AI and the future of journalism

How much of a threat to journalism is AI? Could artificial intelligence actually drive new opportunities for journalists? And what does it mean for us as information consumers?

Hear Dr Suelette Dreyfus, former journalist and now senior lecturer in computing and information systems at the University of Melbourne, and Peter Judd, News Corp Australia national communities data journalism editor, discuss the challenges posed to journalism from Chat GPT, misinformation and deep fakes.

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AI in the headlines

Thursday 16 February 2023

  • We recently stumbled on a story from 2020 about an AI-written fake news website created as a sales pitch to real news organisations. The seemingly now-defunct, created by AI company Big Bird, carried no warnings of the political, culturl, and scientific news being fake – apart from the URL, of course. –Futurism


Thursday 9 February 2023

  • Google Bard sang its first song on Monday, though played off-key as its own misinformation was used in promotions. The error, missed by those creating the ads, saw one academic note "the possibilities for creating misinformation on a mass scale are huge." –New Scientist
  • Microsoft's ChatGPT-powered Bing AI prompted more philosophical concerns from TechCrunch, with journalists quickly demonstrating the service will back itself up with coverage of disinformation it was forced to generate. "If the chatbot AI can’t tell the difference between real and fake, its own text or human-generated stuff, how can we trust its results on just about anything?"
  • Undeterred by CNET's AI "journalist" disaster, which introduced countless errors while plagiarising human writers' work (Futurism), BuzzFeed announced it will work with OpenAI to "lead the future of AI-powered content." BuzzFeed will task the AI with making quizzes, brainstorming, and personalisation. For now, the company "will not use artificial intelligence to help write news stories." – CNN
  • So, where do these new tech tools get their data? Uri Gal, professor in Business Information Systems at the University of Sydney, has raised concerns around confidential information leaking from the system. On top of ChatGPT scraping the public web for information without consent or compensation, Gal notes any documents uploaded to the service during use will become part of its database. "For instance, an attorney may prompt the tool to review a draft divorce agreement, or a programmer may ask it to check a piece of code. The agreement and code, in addition to the outputted essays, are now part of ChatGPT’s database. This means they can be used to further train the tool, and be included in responses to other people’s prompts." – The Conversation

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