If you haven’t tried it yet, go and test out OpenAI’s ChatGPT – it's scarily good at writing. It will write a semi-original article (the information will be taken from internet sources but it passes plagiarism checkers just fine), cite sources within the text, and the grammar is almost spot on. The AI is so good, in fact, that CNET has been publishing entire articles written by AI on their platform for months.
Starting around November 2022, tech and news outlet CNET has been employing “automation technology” to write financial explainer articles, with a small little dropdown note explaining that a human did not write the content. While CNET is not exactly hiding it, it went largely unnoticed until Twitter user Gael Breton pointed it out in a tweet on Wednesday, as Futurism notes.
“For now, it's a small-scale test as we only see 72 results disclosed as written by AI,” writes Breton in the thread.
“And it looks like Google is not giving a s**t about it, rewarding several of these pages with great search traffic. Soooo.. Is AI content ok now?”
It’s a good question – will Google begin cracking down on AI content, or will the top pages consist of content that is rapidly automated and likely well-optimized for SEO? Google has previously said they will be attempting to prevent AI content from flooding their site, but to do so, Google would first have to find a way to identify such content – which would be a mammoth task without the large writing in bold now found on CNET articles.
The CNET author “CNET Money” is the automated author in question and is responsible for 73 explainer articles around finance, including “Overdraft Fees vs. Nonsufficient Funds Fees: What's the Difference?” and “What Is Zelle and How Does It Work?”. Each article is checked by editorial staff (humans) to make sure there’s no nonsense in there, but the main bulk is drawn up from AI. Check for yourself, it’s seriously impressive.
AI has the potential to swiftly infiltrate a huge number of writing industries, with almost perfect blog posts and undergraduate essays just one prompt away. Schools in the US are trying to ban their use in academics, though it remains unclear how successful that will be and whether anyone will produce a reliable way to distinguish AI-generated content. One thing’s for sure – this is just the start.