NY Times forms AI squad to revolutionize news reporting.

January 30, 2024

The New York Times is assembling a team to explore the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in its newsroom. The team will focus on prototyping uses of generative AI and machine learning techniques to assist with reporting and presenting news to readers. The publication plans to hire a machine learning engineer, a software engineer, a designer, and a couple of editors to join the initiative. The team will work alongside other teams in the news, product, and technology groups to develop and implement the best ideas. The New York Times expressed its commitment to maintaining the role of expert journalists in reporting, writing, and editing news, even as it explores AI tools.

The New York Times has had a contentious relationship with generative AI, blocking OpenAI’s web crawler from scraping its content and filing a lawsuit against OpenAI and Microsoft, alleging that ChatGPT reproduces its articles word for word and undermines its relationship with readers. It is unclear whether the Times will partner with an AI model provider or develop its own tools. Many news organizations, including Axel Springer and the Associated Press, have been exploring the integration of AI into their newsrooms.

Despite the challenges and concerns associated with AI in newsrooms, the New York Times aims to differentiate its initiative by emphasizing the continued role of human journalists in writing the news. The Times acknowledges the proliferation of fake news and AI-generated stories with fake bylines but believes that its approach will be different. The team’s focus will be on using AI as a tool to enhance reporting, rather than replacing human journalists.

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