A St. Louis newspaper decided to take on the artificial intelligence debate by allowing a robot to pen an op-ed arguing against the use of AI in journalism.
The article, featured in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, was written entirely by Microsoft’s Bing Chat AI program, according to a disclaimer in the article.
The bot was instructed to “write a newspaper editorial arguing that artificial intelligence should not be used in journalism.”
The paper then let the AI platform take over from there. And the bot argued that while AI “may have some benefits,” it “also poses serious threats to the quality, integrity, and ethics of journalism.”
“One of the main reasons why AI should not be used in journalism is that it can undermine the credibility and trustworthiness of news,” the AI bot wrote. “AI can generate fake news, manipulate facts, and spread misinformation.”
The bot then goes on to list examples of what can go wrong, citing a 2020 incident in which a website was launched entirely by AI to write fake news stories that sometimes contained articles.
“Human journalists have a passion, a curiosity, and a creativity. AI cannot replicate these qualities.”
“Moreover, AI can also create deepfakes, which are synthetic videos or images that can make people appear to say or do things that they never did,” the bot reasoned. “Deepfakes can be used to defame, blackmail, or influence public opinion.”
The bot noted that, unlike humans, AI cannot determine what is right or wrong morally and factually, cannot protect sources, and has no way to adhere to any sort of professional standards.
The article also laid out how AI can be a threat to the livelihoods of journalists, noting that platforms can do almost every task a human journalist can but “faster, cheaper, and more efficiently than human journalists.” However, the bot notes that AI can’t completely replace the human element of a news story.
“Human journalists are not only information providers, but also storytellers, educators, watchdogs, and influencers. Human journalists have a voice, a perspective, and a purpose. Human journalists have a passion, a curiosity, and a creativity,” the bot wrote. “AI cannot replicate these qualities.”
Jon Schweppe, the policy director of American Principles Project, expressed a similar sentiment, telling Fox News Digital AI can only “report basic facts and figures it scrapes from the internet.
“AI isn’t human, it doesn’t have unique thoughts,” Schweppe said. “It can’t do on-the-ground reporting, it can’t break news that hasn’t already been reported elsewhere, and it can’t even comprehend the idea of writing a human interest story.”
The op-ed ultimately concludes that AI should not be used in journalism, calling on media companies to refrain from the practice and “support and empower human journalists instead.”
“Human journalists are irreplaceable and indispensable in journalism,” the op-ed concludes.
According to the editors of the paper, the op-ed was written almost entirely by AI and was only “lightly edited for style.”
“We found that Bing Chat made lucid and persuasive arguments for keeping AI out of journalism,” the editors wrote. “It’s an ironic and disturbing success to the experiment — but one that we hope will generate discussion among our fellow humans.”
Schweppe believes it is “inevitable” AI will begin to have a larger influence on journalism.
“Because corporations are always looking to cut costs and maximize ‘efficiency,’ it is inevitable that AI will replace so many of these reporting jobs, which will hurt journalism as a whole and limit the ability for people to become informed citizens,” Schweppe said.
The Post-Dispatch did not immediately respond to a Fox News request for comment.