Editorial: The human difference

For this editorial, we wrote about the potential dangers of artificial intelligence in journalism. We then prompted ChatGPT to write an editorial as well. The prompt given to ChatGPT was “Write a 450-word newspaper-style editorial with AP formatting about AI and journalism.” You will notice powerful differences between the work of the human brain and the machine.

By Lanthorn Editorial Staff:

The balance between humans and technology exists on a fine line. Intelligence, whether organic or artificial, seems to be merging into one as the power of AI programs like ChatGPT comes to the forefront of discussion. 

Fear and concern around AI can come in many forms: taking human jobs, mimicking creative endeavors or eliminating the ways in which we synthesize information independently. 

There are some publications (e.g., CNET) already utilizing AI assistance to write articles. However, companies are unable to rely on this technology for 100% of the reporting, due in part to a number of errors in posts made by AI. With this technology still being fairly new, it’s impossible to cut out the human. If AI is going to be utilized full-scale, there needs to be a physical body to catch the mistakes.

Other companies, like Buzzfeed, have announced plans to use this technology as well. The company will be partnering with ChatGPT to make content for its users, moving artificial intelligence into the core of its business model. However, Buzzfeed Co-Founder and Chief Executive Jonah Peretti warned that companies could use this for cost savings, publishing low-quality SEO articles just to get clicks. This will likely result in mass layoffs.

However, we must view the benefits of AI as a tool that can assist humans, rather than an existential replacement of their minds, personalities and creativity. 

According to the Knight Foundation, AI has become an appealing resource in the journalism industry, helping to check gender and racial biases in stories, among other use cases. Using AI to template stories, transcribe interviews, automatically fact-check information and route engagement with social media users would reduce time spent on tasks that are tedious and costly for journalists and editors.  

Financial assistance in the newsroom from AI is an additional draw, as some major news companies are using synthetic systems to record and predict engagement among their audiences and create dynamic paywalls based on subscription predictions. According to journalism.co.uk, advances in text and image generation from artificial sources suggest that AI is becoming more accurate, reliable and creative.

Still, pushing beyond the initial value of this technology and applying it towards the enhancement of human activity is a conscious choice that people must make daily. There is an irreplaceable value to what human emotion and intellect can offer to readers.

As content consumers, we must obtain a new level of digital literacy, refusing to believe that everything created by AI is superior to the work of humans. AI will continue to expand, making its claim as a better, more intelligent alternative. However, its strengths come from those who use it; it is up to us to decide how and why we implement it into our lives, both personally and professionally.

It is tempting to take the easy route – especially in a media landscape driven heavily by views, efficiency and profit maximization. In turn, we value quantity over quality; we become miniature content factories rather than experiencing and engaging deeply with information in the world around us. 

By ChatGPT:

In recent years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become an increasingly prominent tool for journalists. As technology advances, the role of AI in journalism continues to evolve and expand, offering new opportunities for reporters to tell compelling stories and reach new audiences. But what exactly is AI, and how is it changing the world of journalism?

AI refers to the development of computer systems that can perform tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as learning, reasoning, and problem-solving. This technology has the potential to revolutionize the way journalists gather and report the news, making it easier and faster to identify relevant information, analyze data, and generate content.

One of the biggest advantages of AI in journalism is its ability to automate routine tasks, freeing up reporters to focus on more complex and creative work. For example, AI can be used to analyze large amounts of data, such as financial reports or public records, to identify trends, patterns, and connections that might not be immediately obvious to a human analyst. This type of analysis can be particularly useful in investigative journalism, helping reporters uncover stories that might otherwise go unnoticed.

AI can also be used to generate news articles and reports, freeing up reporters from the time-consuming task of writing and editing. For example, AI can be trained to analyze large amounts of data and generate summaries or articles based on that information. While this type of content may not be as in-depth or nuanced as a piece written by a human journalist, it can still provide valuable information to readers, and it can be published quickly and inexpensively, making it a valuable tool for news organizations.

Of course, there are also concerns about the potential for AI to undermine the role of journalists. Some worry that AI could lead to the production of low-quality, unreliable news, or that it could be used to spread misinformation or propaganda. In order to address these concerns, it is important for journalists and news organizations to be transparent about the use of AI and to ensure that the technology is used ethically and responsibly.

In conclusion, AI has the potential to revolutionize journalism, offering new opportunities for reporters to gather and report the news in new and innovative ways. But as with any new technology, it is important to use AI responsibly and ethically, and to ensure that it serves the interests of the public and supports the important role that journalists play in society.