Artificial intelligence is replacing journalists at Microsoft

The decision to replace humans with software is a risky one because robots cannot manually curate news articles

Microsoft is replacing journalists with artificial intelligence (AI) software that will generate the news stories available in the homepages of the Edge browser and the news website MSN. According to The Guardian's report, the decision of Microsoft will replace dozens of journalists with robots.

The Press Association (PA) Media told its staff, who maintain the news homepages on Microsoft's Edge browser and the MSN website, that they will no longer be required to generate news stories since AI can do their jobs. 

After Microsoft decided to stop employing humans to edit, select, and curate news articles on its homepages, PA Media told its 27 employees that they would lose their jobs in a month's time. The decision of Microsoft to ending the contract with PA Media is part of a global shift away from humans in favor of automated updates for news stories. The action was taken at short notice as explained by the company to its employees. 

"I spend all my time reading about how automation and AI are going to take all our jobs, and here I am - AI has taken my job," said one of the staff working on the team. 

The staff member added that since they were careful to stick to "very strict editorial guidelines" to ensure that the users were not presented with inappropriate or violent content when opening their browser. The decision to replace humans with software is a risky one because robots cannot manually curate news articles. 

According to The Guardian, although the journalists working in the team did not report original stories, they are still exercising editorial control by selecting news content generated by other news organisations such as The Guardian. The team also edits the headlines and content of the stories to properly fit the format appropriate for the audience.  

The news articles posted on the website of Microsoft allow the company to share advertising revenue with the original publishers of the news content. Clear headlines that are appropriate for the format are ensured by the manual curation of news stories while avoiding untrustworthy stories and encouraging a spread of political opinions. Manual curation also highlights interesting articles from smaller media outlets, helping them grow.  

Since the industry is looking to cut costs, the journalists who will be replaced will now face a tough challenge to get jobs elsewhere. The decision of Microsoft to automate the manual curation of its news site is expected to affect other teams of journalists across the globe. Artificial Intelligence in journalism is also being considered by many tech companies such as Google.  

"Like all companies, we evaluate our business on a regular basis. This can result in increased investment in some places and, from time to time, redeployment in others. These decisions are not the result of the current pandemic," The US tech giant said in a statement.

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