Can Google’s Genesis AI be trusted to deliver accurate news articles?

Jul 21, 2023, 1:42 PM UTC
3 mins read
Can Google's Genesis AI be trusted to deliver accurate news articles?
(Photo by Mitchell Luo on Unsplash)

The ever-evolving landscape of artificial intelligence (AI) is set to disrupt yet another industry – journalism. Google is reportedly piloting a new technology called “Genesis” that can generate news articles. While this innovation holds promises of efficiency and productivity, it also raises concerns about potential pitfalls, including the spread of misinformation. As Google aims to keep pace with competitors like OpenAI, it must tread carefully to ensure the tool’s credibility and reliability before introducing it to the world.

According to sources from The New York Times, Google has showcased its Genesis AI tool to major media outlets, including The Washington Post and News Corp’s The Wall Street Journal. Witnesses of the demonstrations described the experience as “unsettling,” as Genesis impressively churns out written content based on the data fed into it, whether it’s current events or diverse information sources. Google envisions this technology serving as a valuable assistant for journalists, automating routine tasks and freeing them to focus on more nuanced and investigative reporting.

Despite its potential benefits, Genesis has sparked a heated debate over the ethical implications of automated news writing. Critics argue that the tool may undervalue the craftsmanship of journalists and the rigorous effort required to create accurate and digestible pieces. Jeff Jarvis, a journalism professor at the City University of New York, believes in embracing this technology only if it can consistently deliver factual information.

The tech giant is no stranger to the challenges of deploying AI technology responsibly. In its race to keep up with OpenAI’s generative AI tech, Bard, Google must ensure that Genesis doesn’t fall prey to the pitfalls of misinformation that befell its competitors. Reports reveal that Bard faced criticism for spreading inaccuracies shortly after its launch on Twitter. Thus, Google’s Genesis must undergo rigorous testing and verification to guarantee its reliability in delivering credible content.

Recent AI-driven publishing attempts have not been without flaws. CNET, for instance, encountered substantial errors in 77 machine-written articles under the CNET Money byline, leading to necessary corrections and questions about AI’s ability to maintain accuracy. In another case, Gizmodo‘s io9 published a Star Wars piece filled with errors attributed to the “Gizmodo Bot.” The incident highlighted the importance of maintaining human oversight in AI-generated content to ensure its quality and accuracy.

As Google continues testing its Genesis AI technology, the debate over the role of AI in journalism rages on. While the allure of automation and enhanced productivity is undeniable, the potential risks of misinformation and diminished journalistic integrity demand serious consideration. Striking the right balance between efficient AI assistance and human-guided accuracy will be paramount in shaping the future of news writing.

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Ultimately, Google must proceed with caution and prioritize the tool’s ability to deliver reliable, factual information before introducing Genesis to the world. By learning from past AI mishaps and integrating human oversight, Genesis could emerge as a valuable asset, empowering journalists rather than replacing them, and ushering in a new era of responsible and trustworthy AI-driven news reporting.

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