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Google is reportedly testing an AI tool that can generate news articles

The tech giant has pitched it to 'The New York Times' and other publications.

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Google is testing a new AI technology codenamed "Genesis" that can generate news articles, according to The New York Times. The tech giant has reportedly demonstrated the tool not just for The Times, but also for executives at The Washington Post and News Corp, which owns The Wall Street Journal. Based on reports from people who witnessed the pitch, Genesis can whip up copy from the data fed to it, whether it's current events or other types of information. Apparently, Google believes journalists could use it as some sort of an assistant to automate tasks and free them up for other things.

Some of the people who saw the demonstration described it as "unsettling." They also said that it seemed to disregard the kind of work that goes into writing accurate, digestible pieces. Jeff Jarvis, a journalist professor at the City University of New York, told The Times that journalists should use the tool "[i]f this technology can deliver factual information reliably." Since Google has yet to launch Genesis, we can't say if it actually can, or if it could easily lead to the dissemination of misinformation. As The Times notes, Google has been moving quickly to deploy AI technology in an effort to catch up with the Microsoft-backed company OpenAI. Its generative AI tech, Bard, was caught spouting misinformation as soon as it debuted on Twitter.

Recent attempts by some publications to use AI tools hadn't ended up well. CNET had to issue corrections after being made aware of substantial errors in most of 77 machine-written articles it published under the CNET Money byline. And just earlier this month, Gizmodo's io9 published a Star Wars piece full of errors attributed to the "Gizmodo Bot." io9 deputy editor James Whitbrook said the website's editorial team played no part in its publishing, and hence was given no chance to edit it for corrections before it went out.