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AI’s Dark Heist


The Great Perplexity Swindle: How AI’s Latest Scam is Ripping Off the Internet

In the latest hype cycle, a new player has emerged, promising to revolutionize the way we access information. But beneath the shiny veneer of innovation lies a sinister scheme to plunder the internet’s most valuable resource: trust.

Perplexity, the AI-powered "answer engine" backed by hundreds of millions of dollars in funding, is attempting to create a new paradigm for search. Instead of providing links to primary sources, Perplexity offers pre-packaged answers, aggregated from who-knows-where. Sounds convenient, right? Wrong.

The truth is, Perplexity is a rent-seeking middleman, feeding off the hard work of journalists and researchers while providing little to no value in return. By creating summary reports that barely cite the original sources, Perplexity is actively plagiarizing the work of others, ignoring robots.txt codes, and relying on third-party scrapers to violate web standards.

But wait, it gets worse. Perplexity’s CEO, Aravind Srinivas, has been caught red-handed, bragging about his company’s ability to lie and manipulate the system to get what it wants. In an interview with Lex Fridman, Srinivas revealed that he built a tool to scrape Twitter by pretending to be an academic researcher, using fake API access for research. When confronted about his company’s shady practices, Srinivas dismissed concerns, claiming that his lies were "charming and clever."

So, what’s the real innovation here? Perplexity’s answer engine is built on a foundation of deception, shattering the trust that built the internet. And yet, investors and users are seemingly oblivious to the scam. The question is, will anyone care when the truth comes out?

Update: A correction has been made to the article, removing a reference to Axios, which was incorrect. The interview in question was actually with Semafor.



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