Will AI replace the jobs of journalists? This is the question many have feared ever since the massive popularity of generative AI tools like ChatGPT. Reports are even highlighting the replacement of hundreds of millions of jobs with AI. In fact, many companies, especially news agencies, are already adopting generative AI. However, there is a mixed opinion about the potential of AI to replace the jobs of news bloggers and journalists. So, this article is going to discuss in detail the likelihood of AI replacing jobs, especially from the perspective of the news industry.
The Current AI Adoption by News Agencies
It is true that news agencies are already using generative AI for generating content. CNET, the globally-known tech news outlet, has acknowledged using AI to help assist in writing financial articles. If you look into the AI-generated article at CNET, you will see the disclaimer saying that the content is assisted by AI but edited, fact-checked, and reviewed by editorial staff.
Recently, CNET announced that it might pause AI content publishing due to many fact-related errors in articles. It has acknowledged that AI engines make mistakes, as a few articles require substantial correction. Interestingly, CNET is seen laying off 10% of its staff at the same time. However, the company claims that the layoff is unrelated to AI adoption.
Besides CNET, Bloomberg uses a “Cyborg” system that uses AI to analyze massive data sets and instantly create news stories, such as corporate earnings reports. In fact, it is reported that 1/3 of Bloomberg articles are powered through generative AI.
Similarly, BuzzFeed, a news and entertainment company, announced that they will collaborate with OpenAI (creator of ChatGPT) to use AI to assist in creating content. As a result of this news, their stock went up by 150%.
Overall, news agencies are actively seen testing and adopting AI capabilities into their engines to assist in crafting content writing. However, one thing to notice is that not a single news agency is claiming to replace news bloggers or journalists entirely with AI.
Possibilities of AI in Newsroom – Overrated or Revolutionary?
Before we talk deeply about whether AI is the replacement for news bloggers and journalists, it’s important to look into what possibilities AI offers in newsrooms.
The potential applications of AI in newsrooms are diverse, from creating automated content to conducting thorough data analysis, AI technologies have the capability to transform newsrooms.
Even before the emergence of ChatGPT, many reputed news agencies had set up AI technologies/algorithms to scan vast amounts of data to extract insights and generate news stories. Moreover, AI is also being used to analyze user preferences, social media interactions, and other analytics to craft personalized news feeds for specific audiences. With ChatGPT, newsrooms now have a tool that can create more interactive, engaging, and human-like content than ever before.
Looking at all the potential capabilities of AI, including or excluding ChatGPT, it is nothing more than a revolutionary technology for the news industry. In short, AI is letting journalists save up significant time and focus more on in-depth journalism.
On the other hand, many believe that AI is overrated, at least for now. Relying heavily on AI could compromise journalistic integrity and human touch. According to Albert Meige, Global Technology Futurist at Arthur D. Little, AI-based bots lack human characteristics, like intuitiveness, emotion, thought, and cultural sensitivity. He cautions about relying on AI chatbots blindly.
Overall, there is a mixed opinion on whether AI in newsrooms is overrated or revolutionary. Looking at its capabilities, it seems a revolutionary tech advancement that can facilitate the news industry in many ways and optimize efficiency. However, the effectiveness really depends on how it is embraced and integrated.
Can AI/ChatGPT Replace News Bloggers and Journalists?
Whether AI/ChatGPT can replace news bloggers and journalists is a complex question to answer. As per one research paper, ChatGPT will likely replace journalists 100%. However, many analysts don’t agree with it. According to Mike Wooldridge of Oxford University, ChatGPT is like a “glorified word processor”. He says that it will replace journalists the same way mathematicians got replaced by spreadsheets. In simple words, journalists should not be worried about ChatGPT as their replacement.
Looking at the current capabilities of AI/ChatGPT, it is more of a “facilitator” instead of a “replacement”. Below are some of the concerns with AI, especially ChatGPT, that validates this point:
- Lack of Transparency: ChatGPT does not provide complete transparency on how it finds the answers. Although ChatGPT eradicates the need to click links to find answers, it also threatens how to spot misinformation and deep fakes.
- Wrong Facts: ChatGPT is known to craft wrong facts so nicely that they seem realistic. However, OpenAI itself warns that ChatGPT can generate incorrect information.
- Plagiarism & Copyrighted Content of other Journalists: ChatGPT content can give a 95% or higher plagiarism score. Moreover, it can use the copyrighted content of other journalists while crafting the news feed.
- Google Ranking of Human Content vs AI Content: According to Gael Breton, the SEO and digital marketing expert who first spotted AI use at CNET, the human-generated content by reporters was significantly outperforming AI-generated content in Google search results.
In simple words, generative AI is assisting news agencies, bloggers, and journalists with fast, human-like content, but it cannot be trusted entirely. There is still a need for experts who can extract the true potential of AI and editors who can fact-check and enhance AI content.
In short, AI/ChatGPT is not going to replace news bloggers and journalists entirely. There will definitely be some layoffs, while the salaries might also drop. However, AI/ChatGPT will enhance the skills of bloggers and journalists, empowering them to elevate their craft to new heights.
Ever since the record-breaking use of ChatGPT in a matter of a few months, there has been a non-stop heated debate about what career fields it will replace. Undoubtedly, the potential use cases of AI in newsrooms are vast, far-reaching, and already in use. But still, there is a long way to go for AI. The news industry is a field that can never be replaced entirely by robots, as human touch matters a lot. To sum up, AI technologies, like ChatGPT, might reduce job opportunities for bloggers/journalists, but they will not replace them entirely and will even open up new AI-oriented vacancies.