The Guardian reports that German tabloid Bild has announced that due to a corporate reorganization, approximately two hundred positions are being made redundant in favor of artificial intelligence.
Bild CEO Mathias Döpfner predicted that AI would soon be better at the “aggregation of information” than human journalists and said that only publishers who created “the best original content” – such as investigative journalism and original commentary – would survive. A growing list of digital media outlets, including BuzzFeed, the Daily Mirror and Daily Express in England, tech website Cnet, and Men's Journal have all been reported to be investigating the potential of artificial intelligence in journalism.
Several of these outlets claim that more than half of the articles AI generates need corrections by humans before publication. In April, the publishers of the German weekly magazine Die Aktuelle sacked its editor and apologized to the family of Michael Schumacher after it ran an “interview” with the Formula One legend that had been entirely generated by AI.
The seven-times F1 world champion, 54, has not been seen in public since December 2013, when he suffered a serious brain injury in a skiing accident in the French Alps. His family have launched legal action against the magazine’s publishers.
The move was described in an email to Bild employees as an attempt to move the tabloid towards being a purely digital publication, reducing the number of regional editions it prints from 18 to 12.
The German Journalists’ Association (DJV) has criticized Springer’s plans, warning that job cuts at Bild would “slaughter the group’s cash cow.” The move was “not just antisocial towards employees, but also extremely stupid economically,” it said.
A Bild spokesperson said: “We believe in the opportunities of AI. We want to use them at Axel Springer to make journalism better and maintain independent journalism in the long term.”
“We are approaching the topic with an open mind and currently have many initiatives with which we are exploring areas of application for AI for our journalistic brands, both in the production processes of the editorial offices and in relation to the reader experience.”