The Guardian accuses Microsoft’s AI of damaging its status

The Guardian has accused Microsoft of damaging its model by including an offensive AI-generated ballot to one in every of its articles.

In a narrative reporting on the loss of life of 21-year-old Lilie James, whose physique was discovered with severe head accidents in Australia, the tech large’s AI requested readers to vote on the reason for her passing, giving them the choices of homicide, accident or suicide.

Livid readers reacted by describing the ballot as “disgusting” and calling for the immediate dismissal of the journalist – who had nothing to do with the ballot.

Why we care. Microsoft’s determination to make use of AI as a substitute of human writers is inflicting issues once more. It is a clear reminder of why companies ought to make the most of AI to assist human efforts slightly than exchange them. Neglecting this strategy may injury your model’s status and adversely have an effect on your search rankings.

How this occurred. Microsoft has agreements with main information organizations all over the world, similar to The Guardian and CNN, below which it could actually republish their articles in return for a portion of advert income. Nonetheless, when the tech large republished this story, its AI expertise routinely added the offensive ballot.

What The Guardian is saying. Anna Bateson, chief govt of the Guardian Media Group, wrote to Microsoft’s president, Brad Smith, accusing the corporate of upsetting James’ household, in addition to inflicting “important reputational injury” to each the newspaper and the journalist. She mentioned:

  • “That is clearly an inappropriate use of genAI [generative AI] by Microsoft on a probably distressing public curiosity story, initially written and revealed by Guardian journalists.”

Bateson then requested Smith to reassure her that:

  • “Microsoft is not going to apply experimental AI expertise on or alongside Guardian journalism with out the information writer’s approval; and Microsoft will all the time make it clear to customers when AI instruments are used to create further models and options subsequent to trusted information manufacturers just like the Guardian.”

What Microsoft is saying. A Microsoft spokesperson mentioned:

  • “We’ve got deactivated Microsoft-generated polls for all information articles and we’re investigating the reason for the inappropriate content material. A ballot mustn’t have appeared alongside an article of this nature, and we’re taking steps to assist forestall this type of error from reoccurring sooner or later.”

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Historical past repeating itself. This is not the primary time Microsoft’s generative AI has landed the tech large in bother. In September, the corporate was closely criticized after publishing an AI-generated obituary for NBA star Brandon Hunter.

The previous Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic participant handed away out of the blue this week, aged 42, after collapsing throughout a sizzling yoga class in Orlando, Fl. Shortly after his passing, followers have been shocked to see the daddy of three described as “ineffective” in an obituary revealed on MSN. The headline learn:

  • “Brandon Hunter ineffective at 42.”

Readers reacted by branding Microsoft “lazy” for leveraging AI to create articles and urged the corporate to rehire the editorial workers it changed with AI.

Deep dive. Learn the Guardian’s response in full for extra info.

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