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Microsoft Forms AI Partnership With News Startup Semafor


Microsoft has reportedly launched an artificial intelligence (AI)-focused partnership with news startup Semafor.

The collaboration would see Semafor use tools from Microsoft and partner OpenAI to develop news stories with a global, multi-source breaking news feed known as “Signals,” Semafor announced Monday (Feb. 5).

“Signals responds to the deep and continuing shifts in the digital media landscape and the post-social news moment, and to the risks and opportunities posed by artificial intelligence,” the company said in its announcement.

While the companies did not disclose financial details of their arrangement, the amount of money is substantial” to Semafor’s business, a source familiar with the matter told the Financial Times Monday.

According to the company’s announcement, Signals will present a feed of breaking news and analysis, posting about a dozen times per day, with different points of view from around the world. Semafor stresses that these posts will be written by human journalists, with AI essentially serving as a research tool.

The FT report said Microsoft is also due to announce partnerships with other journalism organizations on Monday, among them the Craig Newmark School of Journalism, the Online News Association and the GroundTruth Project.

These collaborations are happening at a time when news organizations are dealing with the rise of AI, wondering how to balance the benefits of the technology while also worrying it could be a threat to their industry.

Late last year, the New York Times filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Microsoft and OpenAI, claiming the tech companies used its content without permission to develop their artificial intelligence products.

Writing about the suit in its publication, the Times said the companies used its “content without payment to create products that substitute for The Times and steal audiences away from it.”

Meanwhile, an OpenAI spokesperson told PYMNTS the firm respects the rights of content creators and owners and is “committed to working with them to ensure they benefit from AI technology and new revenue models.”

“Our ongoing conversations with The New York Times have been productive and moving forward constructively, so we are surprised and disappointed with this development,” the spokesperson added in an emailed statement. “We’re hopeful that we will find a mutually beneficial way to work together, as we are doing with many other publishers.”

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