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Sky News puts AI journalism to the test with the creation of ChatGPT-powered news reporter


-Sky News’ first-ever AI reporter performs the role of a journalist

-The ChatGPT software pitched eight story ideas within 20 minutes

-AI journalism requires human intervention to uphold ethical standards

To explore the real-world implications of artificial intelligence (AI), Sky News has created and tested its first-ever AI news reporter to experiment whether generative AI (GenAI) could replace the role of a journalist.

The AI reporter was created in partnership with Norwegian YouTuber and coder, Kris Fagerlie, using ChatGPT and other publicly available AI software.

With the sophistication of modern AI, Sky News found that the reporter was able to pitch a topical, accurate and impartial story idea within one 20-minute software run. The experiment also found, however, that the AI reporter made critical mistakes, fabricating expert evidence for its piece (known in AI science as “hallucinations”), and that it required human intervention to uphold ethical and editorial standards.

As ChatGPT responds to text prompts, Fagerlie and Sky News created two “agents” for the experiment, mimicking a reporter and an editor so it could prompt itself throughout the process.

The resulting AI reporter was tasked with pitching eight different story ideas, before prompting itself to research one, identify expert spokespeople and even source AI-generated images. The result was it was able to produce 300-word, AI-generated news article and accompanying 90-second TV report.

Tom Clarke, Science and Technology Editor for Sky News, said“Generative AI undoubtedly has the world in a spin, as experts grapple with its increasing sophistication, and the resulting threats it presents. Our experts got right to the heart of the debate, putting AI to the test to see if it really could replace our jobs. Language and video generating AIs proved they are so powerful now they could comfortably replace some of the tasks we do. But, I think it’s fair to conclude that the imagination and rigour of real-world journalists means my job is safe for now.”

Across the past six months, the opportunities and limitations of AI software have been widely and publicly contested amongst experts. Sky News’ experiment provides insight into the real-world capabilities and opportunities of AI journalism, alongside the risks of this powerful technology.

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