Google is testing new AI tool that can write news articles
Step aside, human writers. While AI has been used by many media outlets to augment and write news content, Google is about to unleash a new AI tool that many say would revolutionize news article creation and usher in a new era of news reporting.
According to a report from the New York Times, Google is testing a new AI product to generate news stories. The product, known internally as Genesis, has been pitched to several major news organizations as a helpmate for journalists, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and News Corp.
Per the report, Genesis can take in information about current events and generate news content based on that information. For example, if Genesis was given the details of a recent shooting, it could generate a news article about the shooting.
The people who spoke to The New York Times on condition of anonymity said that Google believes Genesis could help journalists by automating some tasks and freeing up time for other things. However, they also said that some executives who saw Google’s recent pitch found the AI tool “unsettling.” However, it is still unclear when or if Genesis will be made available to the public. Google has not yet commented on the product.
One of the three individuals familiar with the product told the Times that Google believed that its new product could function as a personalized assistant for journalists. The idea was to automate certain tasks, thus giving journalists more time for other important aspects of their work. The company viewed this technology as a responsible solution that could guide the publishing industry away from the potential pitfalls of generative artificial intelligence.
However, some executives who were shown Google’s pitch expressed feelings of unease about the product. They preferred not to reveal their identities, as the matter was confidential. Two of these individuals believed that the pitch overlooked the substantial effort required to produce accurate and well-crafted news stories, The Times reported.
In response to the feedback, Jenn Crider, a Google spokeswoman, said in a statement that “in partnership with news publishers, especially smaller publishers, we’re in the earliest stages of exploring ideas to potentially provide A.I.-enabled tools to help their journalists with their work.”
“Quite simply, these tools are not intended to, and cannot, replace the essential role journalists have in reporting, creating and fact-checking their articles,” she added. Instead, they could provide options for headlines and other writing styles.
A News Corp spokesman said in a statement, “We have an excellent relationship with Google, and we appreciate Sundar Pichai’s long-term commitment to journalism.” Meanwhile, both The Times and The Washington Post declined to comment on the story.
Jeff Jarvis, a renowned journalism professor, and media commentator, shared his thoughts on Google’s new tool. He pointed out that, as described, the tool had both potential upsides and downsides.
“If this technology can deliver factual information reliably, journalists should use the tool,” said Mr. Jarvis, who is also the director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York.
“If, on the other hand, it is misused by journalists and news organizations on topics that require nuance and cultural understanding,” he continued, “then it could damage the credibility not only of the tool, but of the news organizations that use it.”