AI in journalism: Microsoft will partner with news site

by Jerry

Microsoft and news outlet Semafor have partnered to use AI in news production. Semafor will use the artificial intelligence provided by big tech to assist in the creation of more important stories. The texts, which will be in a separate section, will be written by humans, who will rely on AI to research the stories.

The partnership between the two companies comes at a controversial time. In late December, the New York Times filed a lawsuit against Microsoft for using its unauthorized content to train its AI. The situation is even more complex, since one of the functions of artificial intelligence is to “contextualize” the news with other sources, taking news from other outlets — including the New York Times.

Semafor’s AI helps produce analytics
The Signals section is now available on the Semafor website. The proposal is interesting. You read a news story made by a journalist from the outlet, but the text is complemented with a summary of reports from other sites. According to Semafor, the AI searches for the sources, but the journalist who writes the Signals — the name of the context parts.

For example, the news about the WHO predicting a 77% increase in cancer cases by 2050. The text itself is only two paragraphs long, but Signals has three more blocks of content, each with two paragraphs, delivering more information about the WHO report. This is the format of the site’s texts, a few paragraphs about the fact and the rest is analysis.
Signals deepens the analysis and points of the text that were mentioned above. In the news, it is cited that the increase in obesity is one of the reasons for the increases in cancer diagnoses. However, in the first Signals, using ScienceDaily and CBS News as a source, it is explained that ultra-processed foods are one of the factors that increase the risk of the disease.

To create the three Signals, six sources were used, one of which was the WHO’s own website. The others were, in addition to those mentioned in the previous paragraph, The Guardian, Nature and Health Policy Watch — the latter an independent, non-profit health outlet. As a reminder, Semafor explains that it is the journalist who writes Signals based on the news sought by AI.

The value of the deal has not been revealed by either party — and there is not even a rumor about it. What is certain is that the value is quite high. After all, texts with Signals will be identified by the tool’s icon on the Semafor homepage.

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