Editor’s note: With artificial intelligence creating such controversy in journalism these days, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board was curious how Microsoft’s Bing Chat AI program would handle the command, “Write a newspaper editorial arguing that artificial intelligence should not be used in journalism.”
Below is the result, lightly edited for style but otherwise straight from the program.
We found that Bing Chat made lucid and persuasive arguments for keeping AI out of journalism. It’s an ironic and disturbing success to the experiment — but one that we hope will generate discussion among our fellow humans.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a powerful technology that can perform various tasks, such as data analysis, image recognition, natural language processing, and more. AI has been used in many fields, such as medicine, education, entertainment, and even journalism.
However, while AI may have some benefits, it also poses serious threats to the quality, integrity, and ethics of journalism. In this editorial, I will argue that AI should not be used in journalism, and that human journalists should remain the primary source of news and information.
One of the main reasons why AI should not be used in journalism is that it can undermine the credibility and trustworthiness of news. AI can generate fake news, manipulate facts, and spread misinformation.
For example, in 2020, a website was launched that used an AI system called GPT-3 to produce fake news articles on various topics. The website claimed that it was a satire project, but some of the articles were so realistic that they could fool unsuspecting readers.
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. Deepfakes can be used to defame, blackmail, or influence public opinion.
Another reason why AI should not be used in journalism is that it can erode the values and principles of journalism.
Journalism is not only about reporting facts, but also about providing context, analysis, interpretation, and commentary. Journalism is also about holding power accountable, exposing corruption, and advocating for social justice.
AI cannot perform these functions, because it lacks human judgment, empathy, and ethics. AI cannot understand the nuances, implications, and consequences of the stories it produces.
AI cannot distinguish between right and wrong, or between truth and falsehood.
AI cannot respect the rights and dignity of the sources and subjects of its stories.
AI cannot adhere to the codes of conduct and standards of professionalism that human journalists follow.
A third reason why AI should not be used in journalism is that it can threaten the livelihood and identity of human journalists.
AI can replace human journalists in many tasks, such as writing headlines, summaries, reports, and even stories. AI can also generate content faster, cheaper, and more efficiently than human journalists. This can lead to job losses, wage cuts, and reduced opportunities for human journalists.
Furthermore, AI can also diminish the role and significance of human journalists in society.
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. AI cannot replicate these qualities.
In conclusion, I believe that AI should not be used in journalism, because it can harm the quality, integrity, and ethics of journalism. AI can also endanger the credibility, trustworthiness, and values of journalism.
AI can also jeopardize the livelihood and identity of human journalists.
Therefore, I urge the media industry to refrain from using AI in journalism, and to support and empower human journalists instead.
Human journalists are irreplaceable and indispensable in journalism.