There’s no hiding that Artificial Intelligence has infested itself in every nook and cranny of the modern world. Al algorithms force what entertainment you see, which news is exposed to you, and what you should feel about depending on which “sector” of the internet you’re on.
E.g “conservative-tok”, “liberal-tok”, and “Andrew Tate-tok”.
More often than not, we’re placed into these overbearing echo chambers that do nothing but reinforce what we believe in anyway.
Additionally, the realm of journalism is being overrun by automated news, chatbots, and predictive analytics that forces pieces that will generate clicks, not news.
Not to mention how the journalists that do try to make a change, are losing their jobs to these machines.
In this article, we’ll explore why the world’s newfound over-reliance on Artificial Intelligence is detrimental to the essence of journalism.
1. AI Compromises Core Values of Journalism
First, let us define what journalism is.
According to Britannica, journalism is: “... the collection, preparation, and distribution of news and related commentary and feature material.“
Journalism has always been rooted in the pursuit of spreading truth and current events to the public and has notoriously required meticulous investigation and in-depth understanding of various subjects that are being discussed.
That is no longer the case in modern-day society, now that Artificial Intelligence is taking over.
More and more news outlets, tabloids, and published media are switching to AI bots that produce content for them (think C-net, for example).
This means that all new journalistic pieces have an inherent lack of depth. AI-generated news only scrapes surface-level information. Now this would be completely fine for sports scores or stock updates, but it’s detrimental when it comes to everything else.
AI simply fails to capture the depth required for topics such as political exposes or feature stories, because it lacks all forms of emotional intelligence and what it means to be human.
This lack of nuances of human emotion, empathy, and understanding completely ruins the way the reader takes in a story. With such a binary approach, AI will continuously miss critical elements that make a piece of journalistic content human.
2. AI Spreads Misinformation
Without getting political in this post, I can tell you that many countries across the world are currently using Artificial Intelligence and algorithms to spread propaganda and misinformation.
Always remember that the accuracy of AI-driven tools is dependent purely on the data that they’re trained on, and guess what, that data is biased. This means that if the training data has biases or inaccuracies (which it does), the output will reflect the same perpetuation of misinformation.
It just recycles the same garbage over and over, without the ability to place nuance and common sense on what it is discussing.
Additionally, when news is generated from these AI algorithms, tracing the authenticity of a piece of information is nearly impossible — as opposed to real human reporters who can always vouch for their sources.
ChatGPT and similar large language models simply lie and “hallucinate” too much, and when you ask them for their sources, will give you a broken link.
Now that real journalists are replaced by these bots, and no investigation is being done, how do you know that the content you’re consuming is even true in the first place?
3. AI Is Killing Local News
Artificial Intelligence is destroying local news.
That’s the simple truth.
I won’t deny that the decline of local news has been occurring long before AI, but its impact has certainly accelerated the pace at which it’s happening.
Local news requires an intimate understanding of a community, its dynamics, and its people. However, now that massive broadcasters like the Sinclair group are buying up local news stations, the local stories are turning into another set of generic content that lacks that genuine community threat.
These massive conglomerates that rely on AI to save them money are also pushing out the actual local news outlets that are trying their best.
4. Journalists Are Losing Their Jobs
The journalism industry has faced significant economic challenges over the last few years, starting with the rise of free online content and declining ad revenues.
This is why these large companies are now trying to save money in any way they can, which means getting rid of the real humans writing content on a salary with AI chatbots that can mass produce content in a fraction of the time.
The content they produce is garbage, riddled with misinformation, lacks the human touch, and is inaccurate — but it is simply too cost-efficient.
McKinsey predicts that by 2030, up to 800 million jobs will be lost globally. To put that into context, that spans about 30% of the entire world’s workforce.
Unfortunately, journalists will be some of the first to go.
5. AI Has No Moral Compass or Sense of Ethics
Artificial Intelligence poses a vast array of ethical issues that we’ve already written about here.
However, its relation to the journalism profession is even more paramount because it’s a job that is typically bound by ethics and a commitment to the truth.
This is a massive topic of discussion now because there are so many basic issues that cannot be properly handled.
First off, who is accountable? When AI does spread misinformation or bias, who do you hold accountable? The string of code that published it?
And second, the lack of transparency. AI algorithms and their neural networks are commonly referred to as “black boxes” because even experts don’t understand how it come to some of the conclusions it does. This means that we don’t even understand how certain news pieces are generated, and that leads to serious trust issues.
… and that is why AI is bad for journalism
In a perfect world, Artificial Intelligence would be used as a tool to aid journalists, in assisting with tasks like quick data analysis or automating repetitive tasks. However, that’s simply not the way it’s used today.
More and more of the bigger news outlets, tabloids, and other firms relying on journalism are doing a mass cleansing of their real workers to be replaced by AI. It’s simply too cost-effective.
This new content that AI is producing is low quality, riddled with misinformation, generic, and inherits a complete lack of the human touch and nuance. Yet it’s only getting worse.
Journalism, at its heart, is an incredibly human endeavor. It thrives on curiosity, empathy, and a constant search for the truth. Yes, the AI can process information and regurgitate it faster than any human, but it lacks the soul, the conscience, and the emotional depth that authentic journalism demands.
The future of journalism is looking grim, because as this plain, regurgitated content gets more and more widespread – journalists will lose their jobs. Readers will suffer with trust. And we will never know what is real and what is not.
One of the best ways that you can combat this either as a content creator, journalist, or outlet, is to tell your readers that all your content is 100% human-made which you can do by downloading any of these free NO AI badges to your website or piece of content.
Not only does this tell your consumers that what they’re reading or watching is of actual value, because it was made by a human, but it lets Google know as well – which will boost your SEO.
As the AI take-over keeps rolling, the best we can do is to ensure we’re making an effort to consume human-made content. We produce our content. And that we let the people know.