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16 July, 2024
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AP's groundbreaking AI guidelines for newsrooms

AP's approach to weaving AI tools into editorial integrity


The Associated Press (AP) has taken a step toward incorporating generative artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT into its operations. The news agency intends to update its AP Stylebook to reflect the changing dynamics of newsrooms in this technological era. Amanda Barrett, the Vice President for Standards and Inclusion at AP, emphasized that while AI tools have the potential to improve accuracy and efficiency, they should be used thoughtfully, given the associated risks such as spreading misinformation and concerns about user privacy.

The newly issued guidelines highlight the necessity for human oversight and caution when utilizing generative AI. They acknowledge the potential pitfalls of AI, including the production of inaccurate information and the facilitation of disinformation. Although the AP has a licensing agreement with OpenAI, the developer of ChatGPT, the organization limits its staff from employing the technology for creating content meant for publication. Generated AI content is treated as unverified source material, subject to the same editorial scrutiny and sourcing standards as any other information before being published.

The guidelines advocate for the responsible use of AI, suggesting that AI-generated media elements, such as images, should not be manipulated. It also recommends verifying AI-generated images prior to dissemination. Journalists are encouraged to exercise skepticism and adhere to verification practices similar to those used in traditional reporting. The guidance underscores the role of AI tools as supplementary to human journalistic expertise, rather than a replacement.

AP has been exploring the integration of AI since 2014 and has played a pioneering role in helping other newsrooms experiment with AI technologies. The release of these guidelines comes at a time when the news industry is grappling with the ethical and practical implications of AI adoption. The nonprofit organization Partnership on AI is also working on guidance to assist newsrooms in responsibly utilizing generative AI, offering insights into procurement, metrics, and ethical considerations.

Barrett highlighted the significance of these updated guidelines in conjunction with the evolving AP Stylebook. She stressed the importance of scrutinizing claims made by AI developers and focusing on practical applications that benefit readers. The AP intends to continuously assess the impact and advancements of AI technology to shape its future standards.

[With information sourced from Poynter]

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