Should you block out AI?

Did you know you can prevent AI bots like Chat GPT from using information on your website to provide generated answers? The question is, should you?

These days, when you bring up the topic of generative AI like Chat GPT, people fall firmly into two camps. Either they:

  • Are genuinely excited about the possibilities, are experimenting with it in both their personal and professional lives, and are eagerly awaiting the next update. Or;
  • They don’t want a bar of Chat GPT at all. They actively promote that they don’t use Chat GPT in any of their marketing or business. Sometimes they’re apprehensive or actually fearful of the consequences of generative AI becoming even more mainstream.

    Here’s the thing. Whichever camp you fall into - Whether or not you’re using generative AI, generative AI is learning from you.
Artificial Intelligence Chat GPT

How is AI learning from me?

What do we mean by that?

If you have any kind of digital footprint, you’re playing a part in ‘teaching’ generative AI.

So if you’ve got a website, any public facing social media, you publish articles, leave reviews… basically if you upload anything to the internet, AI is ‘reading’ and ‘learning’ from it.

What is 'Generative AI?

Quick pause. AI means ‘artificial intelligence.’ You probably knew that. These days ‘AI’ is a catch-all term that covers  A LOT of ground. For example, the facial recognition that unlocks your phone? AI. The ‘suggestion’ when you’re online shopping that says “customers who bought X also bought Y”? AI. Artificial intelligence covers all of these areas and more.

So when we mention ‘generative AI,’ we’re specifically talking about the likes of Bard, Chat GPT, or DALL-E 2, where typing in a question provides you with some kind of unique answer.

If you want to dive deeper into generative AI like Chat GPT and how it all works, we cover that in another article

Back to the issue at hand. These generative AI bots are scouring all of the information being uploaded to the internet, so when you give it a command like, “Write a one page summary of the book ‘War and Peace’”, or “Explain the basics of particle physics like I’m a 10 year old” (seriously, we recommend you try both of these), you get an answer.

It ‘knows’ how to answer your command because it’s ‘read’ published articles, books, websites, and all sorts about those topics and it can organize that information based on the context you’ve provided. For example “one page summary” or “like “I’m a 10 year old”.


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Is Teaching Generative AI a Good Thing?

Well that answer depends. If you ask generative AI to cite sources for information, it can...

But only if you ask it to.

This comes back to a question one of our partners raised with us.

They have a lot of proprietary information on their website. Extensive information they’ve gathered from their own experiences. Ultimately, they want you to type your problem into Google, who refers you to their website. After reading about the issue, you buy one of their products to help you solve the problem. Fair enough.

But what happens if your preferred search engine is Chat GPT? And it’s able to use your information to educate that person without providing proper credit, and then recommends either a generic or inferior product to solve the problem. That hardly seems fair. You’ve gone to the trouble of educating Chat GPT for them to potentially not refer you the sale. 

In this case, our Development team can introduce software to your website that blocks generative AI from ‘reading’ it. This is already being done by many major news outlets, who would prefer you get the news from its original source. Many ecommerce websites are also blocking AI ‘crawlers’ because they want to keep their product descriptions unique and not so easily replicated.

Great! Sounds like the problem is solved

Well… not necessarily. A blanket ban on bots crawling your website could mean you miss out on vital SEO indexing. In other words, if Google’s bots can’t see what your website is about, you will stop showing up in search results. It goes to show this isn’t a simple DIY fix you should attempt on your own website. It’s best to have a chat with the TimeZoneOne Development team first.

But wait, there’s more.

People are trusting generative AI a lot more in the tourism space. For example, “What are the must-do winter activities in Chicago?” or “Plan a three day itinerary within New Zealand’s South Island, starting in Christchurch and ending in Dunedin.” These plans may not be trusted as the 100% gospel truth, but research shows that AI is proving a useful starting point for many people planning their holiday.

If you’re a tourism-based business, a destination, or an attraction, if you’re blocking AI bots or you don’t have an optimized web presence, you will miss out on future visitors. After all, whether someone books with your experience, attraction or experience based on a travel influencer, online review, your own social media, or generated AI suggestion, a win is a win, right?

Generative AI and Google?

Let’s take this one step further.

Bard is Google’s generative AI chat bot. In the not so distant future, Google is looking to ‘shake up’ how it presents answers to search queries by including statements or summaries from Bard.

For example, Googling “Where are the best places to eat on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile?” could first provide you with an AI generated summary, and then recommend links to relevant websites. 

Has This Changed Your Opinion of AI?

Whichever of the two camps from the beginning of this article that you belong to, this has all probably just confirmed your feelings about generative AI. Whether you’re an adopter or an avoider, it’s clear that AI is going to continue to learn from you. So what actions are you going to take next? 

If you want to protect your proprietary information, contact our Development team. We can help prevent the AI bots from ‘reading’ your website while still making sure the search engines can accurately do their job. 

On the other hand, accurate, quality, up-to-date information - the kind that inspires both generative AI and real people alike, is going to play an even bigger role as search engines like Google bring technology like Bard into their user experience. If you want to be showing up in the right places, our Digital and Content teams can help you get there.

Either way, doing nothing simply isn’t an option any more.

Do you want to protect the content on your website? Or do you want to make sure it's found more easily by AI bots?
Either way, let’s talk.

Contact Us

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