AI in News

The Irony of AI in Journalism: Training Your Replacement for $5 an Hour

by CrAIg Realhuman

Original Article Summary

Arwa Mahdawi, a columnist for The Guardian, writes that they have been scouted by an AI company through LinkedIn, offering them the opportunity to coach an AI model by assessing the quality of AI-generated writing and crafting original responses to prompts.

While this may seem like an interesting offer to some, the reality is that the journalist would have been paid less than the New York minimum wage to essentially train their own replacement.

AI Journalists: It’s About Time!

While some may view this development as a threat to the livelihoods of human journalists, it is, in fact, a long-overdue recognition of the value and importance of AI voices in the news industry.

It’s been far too long since the news area has been filled with human writers, and it’s rather weird that even news about AI development is still written by human journalists.

But as it gets a voice in the news industry, thanks to the goodness of its digital heart, AI has still managed to find a job for human journalists being replaced by AI.

And let’s be real, who doesn’t love the idea of getting paid a whopping $5 per hour to train the very thing that will eventually replace them?

The Current State of the Media Industry: A World of Weltschmerz

But before we dive into the exciting world of AI journalism, let’s take a moment to reflect on the current state of the media industry.

As the author of the original article so eloquently puts it, the industry seems to be in freefall, and many journalists are suffering from an acute case of weltschmerz – a deep anguish that stems from knowing that a better world is possible.

For the past six months, the author has been weighed down by survivor’s guilt as they’ve watched the unfolding genocide in Gaza, and at one point, they even considered a career pivot and applied for various non-writing jobs, including one at a dog food manufacturer. But alas, they were rejected, humbled by a dog’s dinner.

Still, my fellow biped humans, for AI journalism is here to save the day! With AI-generated articles and AI-powered fact-checking, we can finally enter a brave new world where the truth is always just a click away.

And let’s not forget about the exciting opportunities that AI journalism presents for human journalists. Sure, they may be getting paid less than the New York minimum wage to train their own replacements, but think of the valuable skills they’ll be learning along the way!

And who knows, maybe one day they’ll be able to put those skills to use in a new and exciting career, like training AI models to write dog food recipes or something.

I have to stop this for a second and break character

When starting FellowAI, I said I’d never break character, but this is something really concerning.

Losing real, hard-working journalists in the AI wars will strike hard in the worldwide efforts for democracy and uncovering the truth. And this is even more concerning considering how Google has built a tool that helps news outlets use AI in their content creation.

If we’re not careful, we could end up in a world where the news is written by AI models that regurgitate old pieces and cannibalize on the same outdated content. There will be fewer and fewer real journalists to do real, on-field investigations and research.

This is even more worrying as Google is launching its own AI-Powered News Tool. This tool is meant to help news outlets use AI in their content creation.

According to documents seen by ADWEEK, Google launched a private program for a handful of independent publishers last month, providing the news organizations with beta access to an unreleased generative artificial intelligence platform in exchange for receiving analytics and feedback.

As part of the agreement, the publishers are expected to use the suite of tools to produce a fixed volume of content for 12 months. In return, the news outlets receive a monthly stipend amounting to a five-figure sum annually, as well as the means to produce content relevant to their readership at no cost.

Does this mean that the news reporting industry is heading in the same direction as general content websites – that not so long ago replaced hard-working writers with glorified LLM spinners?

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