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The war against artificial intelligence spreads to newsrooms

Mojahid Mottakin | pexels

Artificial Intelligence has been a hot topic for quite some time since the launch of ChatGPT in November 2022. 

The benefits of AI, along with growing concerns of its legality, are heavily debated. With AI’s ability to generate entire articles and essays, a few notable media outlets took action to ensure that journalism and AI are kept in two separate spaces.

Newsrooms are blocking artificial intelligence from having access to their content. The New York Times, CNN and Reuters, among others, have blocked a specific tool from OpenAI, the parent company of ChatGPT, that grants the technology access to news content.

The Guardian, one of the many publications that blocked OpenAI, confirmed that it banned ChapGPT’s technology from accessing its content. A spokesperson for the media outlet said that artificial intelligence has a contradictory use to their terms and agreement.

“The scraping of intellectual property from the Guardian’s website for commercial purposes is, and has always been, contrary to our terms of service,” The Guardian wrote. “The Guardian’s commercial licensing team has many mutually beneficial commercial relationships with developers around the world, and looks forward to building further such relationships in the future.”

OpenAI responded to the action being taken against it, stating that access to news content can ensure its service’s accuracy.

“Allowing GPTBot to access your site can help AI models become more accurate and improve their general capabilities and safety,” OpenAI said in a blog post.

The New York Times updated its terms of service in August 2023. The new terms stated that it is prohibited to use the newsroom’s content for “training a machine learning or artificial intelligence (AI) system.”

Danielle Coffey, current president and chief executive of the News Media Alliance, told CNN about how alarmed media organizations have become because of technological advancements in recent years.

“I see a heightened sense of urgency when it comes to addressing the use, and misuse, of our content,” Coffey told CNN. “One publisher told me it is an existential threat. Another publisher told me there isn’t a business model with certain uses of A.I. … there is a sense of urgency to address this.”

AI usage in information searching may have a negative effect on the publishing industry if it is not properly addressed, according to CNN.

While publications including The New York Times are weighing legal retaliation against OpenAI, others have chosen not to publicly comment on the issue.

The Associated Press reportedly issued its own licensing deal with the AI developer. Key terms of the agreement have yet to be shared.

Some outlets have acted more discreetly by locking up their content in a protective vault until a more organized plan can be created.

Social media has also faced issues regarding the usage of AI. In July, Elon Musk imposed limits on his platform, “X,” formerly known as Twitter, in an effort to combat the high levels of data scraping by AI firms building their models. 

“Almost every company doing AI, from startups to some of the biggest corporations on Earth, was scraping vast amounts of data,” Musk tweeted.

Other entities that have blocked AI access include ESPN, ABC News and Vox Media.

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Jahlil Rush
Jahlil Rush, Production Assistant
Jahlil Rush is a Production Assistant for The Ticker.
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