Automated journalism: Microsoft and the Semafor site will collaborate on writing news with the help of artificial intelligence
February 6, 2024

Automated journalism: Microsoft and the Semafor site will collaborate on writing news with the help of artificial intelligence

Although supposedly all news will be written exclusively by journalists, and the artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT will be in charge of researching information, Microsoft is practically developing automated journalism with a new project with the Semafor media portal. The Semafor portal will create a section called Signals, which the technology giant will sponsor with an unspecified but “significant” sum, and which will contain texts written in this way, the Financial Times announced.

This is how, this media writes, just one of several journalistic collaborations that Microsoft will announce in the coming period, after previously one of the most famous media houses, The New York Times, sued the software giant and its partner company OpenAI for copyright infringement.

The Signals column will offer around a dozen texts on a daily basis, highlighting the latest news and analysis, where artificial intelligence will supposedly only be in charge of researching information. Having that in mind, we should not forget that many chatbots, including ChatGPT, often know how to provide users with incorrect, false or completely fabricated information, about which there is even a note on the OpenAI platform. Therefore, the upcoming texts from the Semafor portal should still be taken with a grain of salt when it comes to the veracity of the claims.

Signals respond to profound and ongoing changes in the digital media landscape and post-social moments in news, as well as the risks and opportunities posed by artificial intelligence.“, wrote the portal Semafor.

In particular, the portal team will use artificial intelligence tools to quickly find information about current events from other sources around the world in multiple languages, while also providing translation tools. Texts can thus include sources from China, India or other countries, with journalists adding context and summarizing different views.

Journalists must adopt these tools to survive and thrive for another generationNorin Gillespie, a former reporter for the AP news agency, who now works at Microsoft, told the Financial Times.

The use of ChatGPT and other AI chatbots has been controversial in newsrooms, with sites like CNET recently using them to generate entire texts (with the help of human editors). They did this despite the fact that artificial intelligence can hallucinate and show other types of bizarre behavior, after which they had to correct certain texts. Newsrooms are trying to figure out how to use them to improve reporting and potentially compete with chatbots that generate tons of SEO-optimized content that matters in online journalism.

Late last year, The New York Times announced that it was suing OpenAI and Microsoft for using published news to train its chatbots without compensation. The lawsuit, which potentially seeks billions in statutory and actual damages, marks the first time in history that a major media company has brought an action against ChatGPT developer developers for copyright infringement.

Microsoft also today announced cooperation with the Craig Newmark School of Journalism, the GroundTruth Project, the Online News Association and other journalistic organizations, and Google has already announced that it is testing an AI tool specifically for news writing and is already negotiating with the media about its use.

Whether in this way automated journalism has brought an end to even accurate reporting and whether journalists will manage to preserve their craft within human frameworks in the future, we will see only with the passage of time, similar to what happened with the press when the radio appeared, and with the radio when television appeared, and then the Internet.