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Journalists replaced with artificial intelligence: “Bild” and “Politico” are cutting staff

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German publishing group Axel Springer, owner of Politico, Die Welt and Bild, is preparing to make major layoffs, saying journalists will now be able to be replaced by artificial intelligence, the Guardian reports.

Springer is urging the media to focus on investigative journalism and original commentary as the company prepares for job cuts at German newspapers Die Welt and Bild. The CEO of the German media group said that journalists are at risk of being replaced by artificial intelligence systems such as ChatGPT.

The announcement came at a time when the publisher is trying to increase the revenue of German newspapers and transform them into a “fully digital media company”. He said job cuts are coming as automation and artificial intelligence increasingly cut many of the jobs that support the production of journalism.

“Artificial intelligence has the potential to make independent journalism better than it’s ever been — or simply replace it,” CEO Matthias Döpfner said in an internal letter to employees.

In his words, artificial intelligence tools such as the popular ChatGPT promise a “revolution” in information and will soon be better at “summarizing information” than human journalists.

“Understanding this shift is essential to the future viability of a publisher,” said Dopfner. “Only those who create the best original content will survive.”

Springer did not specify how many of its employees it may lay off, but promised that the number of “reporters, authors or specialized editors” will not be cut.

In his letter to staff, Döpfner said the media should focus on investigative journalism and original commentary, and uncovering the “real motives” behind events would remain a job for journalists.

Axel Springer is not the first news publisher to tackle the use of artificial intelligence in content creation. In January, BuzzFeed announced plans to use artificial intelligence to “enhance” its content and online quizzes. The publisher of Britain’s Daily Mirror and Daily Express newspapers is also exploring the use of AI, setting up a task force to look at “the potential and limitations of machine learning like ChatGPT,” the group’s chief executive told the Financial Times “.

Since its launch in November last year, ChatGPT has amassed more than 100 million users and accelerated a long-awaited reckoning on whether some jobs could be cut by artificial intelligence. The program can generate highly complex texts from simple user requests, creating everything from essays and job applications to poems and works of art. ChatGPT is a large-scale language model trained on things from billions of words uploaded to the system to everyday texts from around the web. It then uses all this material to predict words and sentences in certain sequences. But the accuracy of his answers has been questioned. Australian researchers have found examples of the system fabricating links from websites and providing false citations.

The use of artificial intelligence in journalism has also proved controversial.

Tech website CNET is reportedly using an artificial intelligence tool to generate articles that are later scanned by human editors for accuracy before publication. In January, the website acknowledged that the program had some limitations after a report by tech news site Futurism revealed that more than half of the stories generated by AI tools had to be edited for errors. In one example, CNET was forced to make major corrections to an explanatory article about compound interest that contained a number of errors.

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