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CNET's Article-Writing AI Has Already Issued Several Corrections

Welcome to journalism, robot overlords.

James Felton

James Felton

Senior Staff Writer

clockJan 18 2023, 16:25 UTC
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Two robot hands typing at a computer.

Try again, robot. Image credit: maxuser/shutterstock.com

Last week, Twitter user Gael Breton noticed that CNET had been publishing articles written by artificial intelligence (AI). Writing in a thread, Breton noted that the publisher had started to test "automation technology" around 11 November 2022, with several articles on personal finance authored by algorithms.

Connie Guglielmo, editor-in-chief at CNET, defended the experiment in a post for CNET, writing that the idea was "to see if the tech can help our busy staff of reporters and editors with their job to cover topics from a 360-degree perspective".

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"Will this AI engine efficiently assist them in using publicly available facts to create the most helpful content so our audience can make better decisions?" Guglielmo asked. "Will this enable them to create even more deeply researched stories, analyses, features, testing and advice work we're known for?"

Author “CNET Money” has written 78 articles so far, which CNET notes were all "reviewed, fact-checked and edited by our editorial staff". However, a few mistakes have slipped through. As spotted by Vice, the team at CNET have had to issue a correction to an explainer on compound interest, explaining several of the interest examples were incorrect.

"An earlier version of this article suggested a saver would earn $10,300 after a year by depositing $10,000 into a savings account that earns 3 percent interest compounding annually," the correction reads. "The article has been corrected to clarify that the saver would earn $300 on top of their $10,000 principal amount. A similar correction was made to the subsequent example."

Following a similar correction, the list continues.

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"The earlier version also incorrectly stated that one-year CDs only compound annually. The earlier version also incorrectly stated how much a consumer would pay monthly on a car loan with an interest rate of 4 percent over five years. The earlier version also incorrectly stated that a savings account with a slightly lower APR, but compounds more frequently, may be a better choice than an account with a slightly higher APY that compounds less frequently. In that example, APY has been corrected to APR."

After being approached by Vice for comment, a press office contact replied that they were reviewing all their AI-assisted pieces to make sure no other mistakes were made in the "editing process, as humans make mistakes too".

[H/T: Futurism]


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