Last year, journalists had fun asking ChatGPT, the brand new AI chatbot, to write their columns, with the majority concluding that the bot wasn't competent enough to replace them. Not yet.
However, many experts think that journalism is about to go through a revolution, and the ability to master material-generating algorithms and artificial intelligence technologies will be a crucial area of conflict.
It may have paved the way for future developments when CNET, a tech news site, secretly used an artificial intelligence program to build some of its lists last year.
However, when another news site discovered the bot's bugs, it had to make a series of fixes—some of them serious.
Later, CNET's parent firm announced the layoffs, which included editorial staff, but management dismissed the role of AI in the decision.
What Effect Will ChatGPT Have on Journalism?
Axel Springer, the German publishing giant and owner of publications including Politico and the German tabloid newspaper Bild, became less secretive.
“Artificial intelligence has the potential to make independent journalism better than ever, or simply replace it,” the group’s boss, Mathias Doepfner, warned his colleagues last month.
Promising a restructuring to include "significant cuts" in production and editing, Doepfner praised chatbots like ChatGPT as a "revolution" for the industry.
Both businesses promote AI as a tool to assist journalists and may be citing recent changes in the industry.
For typical tasks such as searching for trends in economic data or reporting business results, media companies have increasingly embraced automation over the past decade.
Online media outlets have focused on “search engine optimization,” which involves using keywords in the title to be favored by Google or Facebook algorithms and get an article read by as many people as possible.
The same techniques that have made Google and Facebook global juggernauts have also been used by some companies to create their own algorithms to identify which stories resonate most with their audiences and enable them to better target content and ads.
According to Alex Connock, author of "Media Management and Artificial Intelligence," mastering these AI tools will play a role in determining which media companies will succeed and which will fail in the years to come.
According to him, there will be some job losses as a result of the use of content production tools, but not in high-end or analytical reporting.
“I think artificial intelligence technologies are and will increasingly replace human presentation in the more mechanical ends of journalism—sports reports, financial figures,” he said.
Not all analysts agree on this.
For example, according to Michael Wooldridge of Oxford University, ChatGPT is more like a "glorified word processor" and journalists should not worry.
I don't think this technology will replace journalists the way spreadsheets do for mathematicians, Wooldridge said at a recent session at the Science Media Center.
Still, he made a similar suggestion to Connock that routine activities could be changed.
Testing of robots
French journalists Jean Rognetta and Maurice de Rambuteau further deepen the question of how ready AI is to take the task out of the hands of journalists.
They published a newsletter called “Qant”, which was written and illustrated with the help of artificial intelligence.
A 250-page report written by artificial intelligence, outlining the main themes of the CES tech expo in Las Vegas, was showcased last month. According to Rognetta, they wanted to “test the robots, push them to their limits.” They soon reached the border.
AI had a hard time spotting the main trends at CES and was unable to provide a reporter-friendly summary. Also, it largely stole from Wikipedia.
The authors discovered that they needed to intervene regularly to keep the process on track, so the programs, while saving some time, were not yet well suited to replace real journalists. According to Rognetta, the “great technological change syndrome” affects journalists, but I do not agree with this theory.
“Article production cannot be done by robots alone. There are still some jobs in journalism that cannot be outsourced.”
📩 19/03/2023 15:15