Several large competitive news and magazine publishing companies are teaming up to fight the threat of artificial intelligence (AI) in the industry. According to The Wall Street Journal, the publishers are planning to form a new coalition to address the myriad of concerns of AI’s impact. While a coalition has not yet been formed, publishers agree that actions must be taken to respond to the threats of AI and protect the integrity and security of their businesses.
The companies that have been involved in discussions about forming a coalition include executives and lawyers at the New York Times, News Corp (the parent company of Wall Street Journal), Vox Media, and Politico and Insider owner Axel Springer among others. While these publishers are competitors, they recognize the seriousness of the threat of artificial intelligence and have found a cause to unite for the sake of their industry. Still, publishers must agree on the steps that they should take, and with each one having different priorities, it may cause some friction in setting a final agenda.
The Journal reports that the problem rests with “Generative AI, a type of artificial intelligence that can create various types of content including text, images and audio, has become a buzzword since OpenAI’s ChatGPT was launched late last year. The chatbot—which can eloquently answer seemingly any question, but is sometimes spectacularly wrong—became an overnight global phenomenon, fueling concerns that AI could reshape many industries.”
Publishing companies have also raised questions and concerns about the extent to which their work is being used to “train” AI tools, such as ChatGPT. According to The Journal, they are examining “how they should be compensated and what their legal options are.”
The AI tools that provide direct information to users without links to the sources of information, such as articles, is also alarming. This factor of AI is being addressed by the News Media Alliance, which is representing news publishers and is pushing for legislation that would “allow publishers under a certain size to collectively negotiate for compensation from tech giants such as Google for the use of their content.”
While AI continues to impact numerous industries, the threat posed to news and media publishing companies is among the most serious. AI can easily fool users into believing fabricated or inaccurate information, and the tools to fight against it are being vigorously sought by the companies that take pride in the integrity of their work.