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Will Artificial Intelligence Make Journalists Obsolete?

Ever since the popularity of ChatGPT, many have questioned whether it will make a journalist’s job obsolete. AI tools are indeed seeping into newsrooms. However, it would be a swiping statement to say that it will make journalists irrelevant. 

Nieman Lab predictions for Journalism in 2023 delves into the use of AI in newsrooms. The predictions, though, do mention the transition of the newsroom. It also provides that this does not mean journalists’ work will become irrelevant. 

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ChatGPT and other AI

ChatGPT Or Artificial intelligence
Unsplash/Representational Image

ChatGPT stands for Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer. It is an artificial intelligence chatbot developed by OpenAI. OpenAI had launched DALL-E earlier, which generated realistic images and art based on the description provided. 

Though ChatGPT does help in structuring scattered thoughts, it may not replace a human’s work. To work with ChatGPT, one must be able to give commands to suit the needs. Any AI bot will not provide you with the exact information. It also needs a human to instruct it in a step-by-step process. 

Combining human intelligence with artificial intelligence is important for operating any AI bot to get the best results.

Pitfalls of AI

It is undeniable that AI bots may make their way through newsrooms, but even that needs supervision. 

Stereotyping and biases are prominent in AI-produced results. In 2019, AI Now Institute, based at New York University in its report, called AI a “diversity disaster.” AI works as per the set of data fed to it, as a result of which, the AI product does not account for outliers or exceptions. For instance, an AI artist Madhav Kohli uses AI to show the stereotypical image it produces for people from different regions. 

Artificial intelligence
Unsplash/Representational Image

In February 2019, a 31-year-old Black man from New Jersey was accused of shoplifting and violence against a police officer. Later, it was discovered that, at the time of the incident, Parks was at least 30 miles away. The arrest was made based on AI facial recognition software. Parks spent 11 days in jail, even though he did not commit any crime, because AI stereotyped races that mistook Parks for another black person.

Furthermore, it also raises the million-dollar question of ethics. Journalists are looked at as the authentic storytellers, the ones upholding democracy. AI can produce a story in a shorter time, but it may have corrupted data, which can also question the story’s authenticity. The content that AI produces is also not original. 

Future of Journalism
AFP/Representational Image

As AI entered CNET’s newsroom, many AI-written articles turned out to have wrong data, errors, and plagiarism. It was found that many of the stories were copied from Red Ventures and Bankrate- the two competitors.

It is also important to note that AI is not an information generator. It can only generate content based on the data already fed to the AI bot. As the Nieman Lab report mentions, AI may be equipped to provide stories in the coming times so that Journalists can work on better, more human stories. 

Only the journalist can interview its sources, provide different and fresh perspectives, and produce facts. The AI is incapable of producing facts, and rather, it should be used to process facts. 

Unsplash/Representational Image

Future of Journalism

The future of Journalism, as experts have mentioned, will change. However, it is important to incorporate, learn and adapt to the change. So, to fully understand why the usage of AI in media will not make a journalist’s job obsolete. Quoting Bill Grueskin, as he quotes the excerpts from ChatGPT, “‘I believe that journalism is still a valuable and necessary part of our society.’ And in conclusion, fellow journalists, I just want to reiterate that ‘I think the industry needs to adapt to the changes that are taking place.’”

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