Google demos “unsettling” tool to help journalists write the news

Enlarge / An AI-generated image of a “robot journalist.” (credit: Midjourney)

Google has been developing tools aimed at helping journalists write news articles, reports The New York Times and Reuters. It has demonstrated one tool, dubbed “Genesis,” to the Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. Reportedly, Google is positioning the tool as a personal assistant for news reporters.

According to Reuters, Genesis is not intended to automate news writing but can instead potentially support journalists by offering suggestions for headlines or alternative writing styles to enhance productivity. “Quite simply, these tools are not intended to, and cannot, replace the essential role journalists have in reporting, creating, and fact-checking their articles,” a Google spokesperson told Reuters.

Like OpenAI with its ChatGPT AI assistant that can compose text, Google has also been developing large language models (LLMs) such as PaLM 2 that have absorbed massive amounts of information scraped from the Internet during training, and they can use that “knowledge” to summarize information, rephrase sentences, explain concepts, and more. Naturally, both companies have sought to find market applications for this technology, including in journalism.

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