ChatGPT Will Not Replace Google After All

Nor Software Developers, for That Matter


2 min read

I recently encountered the most apt description of ChatGPT I've seen thus far, which I'll paraphrase loosely (sorry, I can't find the original article anymore but please do notify me if you do): "It excels at crafting answers that sound convincing, regardless of their accuracy." ChatGPT composes seemingly credible sentences, some of which may be factually correct, but this seems more coincidental than intentional.

Here's a sample: This conversation is technical, but allow me to summarize...

I detailed my requirements, and it suggested a solution that implements an include parameter. Spent quite some time trying to search where in the official ElasticSearch documentation or the web the include object is discussed, only to learn that it does not exist at all (at least not in the form and use case that ChatGPT suggested).

Then it suggested using join datatype instead, which also went against my requirements. What I required was a way to cross-reference between two separate indices, but join can only be used within a single index. Of course, it apologized again.

Its final reply is something I already knew beforehand. I was just trying to check if there was a better way to do it that won't require me to send two or more requests to the system, but as it turns out, it might not be possible... at least not within the bounds of ChatGPT's training data.

If there was a reason to doubt the claim that AI will replace software devs and other similar professionals soon, this is it. (Aside from the fact that AI is essentially mathematical trial-and-error-on-turbo under the hood.) AI is still very far from sentience, and I, for one, doubt it'll ever come close. ChatGPT is very useful, but I was wrong in my original assumption that it replaces Google for searching for factual knowledge. Its use case is way less than that.

As for the use cases that it serves, it does so very well. Like getting you started on a draft for your presentation, ironing out a speech you have to deliver, etc. It's something you can exchange thoughts with via a conversation to get your mental gears grinding, much like how we do rubber duck debugging as devs: some of us talk to a literal rubber duck about our bugs. At least ChatGPT talks back.

ChatGPT has its limitations and cannot replace Google for factual knowledge searches. However, it excels in tasks like drafting presentations and stimulating creative thinking. While AI may not be close to sentience, it can still be a valuable tool for professionals in various fields.