In an unprecedented move by tech giant Microsoft, dozens of their journalists are set to be replaced by robots and automated systems.
According to BBC News, Microsoft is planning on replacing dozens of journalists with robots. To be clear, they will be replacing the journalists who curate stories and articles rather than the ones who write them. Microsoft has stated that they will no longer be tasking journalists with the job of curating articles and news, and will instead be relying on artificial intelligence.
According to the statement made by Microsoft, the decision is part of an ongoing business evaluation, and has nothing to do with the current COVID-19 pandemic. The same statement goes on to say that only contract journalists will be replaced. Full time journalists will remain employed at this time.
A contract journalist for Microsoft told reporters that being replaced by a machine is demoralising. Others warn that artificial intelligence may be unfamiliar with the policies and procedures that affect article curation. Some even say that this unfamiliarity could lead to “inappropriate” stories coming down the pipe.
The majority of contract journalists who are set to lose their jobs are currently employed by PA Media, a company based in the UK. One of these journalists expressed to reporters that he’d always read about how machines would take over jobs. He just didn’t realise it may take his.
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Unfortunately for people like these contract journalists, other tech giants like Google are also starting to test artificial intelligence. As of now Google is only in the investment phase.