Plagued with errors: A news outlet’s decision to write stories with AI backfires

Plagued with errors: A news outlet’s decision to write stories with AI backfires

New York

News outlet CNET stated Wednesday it has issued corrections on plenty of articles, together with some that it described as “substantial,” after utilizing a synthetic intelligence-powered software to assist write dozens of stories.

The outlet has since hit pause on utilizing the AI software to generate stories, CNET’s editor-in-chief Connie Guglielmo stated in an editorial on Wednesday.

The disclosure comes after Futurism reported earlier this month that CNET was quietly utilizing AI to write articles and later discovered errors in a type of posts. While utilizing AI to automate news stories will not be new – the Associated Press started doing so almost a decade in the past – the difficulty has gained new consideration amid the rise of ChatGPT, a viral new AI chatbot software that may shortly generate essays, stories and tune lyrics in response to consumer prompts.

Guglielmo stated CNET used an “internally designed AI engine,” not ChatGPT, to assist write 77 revealed stories since November. She stated this amounted to about 1% of the overall content material revealed on CNET throughout the identical interval, and was achieved as a part of a “check” challenge for the CNET Money staff “to assist editors create a set of fundamental explainers round monetary providers matters.”

Some headlines from stories written utilizing the AI software embrace, “Does a Home Equity Loan Affect Private Mortgage Insurance?” and “How to Close A Bank Account.”

“Editors generated the outlines for the stories first, then expanded, added to and edited the AI drafts earlier than publishing,” Guglielmo wrote. “After one of many AI-assisted stories was cited, rightly, for factual errors, the CNET Money editorial staff did a full audit.”

The results of the audit, she stated, was that CNET recognized further stories that required correction, “with a small quantity requiring substantial correction.” CNET additionally recognized a number of different stories with “minor points corresponding to incomplete firm names, transposed numbers, or language that our senior editors considered as obscure.”

One correction, which was added to the tip of an article titled “What Is Compound Interest?” states that the story initially gave some wildly inaccurate private finance recommendation. “An earlier model of this text steered a saver would earn $10,300 after a yr by depositing $10,000 right into a financial savings account that earns 3% curiosity compounding yearly. The article has been corrected to make clear that the saver would earn $300 on high of their $10,000 principal quantity,” the correction states.

Another correction suggests the AI software plagiarized. “We’ve changed phrases that weren’t completely unique,” in accordance to the correction added to an article on how to shut a checking account.

Guglielmo didn’t state how lots of the 77 revealed stories required corrections, nor did she break down what number of required “substantial” fixes versus extra “minor points.” Guglielmo stated the stories which have been corrected embrace an editors’ word explaining what was modified.

CNET didn’t instantly reply to CNN’s request for remark.

Despite the problems, Guglielmo left the door open to resuming use of the AI software. “We’ve paused and can restart utilizing the AI software once we really feel assured the software and our editorial processes will forestall each human and AI errors,” she stated.

Guglielmo additionally stated that CNET has extra clearly disclosed to readers which stories have been compiled utilizing the AI engine. The outlet took some warmth from critics on social media for not making overtly clear to its viewers that “By CNET Money Staff” meant it was written utilizing AI instruments. The new byline is simply: “By CNET Money.”

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