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The Times seems to be adopting AI in news thoughtfully

The New York Times is forming an AI team led by Zach Seward to explore generative AI and machine learning applications in its newsroom. The goal is to enhance journalism responsibly and assist reporters while ensuring human editorial control.
The New York Times seems to be adopting AI in news thoughtfully
The New York Times

NYT Plans AI Newsroom Team to Explore Generative Tools Responsibly

It seems the New York Times is taking a measured approach to exploring applications of AI technology in its newsroom. This comes as many newsrooms explore AI, but its use remains controversial around fake generated content or AI-written stories with fake bylines. The NYT is strategically opening the door to AI assistance, but still keeping human oversight and ethics at the forefront.

  • They hired an executive to lead an initiative focused specifically on AI and assembled a small, cross-functional team to prototype and test ideas. This suggests they want to thoughtfully explore benefits while also managing risks.
  • Their stated goal is using AI to assist and augment their journalists’ work – not replace it. Human expertise, reporting, writing, and editing will still lead all journalism.

This move aligns with a broader trend in the media industry, where various news organizations, including Google, are exploring ways to integrate AI into their operations. Notably, Google has been testing AI technology to generate news stories.

  • This comes at a time when newsrooms are experimenting with AI, sometimes controversially by generating content automatically with no human review. NYT seems to be avoiding this approach.
  • But NYT seems to recognize controversies around fake news, automated generation of stories, etc. Their lawsuit against OpenAI indicates wariness about potential misuse.
  • They aim to use the technology to potentially broaden reach and distribution. This indicates commercial as well as journalistic motivations.

NYT has had a complicated history with generative AI like OpenAI in the past, even suing them. But now the publication seems ready to explore responsible uses of AI to augment its journalism. Their lawsuit against Microsoft and OpenAI likely aims to assert control over how their content is used.

  • The NYT emphasizes its journalism will continue upholding editorial standards. So ethics and guardrails seem top-of-mind as they experiment with AI.

The Times seems to be adopting AI in news thoughtfully. Safeguards, human oversight, business incentives, and editorial values all appear important considerations guiding their exploration. Striking the right balance could enable AI to enhance their journalism while managing risks.

So while receptive to the technology’s potential, the Times appears to be implementing AI in its newsroom cautiously and with a focus on human-AI collaboration in service of quality journalism. The team structure and stated principles suggest the Times is thinking carefully about the issues surrounding AI in journalism.

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Kevin Land
Kevin Land

Kevin Land is an AI entrepreneur and writer. He explores the entrepreneurial side of AI development. Focuses on the challenges and rewards of AI startups.