CNET’s Article-Writing AI Is Already Publishing Very Dumb Errors

A robot from the Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Systems (AIIS) laboratory of Italy's National Interuniversity Consortium for Computer Science (CINI) is displayed at the 7th edition of the Maker Faire 2019, the greatest European event on innovation, on October 18, 2019 in Rome. (Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP via Getty Images)

At a glance

  • Last week, we reported that the prominent technology news site CNET had been quietly publishing articles generated by an unspecified “AI engine.”
  • The news sparked outrage. Critics pointed out that the experiment felt like an attempt to eliminate work for entry-level writers, and that the accuracy of current-generation AI text generators is notoriously poor.
  • The fact that CNET never publicly announced the program, and that the disclosure that the posts were bot-written was hidden away behind a human-sounding byline — “CNET Money Staff” — made it feel as though the outlet was trying to camouflage the provocative initiative from scrutiny.

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