After suing OpenAi and Microsoft, the New York Times enters the artificial intelligence business: the Old Lady in Gray is about to open a desk that will explore possible uses of AI in the work of editorial staff. The team will need to focus on “journalists' use of artificial intelligence and how the Times is presented to readers,” the newspaper's new head of AI initiatives, Zach Seward, wrote in a memo to employees he took over. reading The Verge.
To this end, the Times will hire a computer learning expert, a software engineer, a designer and a couple of journalists: “The team will interface with other working groups in the news, product and technology sectors to develop the best ideas, from prototype to production”.
The New York Times will never be produced by machines, however: “As excited as we are to bring the tools of artificial intelligence to the enterprise, we firmly believe that our journalism will always be produced, written and edited by expert journalists ” Seward proclaimed.
The New York Times has had a contentious relationship with AI and was one of the first publications to block OpenAi web crawlers' explorations of its content last summer, initially seeking an amicable solution. The decision later resulted in legal action against OpenAI and its largest investor, Microsoft.
The charge, filed on New Year's Eve, was copyright infringement for the unauthorized use of millions of his articles to train chatbots, including ChatGPT and Copilot. The legal action had opened a new front in the battle that has been going on for years between Big Tech and the media industry on the web, pitting one of the influential American newspapers against Sam Altman, a pioneer of artificial intelligence at the helm of a giant that is worth almost 100 billion dollars.
Many other publications have meanwhile begun to explore whether and how to bring artificial intelligence on board. As the Associated Press did in July, Axel Springer, the German publisher that publishes Politico and Business Insider, also entered into a licensing agreement with OpenAI in November to share content and explore the use of generative intelligence for data collection of news.
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