AI could destroy journalism, says former Google News CEO

Selasa, 16 April 2024

Some people are beginning to lose faith in the meaningfulness of news due to today's rapidly evolving technology. The impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on news production and consumption is making predictions about the future of the field increasingly hazy.

Jim Albrecht, former director of Google News, made this point in his piece for The Washington Post, comparing AI to a wolf threatening deer. The nature and scope of journalism could be threatened by AI.

Recalling the early days of the internet, Albrecht discussed how media businesses and IT companies used to be at odds over search engine rankings and payment structures. More recently, new issues have arisen.

Interestingly, while publishers were at odds over who should pay for search results, the Big Language Model remained calm and adapted quickly. Albrecht compared it to attending a wedding and listening to the guests arguing about the centre piece, as reported by detikINET quoting Futurism on Monday (26/2/2024).

Today, it is not uncommon for news to appear on multiple platforms without proper attribution. They can easily use bots to rewrite the news and then sell the altered version as their own.

According to Albrecht, chatbots have replaced humans as the main way people find and understand news. Since readers are not interested in visiting publishers' sites, debates about payment and algorithm adjustments are deemed unimportant.

The current revenue model of the media industry is in complete chaos. "So, in this AI-powered news ecosystem, who is the information broker?" asks Albrecht.

The former Googler is not the only one who doubts the future of journalism. Previously, The New York Times (NYT) sued OpenAI over copyright issues.

According to NYT, OpenAI uses their products to create better ones that compete with them. This corresponds to what Albrecht said, that stuff might replace and duplicate the work of journalism for distribution.

Platforms like Google and Facebook have claimed for years that they are just vehicles for news distribution, as a defence against accusations of money theft, as Albrecht explains. Now with the presence of Chat GPT, Bing Search, and Google Search Generative Experience in the digital realm, they now claim to be content creators.

The arrival of AI will cause a major shift in customer expectations, and media organisations, according to Albrecht, need to be prepared. Traditional publishers used to write articles, print them, and then give them to people. However, the emphasis will have to shift from readers to users given this transition.

"Publishers in the future will have less responsibility for the content of articles and more time to dialogue with their audience. Users will interact less with the original article and more with what the IT sector calls 'Intelligence Agents,'" Albrecht notes.

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