Microsoft has reportedly published – and retracted – an AI-generated article recommending people visit a Canadian food bank as a tourist attraction. The article “Headed to Ottawa? This is one you shouldn’t miss!” includes recommendations for catching a baseball game, honoring fallen soldiers at a war museum and… swinging by the Ottawa Food Bank. Paris Marx first called the story of X (formerly Twitter). “People who come to us have jobs and families to support, as well as expenses to pay,” reads the section AI wrote about the food bank section. “Life is hard. Consider entering it on an empty stomach.”
Before its retraction, the article featured Microsoft Start, the company’s AI-aggregated news service that will replace Microsoft News in 2021. After The Verge reported on the article and the not-so-appropriate recommendation about “entering it on an empty stomach,” Microsoft senior director Jeff Jones told the publication, “This article has been removed and we’re investigating how it was done through our review process.”
Microsoft really knocked it out of the park with AI-powered travel stories! If you’re visiting Ottawa, it highly recommends the Ottawa Food Bank and offers a great tip for tourists: “Consider going in on an empty stomach.” https://t.co/7bvGemDad2
– Paris Marx (@parismarx) August 17, 2023
The original URL now shows the message, “This page no longer exists. A new search page will load automatically.” The Verge uploaded screenshots of the first story to Imgur.
The author of the article is listed only as “Microsoft Travel,” suggesting that the real people may not have had anything to do with its creation. Microsoft Start’s “About Us” webpage claims it uses “human oversight” for algorithms that “comb hundreds of thousands of pieces of content sent by our partners” to help the company “understand dimensions such as novelty, category, topic type, opinion content. and potential popularity and publish according to the user’s preferences.” The Windows maker is reportedly laying off nearly 50 reporters from the division in 2020 as it transitions to AI-generated news.
Microsoft isn’t the first company to be overly enthusiastic about using AI-generated content. Earlier this year, CNET has published several articles explaining the flawed finance of artificial intelligence. Recently, GizmodoG/O Media’s parent company posted an AI-themed (also error-filled) Star Wars article on the site, which deputy editor James Whitbrook called “disgraceful, unpublishable, disrespectful .” As the Associated Press Continuing with measured caution in AI-assisted news coverage, other media outlets — including Microsoft’s news publishing arm — appear more comfortable cashing in on perfectly written articles. of AI, cleaning up the inevitable destruction after the fact.