Microsoft has replaced humans with artificial intelligence as the company sacked dozens of journalists and installed artificial intelligence software in their place.
The company has told the employees who manage the news homepages on Microsoft’s MSN website and its Edge browser which are used by billions everyday have been directed to resign as they will be replaced by robots to do their jobs.
According to reports, Microsoft asked about 27 employees who had been employed by PA Media – formerly the Press Association – to resign in about a month after the company decided to replace them with artificial intelligence for functions such as selection, editing and to curate news articles on its homepages.
Reports said that the employees were informed about the company’s decision of ending the contract they had with PA Media and that this decision was taken at a short notice in line with the shift globally to move away from use of humans and making use of artificial intelligence for news update automatically.
“I spend all my time reading about how automation and AI is going to take all our jobs, and here I am – AI has taken my job,” o staff member who worked on the team reportedly told the media. The individual was not named.
The person who is currently employed with the company has also said that the decision of Microsoft to use software instead of humans was risky because current team doing the job were careful to stick to “very strict editorial guidelines” that helped to make sure that the no violent or inappropriate content was not presented to the users when they open their browsers which is specifically important for the younger users of the browser.
While not reporting any original content on the browsers, the Microsoft team still exercised editorial control while choosing news stories that were produced by other news organizations. The team members edited content and even headlines where appropriate so that they fit the format of the browser. The articles were then hosted on Microsoft’s website and the tech shared revenues from advertising for the articles with the original publishers.
Since the new articles were curated manually, therefore the headlines were ensured to be clear and appropriate for the format. That also helped in the spread of political opinions and to avoid untrustworthy stories. At the same time, interesting articles from smaller publishing companies were also highlighted.
According to reports, some of the journalists now facing the prospect of losing their jobs had extensive experience of working in the news industry. And for many this job profile offered a chance to set foot into the industry and get a job in an industry that has been recently facing a string of job cuts. Those losing the jobs are going to find it hr dot get a new job because the entire industry is now looking to cut costs.
Currently just a couple of teams from Microsoft are set to lose their jobs, but according to reports, other teams across the world doing the same job are expected to be impacted by the decision of the company to replace humans by robots for its news sites.
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)