The Online Journalism Award in 2020 went to artificial intelligence (AI). The AI, which has already begun writing texts in the media and replacing journalists, was awarded a journalism award for the first time.
The 2020 Online Journalism Award winner is an artificial intelligence system called Sophi, which is used by the Canadian national newspaper The Globe and Mail.
Artificial intelligence in the Canadian edition is responsible for 99% of the content. Sophi independently examines the content of the site every 10 minutes – all publications are analyzed automatically. The artificial intelligence then independently distributes materials into thematic sections, decides how many publications should be on each page and how dated the displayed text can be so that they are still interesting to readers. In addition, Sophi’s intelligent facial recognition technology ensures that the faces on the homepage reflect the diversity of Canada.
Artificial intelligence training was conducted by the newspaper staff based on previously written materials. At the same time, three sections on the site remained completely under the control of “live” journalists. Futhermore, the editorial board can cancel decisions made by Sophi about certain materials if the human editors do not agree with the opinion of artificial intelligence.
As the editor-in-chief of The Globe and Mail David Walmsley explained, artificial intelligence is not capable of completely replacing a person in journalism, but it can remove from the editorial staff the routine work of shaping simple news so that texts contribute to an increase in the number of subscribers and an increase in advertising revenues, while human journalists can concentrate on creating deeper and more complex publications.
We would also like to remind that, earlier it became known that Microsoft will replace journalists with artificial intelligence for the corporate news portal MSN, where the content will not be generated by real people, but by a special algorithm. This should not a surprise, as one of the most authoritative media in the world – the British newspaper “The Guardian” – has already published an article fully written by the neural network GPT-3. Meanwhile, Google has maintained an algorithmically generated news portal, Google News, since 2002 and millions of people have trusted these algorithms for the equivalent of their daily newspaper front page.