Wix CEO Avishai Abrahami isn’t worried AI will kill the web

The CEO of Wix, Avishai Abrahami, doesn’t fear that AI will destroy the web. Today, I spoke with Avishai Abrahami, the CEO of Wix, a competitor to WordPress and Squarespace, known for its website building capabilities. However, the company’s focus has shifted to providing software to assist business owners in managing their companies. Avishai has established an intriguing framework within Wix to facilitate this shift.

Wix, an Israeli company, operates from its headquarters in Tel Aviv. Our conversation touched on the impact of the Israel-Hamas war on the company, making for an intense discussion at times. The primary focus of our conversation was the future of the web, particularly in light of the anticipated influx of low-cost AI-generated SEO spam. With many small businesses and creators favoring platforms like TikTok or Instagram over the web, I raised the question of why anyone would want to build a website in 2023.

Given Wix’s significant investment in AI, enabling the construction of complete websites through a chatbot on their platform, I was keen to explore Avishai’s perspective on AI-generated content and its impact on customers, especially if it leads to a web filled with AI-generated subpar content. We also delved into Wix’s role in the moderation landscape, given its unique position between infrastructure providers and social networks.

Our conversation also touched on complicated moderation decisions, such as Etsy’s recent ban on merchandise featuring the phrase “from the river to the sea,” and whether Wix would consider a similar ban on its platform. Avishai provided a clear stance on content moderation, emphasizing Wix’s approach to the subject.

Additionally, I inquired about the Israeli government’s involvement in Wix’s operations during the war, as well as whether recent news reports about the company firing employees for incendiary rhetoric regarding the conflict might influence its moderation policies.

This interview was conducted just before the tumult at OpenAI.The events that led to Sam Altman’s firing and rehiring within a single week have been quite surprising. In the following conversation, Avishai and I discuss OpenAI and ChatGPT. Wix has been a long-time customer of OpenAI and relies on its technology. Little did we know that significant events were about to unfold when we had this conversation.

Transcript:

Avishai Abrahami, the CEO of Wix, joins the conversation.

Avishai Abrahami: Thank you, it’s my pleasure to be here.

Interviewer: You are talking to us from your offices in Tel Aviv. Thank you for making the time. Let’s start at the start. What is Wix?

Avishai describes Wix as a platform that enables everyone to easily create web content and websites. Over time, the company has evolved from creating simple pages in Flash to offering a comprehensive range of business solutions, including e-commerce transactions, scheduling, restaurant orders, backend management, and customer engagement.

He further explains that Wix is designed to be user-friendly, comparable to using PowerPoint or Excel. While these applications may not be easy for everyone, they allow users with computer knowledge to create remarkable content. Avishai emphasizes the goal of making Wix accessible for users with a range of computer skills.

The interviewer draws comparisons between Wix and Excel/PowerPoint, highlighting the potential for Wix to serve as a platform for creating other applications.

Avishai affirms that Wix now includes a straightforward method for writing JavaScript, allowing users to build applications on top of the platform. Additionally, Wix provides back-end and front-end hosting automatically, simplifying the technical aspects for users.

The discussion concludes with an exploration of Wix’s diverse customer base, from individuals creating simple web pages to businesses utilizing Wix as an application layer for their operations.

The conversation sheds light on Wix’s evolution from a website creation tool to a comprehensive business platform, catering to a wide range of users with varying technical expertise.

Are businesses able to tailor the applications to their specific needs or are these more of a one-size-fits-all solution?

We have templates, mainly for the visual aspect, but we also offer applications designed for specific types of businesses. For instance, we have an app for restaurants that facilitates various restaurant operations. Additionally, we have apps tailored for hair salons, gyms, e-commerce, and physical stores, which can be integrated with Wix to manage businesses, process orders, handle reservations, and coordinate events. These are separate applications that can be added on top of the Wix platform.

So, all of these operations are conducted through the web?

Yes, these tasks are managed through web-based applications. Whether it’s about displaying information, managing schedules, booking classes, or executing marketing strategies, Wix provides comprehensive solutions. For instance, if you own a gym, we can offer a web-based solution along with a native application for iOS and Android devices that allows you to handle memberships, track attendance, and provide reservation functionality for members.

So, Wix is not just a website builder; it’s a provider of small business software solutions?

Exactly, Wix is more than just a website builder. We offer a range of software solutions for small businesses including the development and deployment of custom applications across various platforms.

Do you mainly cater to small businesses, and is this a growing market?

While we also serve enterprises and individuals with personal sites, the majority of our clients are small and micro businesses, and this market segment is indeed expanding.

Is the growth of small businesses organic, or do you actively engage in outbound marketing?

Given the strength of our brand, our marketing efforts primarily serve to supplement our existing market presence. We currently attract approximately 2 million signups each month.

How large is your team at Wix? And is it predominantly based in Israel?

Wix CEO Avishai Abrahami discusses company structure and global presence.

Avishai Abrahami, CEO of Wix, has seen the company grow significantly since its founding 17 years ago. Despite having to make some adjustments, the company’s structure remains similar to its original setup.

Abrahami explained that while there were some layoffs during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wix primarily refrained from rehiring after experiencing a decrease in demand following the global economic downturn. He further elaborated on Wix’s organizational structure, likening each division within the company to its own independent startup.

He emphasized the importance of hiring intelligent individuals and empowering them to manage their respective divisions as if they were standalone businesses. This approach has enabled Wix to adapt and thrive in diverse markets, with a unified infrastructure that encourages collaboration and code-sharing.

Abrahami cited Wix’s Nile project as an example of the company’s unified infrastructure, which automates server architecture and facilitates code-sharing among various projects. He also highlighted the use of unified user interface libraries and common code, enabling bug fixes and feature enhancements to benefit all divisions within the company.

By prioritizing a unified codebase and streamlined processes, Wix has positioned itself for continued growth and innovation while maintaining a cohesive and efficient organizational structure.

The challenge of managing multiple divisions and customer sets

When managing multiple divisions or units with differing needs, finding a balance becomes essential. While each division may want to operate autonomously, complete independence can lead to chaos.

For example, when building a web service, there is a wealth of resources available. However, the dynamics change when managing and maintaining a large number of web services. The initial agility can turn into a hindrance when dealing with a significant volume of services.

Accumulating numerous services without early intervention can result in a daunting migration process, hampering the overall agility of the company.

Implementing discipline and standardization is crucial, despite developers’ inclination to explore new methods. In the long run, such discipline proves to be essential for the company’s infrastructure.

As demonstrated by the example of Nile, initial resistance to new infrastructure can evolve into widespread adoption as its value becomes apparent. Ensuring developer-friendly infrastructure is crucial for fostering innovation within the company.

Divisions and infrastructure allocation

The smallest team we have is about 15.

Is that for engineering, design, or product management? Is it a standard team, or how does it work?

Exactly, it’s about proving the viability of their work. They need to demonstrate the opportunity before increasing the team size. The largest team is around 190 people.

What are the smallest and largest teams?

The smallest team focuses on online education, while the largest team is the editor team.

Is the editor X the new editor?

No, the entire editor group is managed as one, with smaller teams below it.

Is Studio the tool to create a Wix website?

Yes, the new tool is called Wix Studio.

After more than 17 years as CEO, how do you approach decision-making?

I don’t make decisions frequently. It’s better to delegate and empower others to make smart decisions within defined rules and measures of success. We have a meticulous method for decision-making and measure everything rigorously.

The culture at Wix encourages making big bets and taking risks in developing new products. As echoed by Nir Zohar, Wix’s President and COO, “Sometimes, there is no single way to anticipate what kind of change will happen.” This bold approach is underpinned by a focus on understanding the pain points of their customers. Zohar emphasized the importance of feedback and the need to encourage testing and experimenting, regardless of the outcomes, in order to drive innovation.

Zohar also discussed the strategic approach Wix takes in decision-making, emphasizing the use of data to create roadmaps and the importance of strategic thinking in guiding the company’s direction. He noted the necessity of balancing data-driven insights with visionary strategic bets, such as their focus on AI, which may not have historical data to support them.

Furthermore, Zohar highlighted the significance of understanding customer needs when developing new products, stressing the importance of empathy and usability. He emphasized that the key to predicting successful products lies in understanding what the customer is trying to achieve, rather than just focusing on their demographic identity.

In terms of encouraging innovation within the company, Wix actively measures and promotes interactions with customers among its product teams. This practice is aimed at fostering a deep understanding of customer pain points, which in turn informs the development of solutions that directly address these needs.

Nir Zohar’s perspective on building successful products diverges from traditional views by focusing on understanding the customer’s goals rather than solely their demographic profile. This approach aligns with Wix’s bold bets on future technologies, such as AI, and highlights the company’s commitment to innovation and customer-centric product development.

Zohar’s insights offer a unique perspective on product development, emphasizing the need to understand and address customer needs as the foundation for successful innovation. This customer-centric approach is evident in Wix’s strategic focus and their pioneering investments in technologies like AI, which demonstrate a commitment to shaping the future of the web.

Wix.com has introduced ADI, an AI designed for creating websites. With this tool, users can provide minimal input and it will autonomously generate the entire website. While it is not as sophisticated as transformer-based AI, the algorithm, developed in 2017, is capable of swiftly creating functional websites.

When attempting to implement an AI-based project within the company, it initially faced resistance. However, over time, the acceptance of AI technology increased significantly. ADI became an influential mass-market product, marking a notable shift in the perception and utility of AI technology. This widespread usage provided valuable insights that suggest a significant transformation across various industries, not just confined to web development.

In terms of utilizing OpenAI models, Wix.com does not have its own LLM and currently relies on OpenAI as the most superior option available. While the quality disparity between different AI-generated texts may reduce in the future, OpenAI is presently the preferred choice for the company.

Assessing the quality of AI-generated text is primarily based on customer satisfaction, which serves as a suitable indicator. Despite not exploring other options such as Bard, Wix.com has been utilizing OpenAI for over a year with positive outcomes.

Regarding the cost and revenue model, Wix.com currently sponsors OpenAI for its customers due to the significant value it adds to conversions. Although there may be plans to introduce a charging structure in the future, the current priority is to maintain free accessibility to Wix’s OpenAI service, which significantly enhances user experience and conversion rates.

In the long term, Wix.com anticipates the cost of OpenAI to decrease, making it a commodity accessible at competitive prices without compromising quality.

It is my desire to remain with OpenAI as I have been their partner for an extended period. I anticipate a decrease in cost. What are your thoughts on this? Let me turn the question around for a moment.

I believe that the internet is at great risk from tools like this, and we have not fully considered the consequences of applying statistical averaging to the existing web and then publishing millions of additional websites based on it. There is a feedback loop where the origin of new ideas is uncertain. Consequently, why would anyone with new ideas choose the web over TikTok or YouTube?

There is something intriguing, compelling, and potentially perilous in this notion. This is likely why I find it so captivating, yet I have not yet fully processed it. This is why I want to engage with numerous CEOs of web companies because it seems necessary to impose some limitation on the quantity of AI-generated text we publish, as otherwise, we will stifle original human creativity.

But your assumption is interesting.

I agree with your point about averaging and the recycling of information. LLMs are not designed to create new information. However, it is presumptuous to assume that this phenomenon will not occur on TikTok and Instagram. I believe it will likely happen on these platforms within a year or a year and a half, leading to the recycling of information once again.

I concur with your statement, and it is noteworthy that YouTube has implemented a new policy regarding deepfakes and their removal. I anticipate that every platform will need to establish a policy regarding AI-generated or synthetic content, presenting a significant challenge for each.

To be specific about the web, a predominantly text-based platform, there is no reliable method to detect this. Furthermore, Google, the web’s recommendation engine, is arguably losing the battle against SEO spam. The feedback loop on this platform differs from that of Instagram or TikTok.

Allow me to pose the question more directly: If you were a young person today with a great idea or a desire to communicate and build an audience, why would you choose to start a website over a TikTok channel?

I believe both avenues should be pursued. However, the combined approach is significantly more potent. Many individuals continue to use Google for searches, and while TikTok may not always yield expected results, the web consistently does.

The enigma of why there is an ongoing SEO battle is quite intriguing. I believe that Google is more astute than we perceive. It seems unlikely that Google can be deceived by simply altering alt text, yet this tactic often proves effective. With highly skilled engineers at Google, I suspect that much of this is intentional.

I am likely in a privileged position.

As someone who gets to view more websites than most people on the planet and has insight into Google search results, I have a lot of understanding about the workings of the algorithm. If Google were to eliminate fake content, there would be very little genuine content left in Google’s search results.

I strongly believe that Google’s engineers are exceptionally intelligent, though I might be giving them too much credit. But to address your question, let’s consider a business for example, like a gym. If you are running a gym, where do people usually go to find out about its activities? It is unlikely that they would turn to TikTok for this kind of information, right?

Increasingly, people would turn to platforms such as Instagram for such information. I know many restaurants in New York City that have poorly designed websites, and their solution is to direct people to their Facebook or Instagram pages where they regularly post their menus.

While this may be true for restaurants, it may not hold the same weight for a gym, especially for specific activities that require registration. It’s unlikely that such information would be shared on Instagram. Furthermore, for a well-managed restaurant, direct communication with the customers is crucial for various activities, as relying solely on the Instagram algorithm to reach customers might not be effective. This holds true for the majority of businesses.

For instance, a new makeup company targeting 12-year-old girls may not require a website; instead, it would benefit more from having a presence on TikTok and Instagram. However, for a doctor, a gym or many e-commerce businesses, maintaining direct and controlled communication with customers is essential.

You’re addressing a very important point here, the direct connection with customers. As a publisher myself, I strongly believe in establishing a direct relationship with our audience. It’s crucial for people to know and trust our brand. This trust is built upon authentic content. If we start churning out a lot of AI-generated articles, it will undoubtedly undermine this trust, as people are very likely to discern the authenticity of the content.

Consider a scenario where a doctor uses Wix and lets AI generate all the content for their website. The focus here is solely on converting leads to actual appointments, aiming to establish a personal connection with the patients. The danger lies in the content marketing aspect, where the content could become generic, lacking individuality and authenticity.

There’s a concern that these websites might end up looking similar, possibly even using the same templates. This lack of differentiation could result in the content reading similarly across these websites.

To elaborate further, our experience with ADI has taught us that simply having a beautiful website template isn’t enough. What people truly seek is to tell their own unique stories. The most significant aspect of ADI was enabling customers to personalize their websites with their own images and stories. This personalized touch made the product a great success. While the AI was impressive in its capabilities, it couldn’t capture the essence of an individual’s story and effectively convey it on the web, and this is a significant distinction.

This emphasizes your point, proving that in order to genuinely satisfy our customers, they must have the ability to narrate their personal stories. For example, while Midjourney can generate stunning images of dishes for a restaurant, if it doesn’t accurately depict the real restaurant and its story, it’s not truly beneficial. Customers want to showcase their unique images and tell the story of their chef, the inspiration behind their dishes, and why they do what they do. These stories are incredibly important and should be prioritized.

I hope it’s easy to see that the text is written by AI. I can perceive it, but not everyone might.

Well, for machines, it’s very easy—

Do you think so? Actually, I’m not sure about that either. OpenAI had a tool, and they had to take it down because it was inaccurate.

Yeah, but because it’s attempting to predict with 100 percent accuracy, which is very difficult. However, it’s almost always able to identify the next word as the most likely or one of the 20 or 1,000 most likely words. So, I imagine that when Google decides to recognize that, they’ll be able to.

Do you promote to your customers that they will rank highly in Google if they use Wix? Is that part of your marketing or value proposition?

We don’t sell it like that because you can never guarantee that. And if you want to do a, “I’m a restaurant in New York,” and to tell you that you’re going to be number one ranking, it’s a lie. You might, but it’s not honest.

I can say without a doubt that Wix is probably the best platform today to be ranked by Google. When I asked Google about it, I received an interesting explanation: hardly any fake SEO practices can be done on Wix. The websites are very honest, and the SEO engine evaluates them accurately. In comparison, other platforms, notably open-source ones, enable a lot of deceptive tactics to be utilized.

Now, one of the parameters that the bot considers, the SEO AI, as it’s all AI today, is “What is the platform?” Open-source platforms often appear better than they truly are, whereas Google and Wix websites accurately represent what they are. As a result, Bard learns this behavior as they continuously test how people engage with website content. Consequently, there’s a penalty relative to a Wix website. Therefore, building a site on a clean platform could potentially yield a positive ranking boost.

How much time do you spend thinking about SEO?

I used to spend a lot of time on it because I wanted to fully comprehend it. However, now that I understand the basics and principles, we have a very capable team dedicated to it.

How big is that team? How big is the Wix SEO team?

Overall, the team consists of almost 50 members, with the majority focusing on our customers’ websites rather than our own. Wix is used to build Wix, and whenever something is required for SEO, it’s accessible to everyone, including our customers.

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How would you describe your relationship with Google?

Our relationship with Google is mostly friendly. We are a big customer and the biggest reseller of Google and Gmail, so I think it’s pretty friendly, as much as you can be with Google.

Have you noticed any changes or impact on your customers due to Google’s evolving search experience?

Not yet, but I believe it will be beneficial. For our substantial business customers, Google’s ability to easily find their content and facilitate transactions will be advantageous. Overall, I think it’s a good thing.

Regarding open-source platforms, have you discussed this with other CEOs such as Squarespace and WordPress?

Yes, there are several open-source platforms, but I won’t favor one over the others.

Some platforms have extensive SEO plug-ins aimed at enhancing websites, potentially affecting others using the same platform. This can have a downward impact on overall performance. However, platforms like Squarespace maintain integrity in their website presentation to AI, setting a significant difference.

According to the CEO of Squarespace, the necessity of a website for e-commerce arises from avoiding high fees on platforms like Instagram. What are your thoughts on this perspective?

I appreciate the honesty and directness of that perspective. It certainly makes economic sense. However, it does seem somewhat cynical to view the web primarily as a means to lower transaction rates.

I disagree with that viewpoint, especially based on our customers’ needs. Many still rely on Google for searching and establishing relationships. However, it’s true that younger demographics are shifting towards platforms like TikTok for search purposes instead of Google.

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Yes, but for what? For restaurants.

It’s the same as you. What is the customer trying to do? They’re trying to find things.

Yes, but you’re probably not looking for your gym on TikTok. Maybe you do. I don’t know, but we don’t see a decline in traffic. I might be wrong, but I think I have the broadest view on the planet except Google because we manage more websites than anybody else. And I think we’re about twice the size of Squarespace in terms of sites.

Do you have a hedge against a big change to Google Search? Is there something in the back of your mind that you’re paranoid about?

I’m not, actually. I’m not so concerned. I never understand the concern here so much.

If you can explain to me the concern better, maybe I’ll know what—

I think the concern, generally, from publishers I’ve talked to, from website owners that I know, is that Google’s search referrals are the last source of big referral traffic on the web. Facebook doesn’t send you any traffic anymore. TikTok never did. Twitter never really did actually. You have one thing left, and as that declines, because Google is going to do more and more AI-written summaries of search results, then you will have to find another business, that you’ll have to find another source of traffic or pivot to another revenue platform.

And that affects up and downstream. It has effects on the publishers themselves. It has effects on the business themselves. And it would have an effect on you because, if your customers’ traffic starts to decline, your revenues would start to decline.

Of course. But I think a lot of it is mostly for publishers. And I think, publishers, yeah, they do have an issue, and we know that. Why? Because they used to be able to publish their articles on Facebook and then get people to come to their website. And that stopped because Facebook stopped it. It never did it, as you mentioned. But I think small businesses are in a bit of a different place. Maybe I’m wrong, but we don’t see a difference in the amount of traffic that is coming. In fact, over time, we see an increase.

And I think that AI that is able to, if Google Bard becomes a tool on the internet where you’re able to do a lot of the transaction from Bard itself, it’s a good thing for small businesses because you’re still going to need your business stack.

You’re still going to need to do the transaction, the registration to events. You still need to be able to say, “Oh, we have a discount.” You still need to be able to do, “Okay, you can buy this and get that.” You still need to manage the whole offering, your story, the story that Bard tells. Unless Bard is going to be a way for you to start composing the content as well, you’d still need to be able to tell your story, your images, your content, your product, your sales, your special offers. And if Bard is able to communicate with that and increase conversion for small businesses, I think that’s fantastic. And by the way, it’s fantastic for us as well.

It’s your responsibility to provide all that business.

Hopefully, we anticipate an increase in such occurrences rather than a decline. If I were The New York Times, I’d have various concerns, but that’s a different story.

It seems like things are pretty rough over there, from what I’ve heard. If you observe, almost every demonstration Google presents on Bard concludes in a transaction. Their focus is very clear.

No doubt about that. Nevertheless, I believe this could greatly benefit many of our clients. By the way, I’m uncertain about the business model. That’s another intriguing aspect.

I believe they’ll receive a share of all those transactions. This is causing concern for many people, isn’t it? They’re going to revamp the business model. Google is proficient at generating revenue.

True, but their revenue primarily comes from two sources: YouTube advertisements and web advertisements. In most cases, the cost of advertising exceeds the value of the transaction, meaning that in many businesses, the profit is made from subsequent transactions. The aim is to attract the customer, but the ad cost is much higher than the value of the initial transaction. Thus, taking a 30% cut would result in an 80% reduction in revenue. I’m not sure how that would work, but they are intelligent individuals. As I mentioned, they have very astute people there.

There’s a challenging journey ahead of them. I’d like to finish by discussing the broader perspective.

Wix is an Israeli company, you’re an Israeli CEO, there’s a war going on. You performed your compulsory military service in a very famous intelligence unit called Unit 8200. What is it like for you right now running your company in Israel?

Furthermore, there was the impact of covid, which was significant. Not necessarily in Israel, but for Wix, it was substantial due to the influx of individuals who joined Wix and greatly relied on us in various ways. We faced our own battle of aiding millions of small businesses in surviving the repercussions of covid.

Additionally, we had around 1,000 employees in Ukraine, so the conflict in Ukraine also impacted us. And now we are dealing with the current situation. I have to admit, these have been difficult years, and I sincerely hope the next year will be uneventful. No major wars, no major pandemics. Nevertheless, it’s a sad reality that we are now more experienced in dealing with such crises. I believe Wix is a resilient company. We have global and local teams, and I think we are in a position to navigate this in the best way possible at this stage.

Earlier, we mentioned this topic quite some time ago, and even in conducting the research, there’s a sense of abrupt change. Several months ago, I would have inquired about your employees joining a general strike to protest the changes to the judiciary in Israel. Advertisements condemning the [Benjamin] Netanyahu government’s actions concerning the judiciary, labeled as “a dark day for democracy,” were published in all major newspapers.

Executives from Wix were featured in Wired magazine, stating, “We have to support liberal democracy. We have to fight for what’s right. We have to make Israel a good democracy.” However, inside Wix, there have been Slack channels called “supporting Israeli narrative.” This raises questions about the company’s stance in light of the conflict.

Regarding the company’s relationship with the government, the response was focused on providing humanitarian aid locally. Surprisingly, Wix has employees working in the West Bank and Ukraine, emphasizing a commitment to the human side and supporting humanitarian efforts.

When asked about Wix’s relationship with the government of Israel, it was highlighted that the company employs individuals from diverse backgrounds, including non-religious and Orthodox Jewish, as well as Muslim Arabs. The priority was set as democracy being a vital value, with a commitment to its preservation and promotion globally.

The CEO discussed the complexity of managing a platform that publishes speech, mentioning the content rules that prohibit hate speech and harassment. When questioned about allowing specific content related to the war, the response emphasized a zero-tolerance policy for hate speech and racism, with an undertaking to report severe content to law enforcement agencies.

The interviewee also addressed the permissibility of pro-Palestinian content, placing an emphasis on eliminating hate speech and racism in all forms from the platform.

Overall, the interview shed light on Wix’s commitment to upholding values of democracy and their responsibility to curb harmful content on their platform, emphasizing a moral obligation and the importance of maintaining these standards as an Israeli company.

No, absolutely not. There is no pressure from the Israeli government to support the Israeli narrative.

When it comes to pro-Palestinian content, there is a clear line that needs to be maintained. Content that crosses into advocating for Hamas, for example, would not be allowed.

There is a distinction that needs to be made between pro-Palestinian and pro-Hamas content. While pro-Palestinian content is allowed, any content that supports Hamas would not be permissible.

It is important to note that not all Palestinians support Hamas. In fact, the majority of Palestinians do not endorse Hamas.

For instance, Etsy recently made the decision to prohibit merchandise featuring the phrase “from the river to the sea” due to its association with the call for the destruction of Israel.

The use and connotation of the phrase “from the river to the sea” have evolved over time. While in the past it may have had different implications, the current usage is often interpreted as carrying a loaded meaning.

This change in interpretation has led to platforms like Etsy reevaluating the content they allow, recognizing the potential for misrepresentation due to lack of historical context.

Ultimately, the decision to allow or disallow content with sensitive phrases like “from the river to the sea” rests on understanding the evolving implications and the potential harm it may cause without proper historical and contextual framing.

It’s important to navigate these discussions with sensitivity and awareness of the complex historical and political implications associated with certain phrases or symbols.

These considerations should prompt platforms to carefully review and evaluate the content they host, taking into account the nuanced meanings and potential impact of such material.

The meaning of a phrase over time can often change and evolve, despite the words remaining the same. In a recent interview, Wix’s CEO, Avishai Abrahami, delved into the shifting interpretation of a specific phrase, discussing its historical connotations and its modern-day implications.

Within the dialogue, Abrahami reflects on the evolving connotations of the phrase “from the river to the sea.” He discusses how the meaning has transformed over the years, questioning its shift from the 1960s to the present day. In particular, he addresses the emergence of a secondary interpretation that has gained prominence, acknowledging its significance. Furthermore, he notes the reluctance of certain platforms to be associated with the phrase, hinting at the complexity of its current contextual implications.

The interview also delves into the distinction between public and internal speech policies, as well as the responsibility of companies to moderate content. Abrahami highlights the case of an employee in Ireland who was terminated for posting contentious remarks about the war in Israel, underscoring the company’s stance on appropriate behavior and the delineation between personal and public expressions.

Throughout the conversation, the CEO navigates the intricacies of content moderation and the varying perspectives held by different companies within the digital landscape. He emphasizes the importance of addressing hate speech unequivocally, asserting that the obligation to remove such content is a clear and non-negotiable mandate, despite the blurry nature of certain content moderation decisions.

Abrahami’s insights shed light on the multifaceted nature of language, its evolving interpretations, and the nuanced challenges companies face in overseeing and moderating user-generated content within diverse global contexts.The idea of a blurry line is something that often comes up when discussing online content moderation. However, Avishai Abrahami, the CEO of Wix, strongly disagrees with this notion. In a recent interview, Abrahami emphasized the clarity of their platform’s policies, particularly when it comes to prohibiting hate speech, pedophilia, scam sites, and spam.

Abrahami’s unwavering stance on maintaining clear boundaries is notable, especially in an industry where many CEOs tend to retreat to ambiguity when questioned about content regulation. He attributes this clarity to long-standing company policies and values, which have guided their decision to refrain from entering the Chinese market, despite potential financial gains.

When comparing Wix to other service providers, Abrahami takes a firm position, arguing against placing speech regulations on internet service providers like AT&T or Comcast. He believes that such regulations should not be imposed at that level. Instead, he acknowledges that platforms like Instagram may require more stringent content regulations due to their broader consumer base, particularly concerning sensitive content like pornography.

While he acknowledges the importance of ensuring that their platform does not propagate hate or other harmful content, he also cautions against imposing excessive regulations, emphasizing the need for balance between free speech and responsible content management.

In addressing the broader debate on free speech, Abrahami acknowledges that while it is an ideal, it requires management to ensure that it does not infringe upon laws or propagate harmful behavior.

Overall, Abrahami’s clear and principled stance on content regulation highlights Wix’s commitment to responsible content management while navigating the complex landscape of online speech and expression.

The use of AI to generate website content raises questions about responsibility and the need for content moderation tools. While Wix uses OpenAI models to deliver content, there is a debate about the level of control and moderation required. OpenAI’s efforts to ensure politically correct language have been both praised and criticized.

The question of who should impose control over AI-generated content is particularly compelling, especially as AI becomes more involved in creating web content. This raises important considerations about who should have the authority to regulate online content and the impact of such decisions on the modern internet.

It is essential for OpenAI to exercise caution in balancing free speech with responsible content generation. In the competitive market, consumers tend to gravitate towards platforms with thoughtful content moderation, despite calls for unrestricted speech. This dynamic also applies to the evolving landscape of AI-generated content.

The interplay between market demands and free speech underscores the nuanced nature of content creation and consumption. While the proliferation of AI-generated content may present challenges to free speech, the business implications and user preferences often lead to a focus on moderation for a more comfortable online experience.

Considering the increasing role of language models in generating content, there is a consensus on the need for heightened sensitivity and caution, akin to the standards applied to major social media platforms.

The use of LLMs raises questions about political correctness and factual accuracy. Mistakes are constantly made, potentially due to the lack of correction in the market for truth.

Contrary to popular opinion, the creative aspect of LLMs, including hallucinations, is seen as a spark of intelligence. This creativity stems from the use of intuition, which is a fascinating display of low-level intelligence.

The unreliability of the facts generated by LLMs is acknowledged, with the prevalence of hallucinations posing a complex challenge for obtaining factually accurate information.

An idea is proposed for Wix to create a website entirely crafted from hallucinations, highlighting the potential for such innovation.

The development of an AI capable of generating entire websites is discussed, with the possibility of incorporating hallucinations into its design.

The need to regulate and control the content generated by AI, particularly in a business context, is highlighted as a significant challenge.

The complexity of managing hallucinations in AI-generated content, along with the challenges of fact-checking, is acknowledged as an ongoing issue.

The complex relationship between AI and free speech, particularly in the context of content creation, is of considerable interest and concern.

The potential for a substantial portion of web content being generated by AI, and the implications for quality and authenticity, is a topic of ongoing discussion and analysis.

Around 8 million bots are currently responsible for managing most of the messaging on the internet, which is quite alarming. Just imagine having a conversation, only to realize that the entities pushing agendas are AI-run bots. It’s quite mind-boggling, considering we’re still at version 0.1 of this development. In the next decade, the human mind is expected to be significantly influenced by bots and AI models in ways we can’t fully comprehend yet. This looming reality is both terrifying and incredibly intriguing, making it a pivotal subject of the near future.

One firmly held belief is the inevitable emergence of separate internets for robots and people. The day may come when people will restrict access to the internet for robots.

The consumer demand is expected to favor human interaction over bot interactions.

This foreseeable divide is evident in our audience, products, and services preferences. It’s clear that most people would prefer human interaction over AI-generated outputs.

The current situation also points to a distinct divergence in perspectives. While engineers appreciate the capabilities of code, non-engineers scrutinize the textual quality. The increasing reliance on bots could potentially lead to a prominent split in preferences.

Despite this, there’s an appreciation for coding tools like Copilot, especially for individuals who don’t code regularly and may need assistance with syntax.

Another perspective is the use of AI, such as ChatGPT, to enhance non-native language written communication. Both applications of AI have their merits; however, the preference for human interaction remains prominent.

The profound impact of bots on various aspects of life, including opinion formation, interpersonal dynamics, and the proliferation of misinformation, is becoming increasingly evident each day.

It is anticipated that, in response to these developments, the market will ultimately determine the prominence of human interaction over bot-driven interactions.

However, there are valid concerns regarding how to implement and maintain such distinctions in the digital realm. It may involve uncomfortable measures such as stringent identity verification processes.

Oh, right. You can do that. You can do that. Okay.

You can link it to a Facebook profile and—

Those are probably mostly owned by bots.

… piggyback on Facebook’s verification. There’s stuff you can do. I don’t know if any of it will be successful. I don’t know if any of it will be good, but there are attempts to do this thing that I think are somewhat fascinating.

I tend to believe that it will be necessary because, if not, we’re going to need to be in a place that most of our online conversations are going to be not with humans. I think we both can agree on that. LLM is what? The first article was written in 2017. That is transformer-based architecture. And we are what?

Attention is All You Need.” That’s the—

Yeah, “Attention is All You Need.” And we are just starting. We’re not even version, as I said, 0.1, and it can already imitate behavior completely, again, with very processed and repeated information, but it can carry very clear messaging. And what will happen in 10 years? We’re going to have… Just the amount of resources placed into that now is exponentially bigger than it was in 2018 or 2019 or 2020. And it keeps growing. And of course, you can now make full Instagram profiles of people that don’t exist and images from them everywhere.

Instagram doesn’t love it. I think they’re going to have to figure out a way to detect that stuff. YouTube is trying to detect that stuff. But I really do, my belief, maybe this is my hope because I’m a person who writes, but my belief is that the market will put a premium on people, and that will actually have a number of crazy downstream effects.

I really hope so because, if not, it’s going to be a concern. I always tell my wife that I think we should make sure that our daughter has a profession that is AI-resistant, resilient. And then, she’s like, “What do you mean?” I said, “Well, she should probably—”

My mom still asks me if I should be a doctor. She’s like, “The world will always need doctors.” I’m like, “I can’t do it anymore, mom.”

I should tell her that, actually, doctors are probably not AI-resilient.

Actually, they will be replaced by AI at some point. I always said, “a PlayStation professional player.” And there, she has an advantage as a girl, I think, right?

They have an advantage. And then a TikTok influencer, but apparently a TikTok influencer

Replacing human work with AI is becoming increasingly popular in various industries. Still, there are concerns about its effectiveness and viability.

Avishai shared insight into the future of Wix, highlighting the potential of AI-driven projects with promising results. The company’s focus on evolving Wix Studio for developers and agencies also looks promising.

As technology continues to advance, the integration of AI and algorithms into design and data management offers exciting prospects. The potential impact of AI on content creation is intriguing. Avishai’s enthusiasm for AI’s prospects at Wix speaks to the ever-evolving nature of technology and its applications.

It’s clear that AI is shaping the future of web development and content creation, promising innovative and efficient solutions. Avishai’s vision for Wix is indicative of the profound changes AI is bringing to various industries, including web development.

For more details, you can check the original article [here](https://www.theverge.com/23977985/wix-ceo-avishai-abrahami-generative-ai-web-google-search-interview).

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