Artificial Intelligence Enabled Search Engines (AIESE) and the Implications

Artificial Intelligence Enabled Search Engines (AIESE) and the Implications

Faruk Karaman (Gedik University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0330-1.ch019
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Abstract

Search engines are the major means of information retrieval over the Internet. People’s dependence on them increases over time as SEs introduce new and sophisticated technologies. The developments in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) will transform the current search engines Artificial Intelligence Enabled Search Engines (AIESE). Search engines already play a critical role in classifying, sorting and delivering the information over the Internet. However, as Internet’s mainstream role becomes more apparent and AI technology increases the sophistication of the tools of the SEs, their roles will become much more critical. Since, the future of search engines are examined, the technological singularity concept is analyzed in detail. Second and third order indirect side effects are analyzed. A four-stage evolution-model is suggested.
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Introduction

Undoubtedly, search engines are among the major enablers of the Internet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_search_engine). Without them, the Internet revolution would not exist (Hartman, Sifonis, & Kador, 1999). Search engines classify and order the online information. The source of the indexed information has so far been the human intelligence. However, increasingly human being uses non-biological intelligence including computers (Kurzweil, 1999).

In the future, the exponential growth will even accelerate, since non-biological intelligence will catch up the human intelligence (Kurzweil, 2005). Therefore, search engines will be forced to deal with much more information. Most probably, new search algorithms and approaches will be requires.

The search engine of the future will utilize artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, so they can be called artificial intelligence enabled search engines (AIESE). AI is already in use by the search engines. However, the AI itself will develop, and the SEs will be among the first to benefit from (Richards, 2002).

In the future, SE customization and personalization is likely to reach to such a point that, almost every customer delivered unique results. Although, this helps the user in reaching the results desired, this will also mean different views of the world by different Internet users (Figure 2).

Figure 2.

Different singularity points of different observers

The most catastrophic consequence may be disintegration of knowledge since the Internet is becoming the mainstream information distribution medium. This will also mean that the search engine companies will have the power to control the information delivery and may even deliver different search results for the same search keyword combination. The risk is really high and the necessary precautions should be taken now.

In less democratic countries, government-affiliated AI-enabled national search engines can be introduced and these engines can control the access to the information at the individual level. Assume that person A is critical of the government at that country and the national AIESE will limit his/her access to the information. In the information age, limiting the access to the information is almost equivalent of limiting the physical freedom of a person. His/her power will be diminished by the delivery of limited information. Worse than that, the government can even use the national AIESE as a powerful tool of disinformation.

A more subtle risk is a philosophical one. Even in the case the all AIESEs national or global level do not distract the knowledge and just filter and organize it, they indeed change the original information since the classification of knowledge is itself a knowledge. If AIESEs apply different filtering and classification for different persons, they each person will see only a part of the whole information and each see the meta-information the AIESE delivered. A careful reader may point that there is already disintegration of knowledge among individuals each having different backgrounds. However, delivering AI-enabled customized search results will deepen the disintegration.

Even at the current level of AI, the search engine companies play a significant role over the access to the Information. They can choose not see a particular content and they do not add it to their search results very few people will access it. For the time being, there seems to be little concern about their power even in the academia. However, as the AI advances, their power may become a more serious problem.

Another related issue is the business model of the search engines. Most of the popular search engines are free. Their revenue is from ads search-engine optimization (SEO) tools (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization). This actually presents a risk for the user. The results presented to the user are affected from the business model of the company and this puts the quality of search results at risk.

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