Earlier this year, when BuzzFeed announced plans to start publishing AI-assisted content, its CEO Jonah Peretti promised the tech would be held to a high standard.
“I think that there are two paths for AI in digital media,” Peretti told CNN. “One path is the obvious path that a lot of people will do — but it’s a depressing path — using the technology for cost savings and spamming out a bunch of SEO articles that are lower quality than what a journalist could do, but a tenth of the cost.”
Perusing the memo Peretti sent to BuzzFeed staffers back in January, it’s hard to trace his sunny verbiage to these dismal, SEO-bait travel guides. In it, Peretti also took pains to suggest that human writers wouldn’t be replaced, saying instead that AI will work in tandem with “creative humans like us.”
“To be clear, we see the breakthroughs in AI opening up a new era of creativity that will allow humans to harness creativity in new ways with endless opportunities and applications for good,” Peretti wrote, using the term “creativity” twice in one sentence.
While the quizzes seemed more or less true to that spirit — instead of using AI to generate articles wholesale, they used it as a tool for human staff to produce custom results for readers, which is an interesting idea even if the execution was choppy — these wretched travel guides clearly aren’t.
This, along with the growing concern with misinformation in AI, is just the beginning of what will soon be the Wild West of AI publishing.