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Google says AI tools are meant to help journalists, not replace them

The company said on Twitter it’s working in partnership with news publishers to explore how AI tools can help journalists.
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Google said Thursday that it is exploring AI-enabled tools for news publishers.

The company said on Twitter that it is working in partnership with news publishers to explore how AI tools can help journalists.

"In partnership with news publishers, especially smaller publishers, we’re in the earliest stages of exploring ideas to potentially provide AI-enabled tools to help journalists with their work," it said.

The statement came after The New York Times reported that Google had been pitching AI products to newsrooms that could take in information and produce news stories. NBC News has not confirmed that reporting.

Google said in its statement that its AI tools are meant to help journalists, not replace them.

"For instance, AI-enabled tools could assist journalists with options for headlines or different writing styles," the company said. "Our goal is to give journalists the choice of using these emerging technologies in a way that enhances their work and productivity, just like we’re making assistive tools available for people in Gmail and in Google Docs.

"Quite simply these tools are not intended to, and cannot, replace the essential role journalists have in reporting, creating, and fact-checking their article," the statement finished.

The rise of a new class of generative AI programs — distinct from previous iterations of AI for their ability to create humanlike writing and images from simple prompts — has reinvigorated concerns about the future of entire classes of jobs. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, an intergovernmental group, put out a study earlier this month that found 27% of jobs are at high risk due to automation.

Journalism has already seen the introduction of some automated content. The Associated Press started producing corporate earnings articles in 2014 using automation software. More recently, digital media companies have said they are exploring the use of generative AI to produce simple articles like lists, though many have already run into issues with accuracy.

Other professions that rely on people for writing and content creation have begun to take AI into account when dealing with labor issues. The Hollywood actors union, SAG-AFTRA, and the Writer's Guild of America have both pointed to AI as something that needs to be addressed in order to resolving their ongoing strikes.