Perplexity AI answer engine

Perplexity AI is an AI-powered 'answer engine' that aims to deliver precise, contextually relevant, reliable and helpful information in response to user questions.

Launched in 2022, the free version draws on OpenAI's GPT-3.5 and Microsoft's Bing search engine to find relevant information to a question, and uses advanced natural language processing (NLP) techniques to understand and generate an answer.

The paid version, Perplexity Pro, asks the user clarifying questions to refine queries and provides access to GPT-4, Claude 3.5, Mistral Large and Llama 3.

In May 2024, Perplexity launched Pages, which generates a customisable webpage based on user prompts. Pages uses Perplexity’s AI search models to gather information and create a Wikipedia-type page that can be published and shared with others.

Operator: Perplexity AI
Developer: Perplexity AI
Country: Global
Sector: Media/entertainment/sports/arts; Politics; Technology
Purpose: Generate information
Technology: Chatbot; Machine learning; NLP/text analysis
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Bias/discrimination; Cheating/plagiarism; Copyright; Ethics/values; Mis/disinformation
Transparency: Governance; Marketing

Risks and harms 🛑

Perplexity's AI answer engine has been accused of plagiarising and regurgitating third-party content, producing inaccurate, outdated and biased content, and of poor transparency and accountability.

It has also been found to repeat and spread misinformation and disinformation, thereby potentially misleading users, swaying public opinion, and undermining political discourse.

Transparency 🙈

In some ways, Perplexity AI appears transparent - after delivering an answer, the system presents the sources of information it has used, allowing users to verify and explore further, setting it apart from traditional search engines that simply provide links. 

On the other hand, the system is considered opaque in a number of important ways: 

Research, advocacy 🧮

Page info
Type: System
Published: June 2024