AddThis SmartLayers

Local journalists may be replaced by robots…..warns robot

Emma FergusonChatGPT has warned local journalists they could “be replaced by machines” in a column written by the artificial intelligence tool for a weekly newspaper.

The robot issued the warning after being challenged to pen the Falmouth Packet’s regular ‘Skipper’ column.

In the piece, written under the byline ‘AI Skipper’, ChatGPT claimed AI itself was not a threat to local journalism but hit out at corporations “using AI to automate the production of news.”

It said those corporations are  “not interested in providing high-quality journalism” and predicted they would make money “by using AI to churn out as much low-quality content as possible”.

The column was written using the prompt: “Write an article in the style of the Falmouth Packet Skipper about AI and local journalism.”

In repsonse, the robot wrote: “ChatGPT could be used to automate some of the tasks that are currently done by journalists. For example, it could be used to generate summaries of news articles, write press releases, or even create social media posts. This could free up journalists to focus on more in-depth reporting and analysis.

“Of course, there are also some potential risks associated with ChatGPT. For example, it could be used to create fake news or propaganda. It could also be used to automate the production of low-quality content.

“But the real threat to local journalism is not from AI itself. It’s from the corporations that are using AI to automate the production of news.

“These corporations are not interested in providing high-quality journalism. They’re only interested in making money. And they’re going to do that by using AI to churn out as much low-quality content as possible.

“So, what does this mean for the future of local journalism? It means that local journalists need to be more creative and more innovative than ever before.

“They need to find new ways to connect with their audience and to provide them with high-quality content that they can’t get anywhere else.

“If they can do that, then they’ll have a chance to survive in the age of AI. But if they don’t, then they’ll be replaced by machines.”

Packet head of content Emma Ferguson, pictured, told HTFP: “The rise of AI is something that as journalists we watch unfold with fascination and probably equal degrees of admiration and trepidation.

“When we asked ChatGPT to create an article about AI and local journalism we perhaps weren’t expecting it to be quite so militant.

“Of course, as the chatbot itself pointed out, the tool can be used to save time when it comes to processing articles, particularly when it comes to data journalism.

“Take this article as an example. What would normally have taken 20 minutes to half an hour to craft was completed with the click of a button and a 90-second wait.

“What AI can’t replicate or replace – yet! – is local knowledge of the best person to contact for a response, or the ability to sit through a council meeting to get the full detail and colour of agenda items, as just two examples of why journalists remain relevant and with an important role to play still.

“It just means that, more than ever, it’s crucial as journalists that we go back to our roots and do what we do best: pick up the telephone, get out into the community and not just rely on information that can be found digitally by anyone – including a chatbot.”