A news site used AI to write articles. It was a journalistic disaster.

Artificial intelligence has been deployed to handle facial recognition, recommend movies, and auto-complete your typing. The news that CNET had been using it to generate entire stories, however, sent a ripple of anxiety through the news media for its seeming threat to journalists. The robot-brained yet conversational ChatGPT can produce copy without lunch or bathroom breaks and never goes on strike.

Until last week, CNET had coyly attributed its machine-written stories to “CNET Money Staff.” Only by clicking on the byline would a reader learn that the article was produced by “automation technology” — itself a euphemism for AI.

The company came clean after a sharp-eyed marketing executive named Gael Breton called attention to the labels on Twitter. CNET subsequently changed the bylines to “CNET Money,” added some clarification (“this article was assisted by an AI engine”) and further stipulated that the stories were “thoroughly edited and fact-checked by an editor on our editorial staff.” —MSN/WashPost

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