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Sunday, May 26, 2024

AI in Reporting- Definitely Not “Smart”


I am a little bit on the handicapped side when it comes to technology and it seemed new to me, the world of “artificial intelligence”. As I started researching it, I discovered it’s been around quite a while. Unbeknownst to me, however, the world of news is seeing auto generated articles based off local news reports. It happened to us recently, in fact!

The article was regarding the city council’s vote on allowing the proposed campground across from the elementary school in Mansfield. I got a call from someone regarding an article they read on the internet that referenced and credited us properly. There was one big problem though, it contained an error. An error that someone could have mistaken for ours had they not bothered to read the original article.

My initial reaction was to contact website about it. I got a response promptly, but it was strange. You know what I mean, they used very uncommon jargon in their reply. I visited with Jason, our owner, and he suggested something I hadn’t considered. The article was done using AI.

His exact words were “AI is the future, and it will eventually take over the need for journalists.” Well let me tell you, in my most southern, Scott County voice, that scares the tarnation out of me.

I think it goes without saying that we live in times where truth can seem elusive. It got me to thinking about truth, is it subjective or objective? Is that why some claim news as “fake?” Maybe, and it has become the great political divide.

Without going down a rabbit hole, I will proclaim, it–the light of truth cannot continue to shine in heavy clouds of darkness. I believe AI will be another battle of that truth, just as social media has.

With the power of the pen, our pledge is and has always been to tell things just as they happen. Then, the interpretation is up to you, the reader. The facts, they remain.

Be careful and be aware of where your information is coming from. AI is definitely here to stay, and it may very well be a useful tool in the right setting. Judging from my first encounter, I am definitely not impressed with its capability to satisfy the four rules of journalism:
1. Seek truth and report it
2. Minimize harm
3. Act independently
4. Be accountable and transparent

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Tammy Teague
Tammy Teague
Tammy is the heart behind the brand. Her tenacity to curate authentic journalism, supported by a genuine heart is one her many wholesome qualities.
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