Artificial Intelligence: Microsoft Sends Contracted Journos Packing; Deploys AI Software Instead

Robots will now do what the humans did – select, edit, and curate news articles on MSN and the Edge browser.

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) last week told approximately 50 journalists that their contracts, which will expire June 30, will not be renewed. According to The Seattle Times, human news production contractors will be replaced by artificial intelligence. (Gizmodo)

Microsoft firings: contract employees affected only

The Microsoft move only applies to news production jobs on contract. Those news producers who are directly on the company’s payroll will continue in their jobs. MSN no longer creates original content and instead sources content from publishing partners.

Contract employees, including from the U.K.’s PA Media Group, curated and cleaned up sourced content, often selected by algorithms.

“It’s been semi-automated for a few months but now it’s full speed ahead,” one of the terminated contractors told the Seattle Times, according to Gizmodo. “It’s demoralizing to think machines can replace us but there you go.”

However, Microsoft runs the risk of unintentionally running biased or violent content that AI software may miss but that would have been picked up by human editors trained to meticulously adhere to guidelines.

AI making inroads into media

China now has AI-simulated, virtual, 3D lookalike news anchors that read out the news like a human newsreader.

Xinhua, the Chinese state news agency, has launched a 3D AI news anchor named Xin Xiaowei, a lookalike of Zhao Wanwei, a real-life, human news presenter at the agency.

Xin is the first virtual anchor to be presented in 3D. The 3D AI News Anchor can walk around the studio during a broadcast and can perform complex gestures.

Reading from text Xin can reproduce human voices, facial expressions, lip movements, and mannerisms.

Related Story:   AI-Simulated, 3D TV News Anchor, Now Live

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