Microsoft has a plan to use AI to create a “healthy information ecosystem” just in time for the 2024 election.
A February 5 headline from Microsoft’s own site sends the signal: “Here’s how we’re working with journalists to create the newsrooms of the future with AI.” That’s the intended future: The marriage of Big Tech and Big Journalism, with a hybrid offspring coming soon to a screen near you.
Highlighting new “partnerships” with various publications and non-profits, Microsoft tells us, “We are helping these organizations identify and refine the procedures and policies to use AI responsibly in newsgathering and business practices,” adding that the goal is to “identify ways AI can help create efficient business practices and help build sustainable newsrooms for generations to come.”
Here’s the translation from the corporate blather-speak: Microsoft, the richest company in the world, is making its move into journalism, or, more precisely, the journalism business. Journalism, for better or worse, requires journalists, those flesh-and-blood cost centers, whereas the journalism business can get by on whatever it can get away with, AI-wise.
Yet, so far, at least, AI journalism has not been a success. Most obviously, reporters realize that AI could send them down the same automated chute as bobbin turners and hod carriers. So they’ve been calling out AI when it’s gotten too flagrant, as in the recent case of Sports Illustrated. That was a victory for journos, although, of course, soon thereafter, the publication shut down.
Without a doubt, the cost-cutters and spread-sheeters will keep slicing, and at the same time, AI will keep improving, even if it might always have problems in the uncanny valley.
Yet Microsoft charges ahead, unspooling a slew of botwords— “responsible,” “sustainable,” “efficient”—that seem half cyborg. Of course, it’s all a cloak for the woke. Such wokeness should be no surprise, given that AI is being built in places such as Seattle and San Francisco…