The Internet is terrified that CNET has secretly published articles written by an artificial intelligence

Earlier this week, we reported on the popular tech news outlet Cnet It was Quietly publish entire articles with AI For months, without immediately explaining the authorship of the AI ​​to readers.

Unlike the bot reports used by news agencies such as News agencyThese articles – 75 and counting – are great financial explanations, not just full updates, and appear to be written with a more powerful GPT-3-like AI from OpenAI (in keeping with the spirit of public secrecy around the project, Cnet It does not specify what AI is used to output the articles).

Many observers, including those in the media industry, were not happy.

“This is only the beginning,” chirp Washington Post In response to the story, reporter Nathan Grayson said, “And compilation plus annotation done by AI will undoubtedly result in less quality work and fewer functionality.”

“I think about shit like this a lot because someone got laid off from an editing job because some people think AI tools can do the work for you,” wrote another author. my city Author Luke Plunkett The program is simply called “Bad.”

The articles in question have been pushed out under the heading “Cnet Money Staff,” a phrase that seems to clearly indicate that human writers are its primary authors. They are not. Instead, the content is “generated using automation technology,” and then reviewed by a human editor. You click on the subtitle and read a small drop-down statement.

This is a very cunning way of disclosure, especially for a very popular brand. Other big news sites, eg AP or the Los Angeles Timesexplicitly label the author as a bot or end an article with a clear declaration of AI authorship.

CnetObviously, a “bot” system is more complex than a simple bot. It’s one thing to just use AI to automatically push written updates, but using it to create full explanations and then barely telling your audience is a new low, annoying even those who once worked for the company.

“as before Cnet Employee, this is very frustrating and frustrating, but not surprising,” chirp Kyle Hyatt, who is now writing Jalopnik. “What other choice do you have when you lay off all your talented and dedicated writers.”

It seems likely that there is a certain sense of shame swirling around the project of human replacement in Cnet, where a staff member there told us they weren’t aware of the AI ​​articles until our report. The company still has not responded to questions from futuristic or other outlets, nor has it issued any other public statement on the matter.

It is clear that she is aware of the speech. In the wake of our story, Cnet She dropped “Staff” from the lines of writing AI stories, and now publishes them under “CNET Money.” The disclosure is still restricted to a small dropdown description, but it now reads “Created with an artificial intelligence engine”, instead of “Automation technology”.

However, this slight rebranding does seem more explicitly explicit about its use of artificial intelligence than before. “Cnet Money Staff “was completely misleading, but brief”Cnet Money “no longer illuminates.

And in the end, this sleight of hand does not obscure the bitter truth that writing explanations like this was once someone’s job.

“Writing articles like this is how I kept myself afloat in my twenties,” books Brendan Gallagher, screenwriter. Shameful step Cnet. “

Advocates of AI in news describe it as a way to save overburdened journalists and reporters from having to write mundane, busy writing. But it is hard to imagine media heads stopping there if technology continues to improve.

And besides, the current version of GPT-3 “cannot do the work of a journalist,” prof Cnet wrote a reporter last month in Titled article “ChatGPT is amazing AI, but human functions are safe (for now),” spotted before gizmodo.

At the end of the day, it probably depends on your definition of “journalist.” Artificial intelligence may not be chasing potential customers in Cnet Quite so far, but it definitely gets copywriters off their desks.

The conclusion has been updated to detail CNET’s previous reporting on whether GPT-3 could replace journalists.

More on artificial intelligence: Microsoft is working on a deal to add OpenAI’s GPT to MS Word

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