Tech news outlet CNET is backing off the use of AI to write stories—at least for now.
The staff was informed on Friday that CNET was no longer publishing AI-generated stories, but management was defensive about the level of transparency regarding the experiment.
“We didn’t do it in secret,” said CNET editor-in-chief Connie Gugliemo in a staff call, according to a report by The Verge. “We did it quietly.”
The practice started at CNET last year for financial explainer stories, but was only revealed earlier this month when online marketer Gael Breton posted a tweet about it, citing a statement with the stories, according to The Byte. About 73 AI stories were published.
The resulting outcry may have contributed to the decision to suspend this use of AI.
Bankrate and CreditCards.com are also halting the practice. Bankrate and CNET stopped running AI stories last Wednesday, The Verge reports, sourcing Futurism.
CNET’s AI tool was built by parent Red Ventures, The Verge reports, quoting Davis. Editors can use a combination of AI-generated text and their own writing or reporting, it writes.
Observers worry that the use of AI may fill the internet with misinformation and outright spamming.
The Verge quotes Davis as saying there is a distinction between using AI to write and to place numbers in stories.
“Some writers — I won’t call them reporters — have conflated these two things and had caused confusion and have somehow said that using a tool to insert numbers into interest rate or stock price stories is somehow part of some, I don’t know, devious enterprise,” Guglielmo said. “I’m sure that’s news to The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, The New York Times, Forbes, and everyone else who does that and has been doing it for a very, very long time.”
Meanwhile, according to Futurism, Google may have reversed its seeming position against AI-generated content. It quotes Danny Sullivan, the company’s Public Search Liasion, as saying,
"Our ranking team focuses on the usefulness of content, rather than how the content is produced. This allows us to create solutions that aim to reduce all types of unhelpful content in Search, whether it’s produced by humans or through automated processes."
On another front, illustrators also object to the use of AI.
"The Society of Illustrators celebrates the hard work and dedication that goes into each artist’s creations. We oppose the commercial use of Artificially manufactured images and will not allow AI into our annual competitions at all levels.
"AI was trained using copyrighted images. We will oppose any attempts to weaken copyright protections, as that is the cornerstone of the illustration community."