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Google reportedly tests controversial new AI tool for writing news articles

Google is reportedly testing a new AI-powered tool that may take in information to compile it in news articles. Pitched as a writing assistant for journalists, the technology known internally as Genesis has been demonstrated for top media executives from The Washington Post, The New York Times, and News Corp.

According to a New York Times article citing anonymous sources, Google is currently testing a product that relies on AI technology to generate news stories. One source familiar with the so-called Genesis tool said that this work-in-progress technology may free up time for journalists and editors by automating tasks like coming up with headlines.

The tech company seemingly envisions this AI-enabled tool as a responsible technology working for the benefit of a media industry shaken by the rise of alternative facts and the resulting drop in public trust. Jenn Crider, a spokeswoman for Google, made clear that these tools are not intended to supplant journalists in such essential roles as “creating and fact-checking their articles” but aim at facilitating their work. However, artificial intelligence remains contentious among editorial boards and media corporations grappling with whether to explore the many potential uses of artificial intelligence in the newsroom.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, some execs who were present during Google’s pitch described the Genesis technology as “unsettling.” Other media commentators fear that the potential misuse of AI-enabled tools could permanently damage the credibility of the news organisations that resort to it, further fuelling a pervasive distrust in established media as video-based content platforms and social networks tend to gain the upper hand in the digital news consumption landscape. As per this year’s Reuters Institute digital news report, trust in the news has been steadily declining worldwide. In Greece, for instance, a meek 19% of all surveyed say they trust the news most of the time.

Such AI-powered tools do not only spur anxiety and controversies in the media sphere. Even Hollywood is feeling the heat, as many influential A-listers and actors are now on strike alongside screenwriters. Earlier in June, the Matrix saga co-creator Lilly Wachowski had already raised the alarm after voting no to signing the Directors Guild of America’s union contract with Hollywood studios. Wachowski wrote that the fight was “a microcosm of a much larger crisis.”

The tension surrounding the use of artificial intelligence has only escalated since the Screen Actors Guild joined the picket line against the AMPTP union, which represents Hollywood’s biggest studios and streamers. Speaking to the news website Deadline, a SAG member expressed concern over actors being used digitally to become “sources of cheap AI-created content.” The president of SAG-AFTRA, Fran Drescher, hammered the point in a fiery speech by saying that actors were in jeopardy of “being replaced by machines.”

Artificial intelligence has proven just as controversial in the gaming medium. Recently, the AI remake by Square Enix of a retro text-based game titled The Portopia Serial Murder Case was met with fierce backlash by gamers panning the game’s overall lack of quality. Despite these heated discussions, many gaming giants are still going all-in on the buzzing technology. Ubisoft introduced an in-house AI writing tool called Ubisoft Ghostwriter, which aims to assist scriptwriters in generating realistic and engaging NPC interactions. Electronic Arts has also been pushing the boundaries of machine learning by joining forces with OpenAI to take video games to new immersive heights.

Major actors in the iGaming industry also rank among the firmest believers in artificial intelligence. Many online casinos have turned to AI to combat fraud and build a safer framework for online players. But with so many websites to explore, first-timers can easily get overwhelmed. That’s why platforms like CasinoReviews help newcomers cut through the noise. Publishing unbiased reviews, such platforms recommend only trustworthy and secure sites operating under a license. Advanced sorting systems even allow users to filter casinos by payment methods, range of games, and bonus types. Hence, gamers can make informed decisions and rack up handsome rewards and promotions in the process.

In many aspects, AI can be a force for good. But while artificial intelligence isn’t remotely close to replacing journalists, actors, or video game developers, the technology is poised to keep sparking controversies across the board. That said, outlets like The Associated Press have long leveraged AI to produce news stories. Yet, it remains to be seen how many news organisations will follow suit without alienating both journalists and audiences.

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