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The Chatbots Are Here, and the Internet Industry Is in a Tizzy

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The volatility of chatbots has made it impossible to predict their impact. The result is an industry gripped with the question: What do we do now?

Credit: Anthony Gerace

When Aaron Levie, the chief executive of Box, tried a new A.I. chatbot called ChatGPT in early December, it didn't take him long to declare, "We need people on this!"

He cleared his calendar and asked employees to figure out how the technology, which instantly provides comprehensive answers to complex questions, could benefit Box, a cloud computing company that sells services that help businesses manage their online data.

Mr. Levie's reaction to ChatGPT was typical of the anxiety — and excitement — over Silicon Valley's new new thing. Chatbots have ignited a scramble to determine whether their technology could upend the economics of the internet, turn today's powerhouses into has-beens or create the industry's next giants.

Not since the iPhone has the belief that a new technology could change the industry run so deep. Cloud computing companies are rushing to deliver chatbot tools, even as they worry that the technology will gut other parts of their businesses. E-commerce outfits are dreaming of new ways to sell things. Social media platforms are being flooded with posts written by bots. And publishing companies are fretting that even more dollars will be squeezed out of digital advertising.

From The New York Times
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