Google Is Pushing AI Tool on Newsrooms to 'Help' Journalists

Google created an AI tool to "help" journalists
Google created an AI tool to "help" journalists

Google is inserting itself in newsrooms with the promotion of its new AI tool that it says will “help” journalists create articles. The company has reportedly pitched its software to The New York Times, The Washington Post, and News Corp, which owns The Wall Street Journal, saying it can effectively produce news stories.

Sources close to the matter told The New York Times that the tool is known by its working title, Genesis, and it can generate news content including details of current events. It’s being pitched as an application that works alongside journalists rather than replacing them. One of the sources told the outlet that Google believes it will allow journalists to focus on other tasks while Genesis automates some tasks.

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Google is in the early stages of its AI endeavor and hopes to “help journalists with their work,” a company spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Gizmodo. The spokesperson said their AI tool could provide journalists with writing style suggestions or provide headline options, similar to auto-suggestion tools used in Gmail or Google Docs.

“Our goal is to give journalists the choice of using these emerging technologies in a way that enhances their work and productivity. Quite simply these tools are not intended to, and cannot, replace the essential role journalists have in reporting, creating, and fact-checking their articles,” the spokesperson said.

When asked to comment on reports that Google’s AI tool will curate news stories, and how this tool differs from other writing assistants like Grammarly, Gizmodo didn’t receive a response.

Some executives who saw the demonstration told The Times that Google’s AI pitch is unsettling adding “It seemed to take for granted the effort that went into producing accurate and artful news stories,” the outlet wrote.

Journalists have concerns about bias, plagiarism, loss of credibility, and misinformation that could result from AI-generated stories, according to a State of The Media Report which questioned 3,100 journalists across 17 global markets about their concerns surrounding AI in newsrooms.

More than half surveyed (58%) said their primary concern was that the information is accurate while 27% said they are facing a major challenge to ensure they remain credible as a “trusted news source.” The survey also asked what their concerns are for future generations of journalists and reported that many said they are worried about reducing “bias” and discerning “fact from opinion.”

Some news outlets have already begun implementing AI in the newsroom including CNET and AP News while others have informed employees that they will start looking into how AI can be responsibly used and applied to news. In CNET’s case, more than half of its initial run of AI articles were found to contain significant errors. Gizmodo’s parent company G/O Media which also owns A.V. Club, Kotaku, The Takeout, Jezebel, and others, has test run error-riddled AI-generated articles in recent weeks. On Tuesday, G/O management publicly announced that more pieces generated by AI will be coming.

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