G/O Media, the thrice-sold remains of the Gawker blog empire, recently announced that it was planning to publish AI-generated articles–much to the annoyance of its writers and editors, ever at odds with the management there. Items have begun appearing, including a "sports team rich list" at Deadspin which reads like a child rewrote Forbes' one from memory, and an error-strewn Star Wars item at Gizmodo/io9. Editors were apparently bypassed and did not review the work before publication. The dismal quality, worse than 2010s content-farm chum, speaks for itself–and for the future of media, it seems.
"As you may have seen today, an AI-generated article appeared on io9," James Whitbrook, deputy editor at io9 and Gizmodo, tweeted about the situation. "I was informed approximately 10 minutes beforehand, and no one at io9 played a part in its editing or publication."
Whitbrook said he sent a statement to G/O Media along with "a lengthy list of corrections." In part, his statement said, "The article published on io9 today rejects the very standards this team holds itself to on a daily basis as critics and as reporters. It is shoddily written, it is riddled with basic errors; in closing the comments section off, it denies our readers, the lifeblood of this network, the chance to publicly hold us accountable, and to call this work exactly what it is: embarrassing, unpublishable, disrespectful of both the audience and the people who work here, and a blow to our authority and integrity."
I experimented with GPT to see if it could write useful posts. I found that even single-paragraph summaries of news articles were so bad, with that distinctive blend of voiceless banality, repetition and occasional hallucination, that it was just a waste of time. To hit "publish" on it presumes what readers will put up with, but it's also a last ride of the nuke into what advertisers will put up with, too.