Report: Google Pitches ‘Unsettling’ AI Journalism Tool to Newspapers

Google AI

Google is reportedly pitching newspapers a tool that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to craft articles.

The tech giant has met with executives from The New York Times, that newspaper reported Thursday (July 20), as well as with The Washington Post and Wall Street Journal owner News Corp about an AI tool that is apparently known as “Genesis.”

The report, citing sources familiar with the matter, said Genesis can take information and generate news content, with Google contending it can assist reports by automating some tasks, while also helping publishers avoid some of the risks of generative AI.

Reaction to Google’s idea was underwhelming, the Times said, with some executives describing it as “unsettling,” and others saying the company appeared to take for granted the work that goes into crafting quality news stories.

A spokesperson for Google told PYMNTS the company was working with publishers — particularly smaller ones — in exploring the potential of giving journalists AI tools to use in their work, such as options for headlines and different writing styles.

“Quite simply these tools are not intended to, and cannot, replace the essential role journalists have in reporting, creating, and fact-checking their articles,” the spokesperson said.

Fears of AI replacing human workers are among the most common concerns voiced about the rise of the technology.

Last week, a report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said that 27% of jobs in the organization’s 38 member countries rely on skills that could be easily automated.

The report also found that 60% of workers fear their jobs could be lost to AI in the next decade, while two-thirds of those already working with the technology say it has made their jobs safer or less tedious.

And as noted here before, companies that see AI as a replacement for human labor and not a labor-saving tool risk making themselves vulnerable to more savvy competitors.

“Firms can — and should — handhold the technology to get what they want out of it,” PYMNTS wrote. “For now, there is still value in keeping a human in the loop to better proactively avoid the tech’s tendency to hallucinate and fill gaps by making things up.”

News of Google’s proposal comes days after OpenAI announced a $5 million commitment to the American Journalism Project (AJP), in a move designed to use AI to support local news. The company, maker of ChatGPT, has also struck a deal with the Associated Press to license a portion of the news service’s archive and experiment with the use of generative AI in news.