One more step towards the replacement of humans by robots
Since the emergence of robotics and artificial intelligence, more and more jobs are disappearing. Surprisingly enough, journalism is one of the sectors newly affected by this automation of jobs. And Microsoft is one of the first companies that seems to want to replace journalists with robots.
REPLACING JOURNALISTS WITH IA: EFFECTS OF THE PANDEMIC OR MANAGERIAL CHOICE?
Microsoft plans to replace dozens of contract journalists working on the MSN site, on Microsoft News, and on its Microsoft Edge browser. These contract journalists used to collect information and references from the media, select titles, plan content, maintain editorial calendars for partner news sites, assign content to them, and publish articles on the Microsoft site. Now it will be automated systems that select and publish stories to replace outsourced journalists.
According to Microsoft, this is part of their business evaluation process. “Like all companies, we regularly evaluate our business,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a news release. “This can lead to increased investment in some areas and, from time to time, redeployment in others. These decisions are not the result of the current pandemic. “Although Microsoft says the layoffs are not directly related to the current coronavirus pandemic, it should be noted that media companies around the world have been hit hard by the decline in advertising revenues.
Microsoft has therefore been keen to justify its position and reassure itself that the new arrangements should help to increase investment in certain areas and open up new employment opportunities. According to the Seattle Times, Microsoft contract journalists were warned that their services would no longer be needed beyond 30 June. Only full-time journalists working for the company will keep their jobs, and it will be they who will now carry out the tasks that were formerly the responsibility of contractors and that AI cannot perform.
A RISKY DECISION ON THE PART OF MICROSOFT
Of course, the announcement of this news was far from delighting the journalists who will soon lose their jobs. One of them told The Guardian anonymously: “I spend all my time reading about how automation and AI are going to fill all our jobs, and here I am – AI has taken my job. “He also explained that Microsoft‘s decision was somewhat risky as the company had very strict editorial guidelines that a robot might not be able to follow.
It should be remembered that Microsoft has been in the information sector for more than 25 years. In particular, the MSN site was launched in 1995, and in 2018, Microsoft revealed that Microsoft News had “more than 800 editors working from 50 sites around the world”. These editors have been encouraged to gradually turn to the use of AI in their work. Thus, this new Microsoft decision is not really a great novelty, but it is the first time that the jobs of some employees have been affected. Moreover, it remains to be seen whether the use of AI to replace journalists will be effective.
Source : En gadget