The rise and fall of BNN Breaking, an AI-generated news channel

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A closer look, however, would have revealed that individual BNN journalists were publishing long stories as many as multiple times a minute, writing in generic prose familiar to anyone who has tinkered with the AI ​​chatbot ChatGPT. BNN’s “About Us” page featured an image of four children looking at a computer, some bearing the gnarled fingers that are a telltale sign of an AI-generated image.

The ease with which the site and its errors entered the ecosystem for legitimate news highlights a growing concern: AI-generated content is disrupting, and often poisoning, the supply of information online.

Many traditional news organizations are already struggling for traffic and advertising dollars. For years they have competed for clicks with journalism about the pink slime, so named for its resemblance to liquefied beef, an unappetizing, low-cost food additive.

Low-paid freelancers and algorithms have churned out much of the fake news content, favoring speed and volume over accuracy. Now, experts say, AI could amplify the threat, easily ripping off journalists’ jobs and allowing error-filled forgeries to circulate even more widely, as has already happened with travel guides, celebrity biographies and obituaries. .

The result is a machine-powered ouroboros that could squeeze out sustainable, trustworthy journalism. While AI-generated stories are often poorly constructed, they can still outperform source material on search engines and social platforms, which often use AI to rank content. Artificially elevated stories can therefore divert advertising spend, which is increasingly allocated via automated auctions without human oversight.

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