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ChatGPT – Consider asking a question in a post-Google-Ad world

Occasionally some tech really is NEW! At the end of November, the tech world figuratively-speaking fell over when the staggeringly well-funded AI tool, ChatGPT, was launched by OpenAI, its sponsor and creator. Within five days, a million were giving the tool a try – and who knows how many by now (six weeks later, perhaps more powerful servers are required). Trying to understand the utility of an AI tool that knows so much about so much, some bloggers like Margaret Manning are very excited at the possibilities. And some of the ‘best’ examples are posted. Sites are emerging that aggregate and update ChatGPT prompts by category.  Consider that ChatGPT’s data sets were loaded as of 2021 – so the newest information isn’t there, at least for now. It also provides charming but incorrect answers to many questions and has been ‘banned’ temporarily from some sites.  Bah, humbug.

But what if there is a real possibility to help families and older adults with ChatGPT? So why not consider asking it a question and then submitting the same question to Google?  For example, asking ChatGPT “how is a nursing home paid for”, the answer was detailed and accurate about the six ways to pay for the care (see below). Then ask Google the same question: multiple (different) answers, first three provided by Ad sponsors, leading with A Place for Mom, the business that is paid to help find care.  Which is more useful to the person asking the question about payment?

Google’s business model is to sell ads, which itself is an information-distorting premise. Our expectations about search today are very low. Who isn’t used to the search results beginning with Ad-sponsors? Interestingly Google, according to the New York Times, is worried enough about ChatGPT to redirect its developers to ‘do something’, aka ‘Code Red.’ (One wonders what insider called the New York Times with this info?) But the possibility that Google’s $200+ billion ad revenue business could be disrupted by an AI chatbot, would likely strike fear -- maybe it will start a few chatbot projects back up.

Ask about the early signs of dementia – seriously, ad-sponsored answers?  Consider these answers and wonder how we got here – that the first ad is from Lilly, with a vested interest in the definition as well as the searcher contacting a doctor. Note their work on developing an Alzheimer’s drug. This isn’t malevolent on their part – it is simply good business.  How else will the end user know anything about their research if the ad wasn’t there?  The ChatGPT answer is also below.

The nursing home payment options answer from ChatGPT.

  1. Private pay: This means paying for the nursing home out of pocket, using personal savings, investments, or income from a pension or Social Security.
  2. Long-term care insurance: If you have long-term care insurance, it may cover some or all of the costs of a nursing home.
  3. Medicaid: Medicaid is a government program that provides health insurance for people with low income and assets. If you meet the eligibility requirements, Medicaid may pay for your nursing home stay.
  4. Medicare: Medicare is a government health insurance program for people over 65 and for certain younger people with disabilities. Medicare does not generally pay for long-term care in a nursing home, but it may cover a limited stay in a nursing home under certain circumstances, such as after a hospitalization.
  5. VA benefits: If you are a veteran, you may be able to get financial assistance to pay for a nursing home through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
  6. Reverse mortgage: If you own your own home and have a reverse mortgage, you may be able to use some of the equity in your home to pay for a nursing home.


Signs of dementia answer from ChatGPT:

Dementia is a term used to describe a decline in cognitive function, including memory, language, and problem-solving abilities. The most common signs of dementia are:

  1. Memory loss, especially forgetting recently learned information or important dates or events
  2. Difficulty with language, such as forgetting words or using the wrong words
  3. Disorientation, including getting lost in familiar places or not knowing the time or place
  4. Difficulty with problem-solving and planning
  5. Difficulty with coordination and motor functions
  6. Changes in mood and personality
  7. Loss of interest in hobbies and activities

It's important to note that these symptoms can also be caused by other factors, such as depression, stress, or certain medications. If you are concerned about your cognitive function, it's important to see a doctor for a proper evaluation.





The recent launch of ChatGPT, an AI tool developed by OpenAI, has garnered a lot of attention in the tech world. Within just a few days of its release, millions of people had already tried out the tool, which has the ability to provide detailed and accurate answers to a wide range of questions. While some have praised ChatGPT for its impressive capabilities, others have pointed out that it can sometimes provide incorrect answers and has even been temporarily banned from some sites.

Despite these limitations, ChatGPT has the potential to be a valuable resource for families and older adults. One way to get the most out of the tool is to compare its answers to those provided by Google. For example, if you ask ChatGPT "how is a nursing home paid for," it will provide a comprehensive and accurate list of the six ways to pay for care. In contrast, a Google search for the same question will likely include sponsored ads as the first few results, which may not always be as relevant or useful to the person seeking information.

Google's business model is built on selling ads, which can potentially distort the information provided in search results. It's not uncommon for search results to prioritize sponsored ads over more relevant or accurate information. However, ChatGPT's success has reportedly caused Google to redirect its developers to "do something," leading some to speculate that the company is worried about the potential disruption to its $200 billion ad revenue business.

When seeking information about important topics such as the early signs of dementia, it's important to be aware of the potential bias or vested interests of the sources providing the information. For instance, a Google search for this topic may include sponsored ads from pharmaceutical companies with a stake in the definition and treatment of dementia. While these ads may provide valuable information, it's important to consider the source and evaluate the information carefully. In contrast, ChatGPT's answer may be more objective and comprehensive.

Definitely think the recent breakthrough in the power and usability of LLMs signals a paradigm shift in “search.” Bret Kinsella has addressed this topic in some of his recent posts. And Stefano Selorio has even hatched an idea to leverage a LLM to provide older adults with an easy way to get answers about technology, an idea you mentioned yourself in previous posts Laurie Orlov! I think we’ll see some interesting products and services. But those who thrive off the ads-based revenue model may not give up so easily! If we’re now going to have access to all the info we need with no ads, what will be the new revenue model? Hmmm.

Aloha Laurie, perhaps its not that search engines went to ads to fund their operations, but more about the extent that they have collected and arguably abused the data they collect. Most users have no idea what the search engines and social media giants have collected, or how they use it. In any case, you make some good points, as usual.

There are many ways for older adults to learn about new technology. Some suggestions include:

Taking a class or workshop: Many community centers, libraries, and adult education programs offer classes on technology topics specifically geared towards older adults.

Asking a friend or family member: If you have a friend or family member who is comfortable with technology, consider asking them to show you the basics or help you learn more about a specific topic.

Using online resources: There are many online resources, such as tutorials and video courses, that can help you learn about technology at your own pace.

Seeking assistance at a retail store: Many electronics stores offer classes or have employees who can answer questions and provide assistance.

Enrolling in a program for seniors: Some organizations, such as the AARP, offer technology programs specifically for seniors.

Overall, the best way for an older adult to learn about new technology will depend on their individual learning style and needs. It may be helpful to try a few different methods to see what works best.