If it seems like overnight artificial intelligence (AI) suddenly popped up all around, you are not alone. We now regularly read stories about AI, and AI is quickly becoming our own human assistant in increasingly more things we interface with, including finishing text messages for you on your phone. In fact, AI has rushed into our lives so quickly we really haven’t had the time to properly sort and process what’s good, bad, or dangerous — it’s just suddenly here. One new, and rather surprising place AI has recently appeared is in magazine articles previously written by real humans. This week it was reported that Sports Illustrated magazine, a staple of my childhood, has been publishing articles you assume are being authored by humans, but in fact have been created by AI generated writers who have their own name and professional head-shot picture. With so much today riding on ad revenue generated by webpage clicks and affiliate links, businesses are realizing that they need to “flood the market” with as much content that can be clicked on to drive revenues — even if it’s all fake.
It’s all about clicks
As the internet grows and more content is available by the minute, businesses that rely on advertising are finding themselves in increasingly tougher positions. People can go anywhere for their news, watering down previous news/media organizations who used to control the market entirely. Today, however, the tried-and-true resources, like Sports Illustrated, find that they need to do more in order to collect data supporting the popularity of their website, as well as the value of the ads on their webpage. Human-written articles can be expensive, AI is not. See where this is going?
Why pay a seasoned, veteran writer to put together an article with the hopes it goes viral, when you can tee up AI and within seconds have an entire batch of articles created? And now that you can apparently quickly create a fake face, name, and bio to go with the article…..walla! You now have very cheap content that could go viral (same as a real writer), and with increased viral click-data, the price of your ads increases as a result.
For some people, AI articles written by an artificial avatar is perfectly fine, but not everyone is on board. Some consumers are turned off by the click-ad-revenue mode that rules content today, while others simply do not trust the validity and accuracy of AI generated content. And yet still others are concerned that while AI might neatly sum up an article, it does not have the emotional capacity of a real human, nor does it have the ability to understand the nuance the expert of a chosen field would possess. And perhaps worst of all, many people simply feel deceived learning AI wrote the article they just read, and not a human as they had trusted and assumed.
You might want to take pause today to examine the many ways AI is entering your life, including in places you might not readily expect (i.e. Sports Illustrated magazine). The growth of AI was inevitable, but not everyone expected it to become so widespread so quickly, or to appear in ways that deceive consumers. AI is cheap, but cheap isn’t always what you are looking for especially as this applies to our health, safety, and wellness. Continue to be a critical consumer and make sure to vet the sources where you receive your news, especially when it comes to serious news subjects and personal decisions.