Google’s AI-Enabled Tools to Assist Journalists Report Spark Industry Debates

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Google is making waves in the media industry as it develops artificial intelligence (AI)-powered tools to support journalists in their research and writing.

This move comes amidst years of painful job cuts and turmoil within the media sector.

In a statement, Google spokeswoman Jenn Crider clarified the company’s intent, saying, “Our goal is to give journalists the choice of using these emerging technologies in a way that enhances their work and productivity, just like we’re making assistive tools available for people in Gmail and Google Docs.”

She emphasized that the AI-powered tools are not designed to replace journalists but rather to provide valuable assistance.

The development of AI-powered platforms, including ChatGPT, has ignited a global debate on the pros and cons of using AI in journalism.

These platforms have wowed users with their ability to replicate human speech, but concerns have been raised about issues such as copyright infringement, misinformation, and the potential displacement of human workers.

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Amid a decline in print advertising revenues, the media industry has been hit hard by successive rounds of layoffs. In the first five months of 2023, US newsrooms alone lost a record 17,436 jobs.

Recently, The New York Times reported on Google’s latest project, known as Genesis, which the company has pitched to various news organizations, including the Times, The Washington Post, and News Corp, the owner of The Wall Street Journal.

People familiar with Google’s pitch described it as “unsettling,” as reported by The New York Times.

Executives within the media industry are grappling with the implications of AI’s involvement in news-gathering processes.

Many newsrooms have been hesitant to fully embrace generative AI due to concerns about accuracy, plagiarism, and copyright infringement.

Last week, the Associated Press announced a partnership with OpenAI, enabling the AI creator behind ChatGPT to utilize the news organization’s archives dating back to 1985 for AI training purposes.

This partnership represents a significant step towards integrating AI into the news industry, as news organizations seek innovative ways to stay relevant and navigate the challenges of the digital age.

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Written by Andrew Walyaula

Multimedia Journalist

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