The impact of artificial intelligence (AI) continues to grasp the attention of businesspeople across the globe, and the world of journalism is not far from being trapped within its clutch. According to DNYUZ, Google is testing an artificial intelligence program that can produce news stories. While news organizations are debating whether or not they will use AI, journalists and readers of news themselves are preparing for what challenges may lie ahead if news corporations embrace AI in the field.
The new AI tool being proposed by Google, which goes internally by the working title of Genesis, “details current events” and can “generate news copy.” Google has pitched the tool to news organizations including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal’s owner, NewsCorp. Although some executives believe AI can be an asset for companies and journalists, others are weary of using the tool as they find it “unsettling.”
Looming within the question of whether or not AI can be used effectively is the uncertainty over its ability to deliver the facts of a news story. News companies pride themselves on their high quality writing and accuracy. Jeff Jarvis, a journalism professor and media commentator, explained that although journalists may be able to use AI as a tool to aid their writing, the potential of it being misused by journalists and news organizations threatens its credibility as a viable resource.
“[If] it is misused by journalists and news organizations on topics that require nuance and cultural understanding, then it could damage the credibility not only of the tool but of the news organizations that use it.”
The threat that artificial intelligence poses to the news sector is not just to the jobs it may replace, but to the consumers of news who rely on each company’s credibility as far as accurate reporting. One may argue that the amount of fact checking and editing that would need to be done to prevent spreading misinformation could take longer for news stories to be published.
An additional concern for journalists and news companies is the issue of their work being used to train AI systems without compensation. NBC News and The Times have taken this fact into serious consideration as they claim their data has been used by AI companies without their permission for decades.