Google is reportedly testing an AI-powered journalism tool called Genesis and is pitching it to major news organizations. The tool is designed to generate news stories based on user inputs, such as details of current events like who, what, where, or when. According to sources, Google sees Genesis as a middle-ground solution for news organizations that are not interested in replacing their human staff with generative AI.
However, the tool has raised concerns among journalists and executives who find its mechanized approach to storytelling unsettling. Two insiders have pointed out that Genesis seems to take for granted the talent required to produce accurate and well-written news stories.
Google, on the other hand, insists that Genesis is not intended to replace the role of journalists in reporting, creating, and fact-checking articles. Instead, it is seen as a personal assistant for journalists that can automate routine tasks, allowing writers to focus on more demanding tasks like interviewing subjects and reporting in the field.
The development of Genesis has sparked fears that it could give rise to fake news. Google’s AI chatbot Bard, which was introduced earlier this year, gained notoriety for generating false information and presenting it as factual. CEO Sundar Pichai has admitted that these “hallucinations” are common among AI language models, but the cause and the solution remain unknown.
There are also concerns that Genesis could marginalize real news if Google promotes its adoption by adjusting its search algorithms to prioritize AI-generated content. News editor Gabe Rosenberg expressed these concerns on Twitter in response to the New York Times’ article.
While some news organizations have experimented with using AI in their newsrooms, the results have been less than satisfactory. BuzzFeed initially used AI to generate customized quizzes but quickly shifted to producing formulaic travel pieces. Eventually, they announced that all content would be AI-generated, despite assuring their writers that their jobs were secure. CNET was also caught passing off AI-written articles as human content and using AI to rewrite old articles for search engine optimization.
Despite these setbacks, OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, is actively signing deals with major news organizations like the Associated Press to encourage the adoption of AI technology in the newsroom.
In conclusion, Google’s Genesis tool is being tested as an AI-powered journalism solution. While it aims to assist journalists with automating routine tasks, it has raised concerns about the potential for fake news and the marginalization of real news. This development comes as news organizations continue to explore the use of AI in their operations, despite previous challenges and controversies.