The Inevitable Clash

Our Interaction with Digital Platforms and the AI Revolution


Our interaction with digital platforms is currently mediated by a handful of icons on our smartphones—each corresponding to a different software application designed for specific tasks. These platforms are, in essence, our gateway to digital services, from financial transactions to social interactions. Yet, AI threatens to upend this model entirely by becoming a decentralized authority capable of keeping up with the source of truth for billions, if not trillions, of products, services, and pieces of information.

This transformative nature of AI challenges the existing power structures within the digital ecosystem. It promises a future where our dependence on individual platforms decreases, giving way to a more dynamic, AI-driven interface that can not only perform tasks but also validate the integrity of information. This creates an unprecedented level of trust and efficiency, altering how we navigate the digital world.

What is Source of Truth?

In computer science, the term “source of truth” refers to the authoritative data repository for a specific set of information. It serves as the definitive, unalterable point of reference that holds the ultimate version of data, ensuring consistency and reliability across systems and processes. Historically, databases designed to serve this purpose were safeguarded sanctuaries, allowing only controlled, human-mediated access to maintain data integrity.

This foundational concept is now at the center of a looming battle between the creators of AI technologies and AI Assistants that are tailored to serve individual human needs. AI Assistants aim to access and interact with these sources of truth directly, bypassing the layers of human-operated software and interfaces that typically serve as gatekeepers. This direct access serves to personalize, democratize, and expedite services to an unprecedented degree, focusing on goal-oriented tasks specific to one individual at a time.

However, this new paradigm clashes head-on with existing models of centralized platforms that have, until now, dominated the digital landscape. As AI Assistants become capable of pulling data directly from the source of truth, the need for platform-based intermediaries diminishes significantly. This disintermediation compromises the very business models these platforms are built upon.

The Inevitable Clash: “No AI Allowed”

In the face of this transformative shift, traditional platforms are likely to adopt a defensive posture, attempting to retain control over their databases and, by extension, their user base. One such mechanism may manifest as a “No AI Allowed” policy, barring AI Assistants from directly accessing the platforms’ source of truth. This approach aims to hold onto declining subscribers by maintaining the exclusivity and integrity of their services, effectively making their platforms the only authorized portals for specific types of information or transactions.

However, this strategy is likely to be a short-term solution at best, given the revolutionary capabilities AI brings to the table. As AI systems become increasingly proficient at interacting with a multitude of databases and other sources of truth, the value proposition of these platforms diminishes. Their “No AI Allowed” stance may well become a deterrent, further accelerating their decline in relevance and user engagement.

The looming confrontation between AI and traditional platforms is more than a fight for data control; it’s a pivotal struggle to determine who—or what—gets to serve as the source of truth in the digital age. It raises fundamental questions about authority, governance, and the democratization of access to information, all while signaling the end of an era dominated by platform-centric models.

Author: John Rector

John Rector, a former IBM executive and co-founder of e2open, has an impressive portfolio of leadership roles across a range of companies and industries. In the realm of digital marketing, he has successfully led Social Media Target, ensuring its competitiveness in the ever-evolving digital landscape. He has also served operationally at Rainbow Packaging, focusing on the delivery of farm-fresh produce. John's creativity and vision for web technologies shine through at Bodaro and Palm ❤️, the latter being a graphic design studio founded in June 2023. He has also ventured into the education sector with Nextyrn, a tutoring startup that leverages AI for personalized learning experiences. His entrepreneurial spirit has also seen the founding of Potyn, an innovative project that uses AI to create bespoke art. The newest additions to his extensive portfolio include Nozeus, Infinia, Blacc Ink, and Maibly, further expanding his influence across various industries.

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