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AI Startup Perplexity Aims to Disrupt Search Business, Faces Backlash from Forbes

Perplexity AI seeks to compete with Google in the search sector, but news media businesses have expressed concerns. Forbes reacted negatively after the firm released summaries of news stories without proper acknowledgment. Perplexity's offering reportedly included forged quotes, raising questions about the veracity of its content.

 artificial intelligence
Credit: AP Photo

However, the company's AI-powered search chatbot is already facing challenges, with news media businesses objecting to its commercial tactics. Furthermore, Perplexity faces intense competition from digital behemoths such as Google and Apple, which are adding similar AI features into their flagship products.

Aravind Srinivas, CEO of Perplexity, has defended the company after it released a condensed news item that closely mirrored a Forbes investigative piece, but without proper acknowledgment or authorization from the media organisation. Forbes also identified similar "knock-off" stories in other newspapers. The Associated Press also discovered that Perplexity's offering contained bogus comments from genuine people, including a former elected town official who was misquoted about marijuana on Martha's Vineyard.

According to Srinivas, Perplexity's goal is to develop favourable relationships with news publishers in order to ensure that their information is distributed widely. He believes that the corporation aggregates information rather than training its AI engine on other people's stuff. However, he accepted Forbes' criticism about the need for more conspicuous source acknowledgment and implemented quick improvements to meet this problem.

In addition, Perplexity has revealed its intention to establish revenue-sharing partnerships with news publishers. Under these partnerships, publishers would receive a portion of Perplexity's advertising revenue each time their content is referenced as a source.

The dispute between Perplexity and Forbes has been described as an "inflection point" in the conversation about AI by Randall Lane, chief content officer of Forbes Media. Lane emphasised the importance of respecting the hard work of proprietary reporting and the potential consequences if those controlling AI fail to do so.

Srinivas, a computer scientist and former AI researcher at OpenAI and Google, co-founded Perplexity in 2022. He views Perplexity as a search engine that combines the finest features of Wikipedia and ChatGPT, offering consumers quick answers and clean sources without the clutter of traditional search results.

While Perplexity has grown rapidly, with over 85 million site views in May, it still falls behind established platforms such as ChatGPT in terms of user numbers. The Perplexity discussion illustrates the issues that online content creators and journalists face in an aggregator-driven world. The use of AI as a synthesising tool calls into question the future of creative content, as well as the necessity for protections and best practices.

  • Perplexity AI aims to challenge Google in the search business, but faces objections from news media companies.

  • The company published summarised news stories without proper attribution, leading to backlash from Forbes.

  • Perplexity's product also featured fabricated quotes, raising concerns about the accuracy of its content.

Source: AP NEWS

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