Google testing journalism AI – NYT

Lazy eyes listen


The New York Times reported on Thursday that Google is testing an AI-powered journalism product and offering it to big news organizations, citing three persons close to the topic. Google is said to have approached The New York Times.

The technology, known internally as Genesis, is capable of generating news stories based on user inputs – information of current events such as who, what, where, or when, according to sources. According to the business, it is “responsible technology” – a medium ground for news organizations who do not want to replace their human employees with generative AI.

Aside from the creep factor (two executives who witnessed Google’s pitch termed it “unsettling”), Genesis’ automated approach to storytelling irritated several writers.

A Google representative maintained that Genesis was “not intended to… replace the essential role journalists have in reporting, creating, and fact-checking their articles,” but that it may provide possibilities for headlines and other writing styles.

According to one source, Google saw Genesis as more of a “personal assistant for journalists,” capable of automating monotonous activities so that the writer could focus on more demanding duties like interviewing subjects and field reporting.

The revelation that Google was developing a “ChatGPT for journalism” generated considerable anxiety that Genesis might unleash a Pandora’s Box of bogus news. Following its introduction earlier this year, Google’s AI chatbot Bard quickly became infamous for spinning complex falsehoods and offering them as truth, and CEO Sundar Pichai has admitted that while these “hallucinations” appear to be endemic among AI large language models, no one knows what causes them or how to keep an AI honest.

Worse, if Google supports Genesis adoption by changing its search algorithms to prioritize AI-generated content, radio editor Gabe Rosenberg said in reaction to the New York Times piece.

Several well-known news organizations have experimented with AI in the newsroom, with mixed outcomes. BuzzFeed moved from utilizing AI to make tailored quizzes to churning out dozens of formulaic travel stories to saying all content would be AI-generated in less than six months, while guaranteeing its authors their jobs would be secure in January.

Earlier this year, CNET was caught passing off AI-written articles as human material and utilizing AI to alter existing articles in order to artificially boost their search engine rankings.

Despite these setbacks, OpenAI, the startup behind ChatGPT, has recently begun forming agreements with major news organizations such as the Associated Press to promote the technology’s use in the newsroom.