.

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