‘AI not a replacement for reporters’: AP’s Julie Pace on ChatGPT job security worries

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Artificial intelligence is not a threat to journalism and ChatGPT is “not a replacement for reporters,” the Associated Press’ executive editor and senior vice president has said, as job redundancy concerns sweep the media industry.

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With the rapid development of ChatGPT and other language-based AI systems, many in creative industries fear that their jobs may be at risk. But AP Executive Editor Julie Pace’s comments bring reassurance for many journalists, who have been told their roles are far from an AI takeover.

Pace emphasized that the use of AI in journalism is not meant to replace human reporters but to augment their work. “AI is not a replacement for reporters,” she told Al Arabiya English in a recent interview.

“It’s a tool that can help them do their jobs more effectively.”

Although the incorporation of AI tools in journalism is still in its infancy, the industry veteran believes that the benefits of using these tools outweigh the risks.

“We see AI as an opportunity to improve the quality of our journalism, and we’re excited to explore its potential,” she said.

“We’ve used AI tools for quite a long time, actually, and we’ve used them to make our news organization faster and more efficient, to be able to just take things off the plate of our journalists that are very time-consuming, but not as high value, I would say.”

She explained that AI tools could be used to automate financial market reports, and sports scores, or with transcription and translation, making journalists more efficient by giving them more time to focus their time on original reporting.

“I’m all for that. I think where I don’t envision this going is replacing a full-time reporter with an AI box or a piece of technology,” Pace explained.

“There is no way you can substitute eyewitness journalism or the empathy and the connection that a human can make with another human and so I’m not particularly worried about replacing our staff with AI, but I am looking for opportunities to give them AI tools to make their jobs easier.”

AI tools are now seeping into newsrooms, with generative AI tools like ChatGPT leading the way.

ChatGPT can write high school essays, poetry, entire podcast episodes, and even almost pass the US medical licensing exam in mere seconds.

But its capabilities have recently been the subject of debate among professionals, particularly in creative industries. Many experts have expressed concerns that AI’s advanced capabilities, especially since ChatGPT’s launch in November of last year, could lead to job losses for copywriters, content creators, and technical writers.

Pace is considering the integration of several AI tools, including ChatGPT, but is approaching the decision with caution by being mindful of the rates of accuracy when it comes to research and fact-checking.

“We’ve seen some of these tools do full-blown stories or papers, but the level of accuracy is a bit mixed right now. For us, obviously, accuracy trumps everything and so it would be a bit risky for us, I think, at this stage to take a step down that road.”

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