The Agentic Web

Artificial intelligence will never understand why I found it important to write this piece today. Why and how I hope I can connect with readers through it. Because only you, my fellow humans, can have similar experiences.

Abstract image of a web

Key Points:

  • The Rise of the Agentic Web: The future of the internet is evolving into an Agentic Web, dominated by AI-generated content created for machines rather than humans, transforming how we interact and consume information online.
  • AI Agents for Navigation: As AI content proliferates, individuals will rely on AI agents to filter and curate content, making sense of the vast digital landscape. This reliance, while efficient, risks overshadowing the serendipity and authenticity of human discovery.
  • Human Connection Amid AI Content: Despite the increasing quantity of AI-written material, the need for genuine human-to-human connection remains.
  • The Unique Human Experience: Machines can never fully grasp the depth of human experiences, emotions, and memories, underscoring the irreplaceable nature of human creativity and empathy in an increasingly AI-dominated web.
  • Future of Human Webs: As the internet transitions, how will humans adapt, connect, and share experiences in new ways, balancing the capabilities of AI with the irreplaceable richness of human interactions and collective intelligence.

This one is for the people, the humans, the readers with biological eyes and minds. This is not written for the search engines. As I write, I’m not thinking of optimization, keywords, hashtags, or any way to appeal to the machines. Don’t worry, machines, there is already plenty of “content” created solely for you. And the future of the web will be about you creating content for you.

But, today, I hope that you humans will still be able to find this. We still have a hope of connecting human-to-human on the internet today in May 2024. But that will change. The web is already filling up with AI writing. Some of that content is ghost-written for people on their blogs, social media, or news sites. Some of that content is written without any pretense of being authored by a human. It’s out there to try to capture your clicks and attention. It’s out there to game the SEO game on behalf of the AI’s owners.

No one really knows how much of this content is out there today or how much will be in the future. But, given how cheap it is to create, I bet that it will be a lot. I bet it will overwhelm human writing. And I bet it will be so difficult to distinguish who wrote what that we’ll all wonder what it means to read anything on the internet anymore.

The only answer may be that each of us will need an AI to help us make sense of this vast quantity of content. We’ll have agents that scour the internet for something that might appeal to us. Some may not care who or what wrote it. Others may. Some may send agents off to look for something specific. Others may send agents to find something unexpected.

No matter how each of us use our AI agents for discovery, I have a hard time seeing a future in which we won’t need them. As Helen wrote, we will need an AI assistant even if we don’t want them. We will need AI agents to make sense of all the AI-generated content. We call this future the Agentic Web—a future of content created by machines, for machines.

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