Tuesday, July 9, 2024

NY Times Sues OpenAI for Headline Writing and Editing | TOME


In the courtroom, the New York Times has taken a hard line against OpenAI. The newspaper sued the artificial intelligence startup alongside investor and partner Microsoft, alleging that OpenAI scraped articles without permission or compensation. The Times wants to hold OpenAI and Microsoft responsible for billions of dollars in damages.

Embracing AI Technology:

At the same time, the Times is also embracing OpenAI’s generative AI technology. The Times’s use of the technology came to light thanks to leaked code showing that it developed a tool that would use OpenAI to generate headlines for articles and “help apply The New York Times style guide” — performing functions that are normally undertaken by editors at the newspaper.

Media outlets are increasingly turning to artificial intelligence — using large language models, which learn from ingesting text to then generate language — to handle various tasks. AI can be employed, for example, to sort through large data sets. However, public-facing uses of AI have sometimes resulted in embarrassment, such as when Sports Illustrated deleted posts on its site after its readers exposed that some of its authors were AI-generated.

The Times and AI:

Like other outlets, the Times has not been shy about its use of AI. The website for the paper’s Research and Development team says, “Artificial Intelligence and journalism intersect in our reporting, editing and engagement with readers.” However, due to its regurgitative way of operating, many view AI in newsrooms with skepticism. There are concerns that AI could take away even more roles for journalists as the media industry sheds jobs.

The Leak and Lawsuits:

The Times code became public last month when an anonymous user posted a link to a collection of thousands of the New York Times’s GitHub repositories. The leak contains more than 6,000 repositories totaling more than 3 million files. The Times has spent $1 million on its suit alleging copyright infringement against OpenAI and Microsoft.

“Do Not Improvise”:

One of the New York Times’s AI projects, titled “OpenAI Styleguide,” is described in its accompanying documentation as a “prototype using OpenAI to help apply The New York Times style guide.” The project also includes a headline generator. The OpenAI Styleguide project is not the only instance the Times has experimented with using OpenAI for headline generation.

In conclusion, the New York Times’s lawsuit against OpenAI sheds light on the complexities of AI technology in newsrooms. While the newspaper is taking legal action against OpenAI for alleged copyright infringement, it is also actively experimenting with AI tools for headline generation and copy editing. As the media industry continues to evolve, the intersection of journalism and artificial intelligence raises important questions about ethics, job security, and the future of news production.

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