Google Unveils Plan to Demolish the Journalism Industry Using AI
Comment of the Day

May 12 2023

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Google Unveils Plan to Demolish the Journalism Industry Using AI

This article from Futurism may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section: 

But it's not unfair to say that Google, which in April, according to data from SimilarWeb, hosted roughly 91 percent of all search traffic, is somewhat synonymous with, well, the internet. And the internet isn't just some ethereal, predetermined thing, as natural water or air. The internet is a marketplace, and Google is its kingmaker.

As such, the demo raises an extremely important question for the future of the already-ravaged journalism industry: if Google's AI is going to mulch up original work and provide a distilled version of it to users at scale, without ever connecting them to the original work, how will publishers continue to monetize their work?

Google has unveiled its vision for how it will incorporate AI into search," tweeted The Verge's James Vincent. "The quick answer: it's going to gobble up the open web and then summarize/rewrite/regurgitate it (pick the adjective that reflects your level of disquiet) in a shiny Google UI."

Eoin Treacy's view

Google announced it would pay the New York Times $100 million over three years this week. That results from years of litigation that Google was giving away content that should have been paid for.
The advent of advanced large language models means computer programs can scour Twitter for titbits and write journalistic synopses just like most journalists. Several services like Buzzfeed and CNET have tried and failed to use AI for unsupervised article writing.

Bloomberg has been using AI for bulletin reporting, where raw figures are reported, for years. However, that is a long way from editorial. The speculation is future iterations of chatbots will be capable of free wheeling opinion pieces that make connections between tangential pieces of information. That’s possible but is not possible at present.

Neil Ferguson spoke about the challenge this represents for thought originators in a podcast last year. His solution is to cultivate an artisanal approach with fewer customers and charging higher prices. Of course that also means holding on to a teaching position and spending a lot of time speaking as a guest on podcasts.

That’s two extremes. The bad news for everyone in the middle is they will need to scramble harder to make it.
Alphabet rallied impressively this week to break the medium-term downtrend. 

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