AI(bot) Journalist appears to be a Plagiarist

The prominent tech news site CNET‘s attempt to pass off AI-written work keeps getting worse. First, the site was caught quietly publishing the machine learning-generated stories in the first place. Then the AI-generated content was found to be riddled with factual errors. Now, CNET‘s AI also appears to have been a serial plagiarist — of actual humans’ work…

Futurism found that a substantial number of errors had been slipping into the AI’s published work. CNET, a titan of tech journalism that sold for $1.8 billion back in 2008, responded by issuing a formidable correction and slapping a warning on all the bot’s prior work, alerting readers that the posts’ content was under factual review. Days later, its parent company Red Ventures announced in a series of internal meetings that it was temporarily pausing the AI-generated articles at CNET and various other properties including Bankrate, at least until the storm of negative press died down.

Now, a fresh development may make efforts to spin the program back up even more controversial for the embattled newsroom. In addition to those factual errors, a new Futurism investigation found extensive evidence that the CNET AI’s work has demonstrated deep structural and phrasing similarities to articles previously published elsewhere, without giving credit. In other words, it looks like the bot directly plagiarized the work of Red Ventures competitors, as well as human writers at Bankrate and even CNET itself.

I think we need some marching music, here and now. AI bots marching out of the office…and actual human writers coming in the door to produce real copy. Or…at a minimum…noting the differences between the two.

CNET Has Been Publishing AI-Written Articles for Months

CNET reporter Jackson Ryan published an article last month describing how ChatGPT, an AI that can generate human-sounding text, would affect journalists and the news industry…

“It definitely can’t do the job of a journalist,” Ryan wrote of ChatGPT. “To say so diminishes the act of journalism itself.”…

The article said ChatGPT isn’t coming for journalists’ jobs just yet, but the very publication that ran Ryan’s article has been quietly publishing articles written by AI since November, according to Futurism and online marketer Gael Breton. The AI-written CNET articles bear the byline CNET Money Staff which is identified on the outlet’s website as “AI Content published under this author byline is generated using automation technology.”

CNET responded in a linked statement via email, saying the Money editorial team was trying out the technology “to see if there’s a pragmatic use case for an AI assist on basic explainers around financial services topics.”

I always love the corporate use of “pragmatic”. Usually means “have we been caught at it – or not?”

Personally, I have no beef with use of technology advancing journalism or anything else. Just don’t try to smuggle it past consumers

Haven’t noticed, yet? Drones already delivering pizza.


A self-piloting Zipline drone drops a package on a test flight

Drone deliveries could be dropping into your life, too, as the technology involved matures and expands beyond isolated test projects. In 2023, drones could replace vans and your own trip to the store when you need medicine, takeout dinners, cordless drill batteries or dishwasher soap.

Today, Alphabet Wing drones reach hundreds of thousands of people in Australia, Finland and Texas and will expand its service in 2023, according to Jonathan Bass, who runs marketing for the business. “I would expect those to go into the millions,” he said of the number of people Wing will be able to reach.

Today, Alphabet Wing drones reach hundreds of thousands of people in Australia, Finland and Texas and will expand its service in 2023, according to Jonathan Bass, who runs marketing for the business. “I would expect those to go into the millions,” he said of the number of people Wing will be able to reach.

Looking forward to the projected rapid expansion. With increased availability over recent years, our pickup and delivery orders have increased dramatically. Mostly grocery shopping. And I see every reason for this sort of option – if affordable – to increase share and frequency of deliveries.

Some say…”Electric Vehicles are bringing out the worst in us”

American car executives keep insisting that there is no trade-off between saving the planet and having a hell of a good time behind the wheel. “What I find particularly gratifying,” Ford’s executive chair, Bill Ford, said in April as he unveiled his company’s new electric truck, “is not only is this a green F-150, but it’s a better F-150 … You’re actually gaining things that the internal combustion engine doesn’t have.” Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors, sounded equally bullish in a recent social-media post: “Once you’ve experienced an [electric vehicle] and all it has to offer—the torque, handling, performance, capability—you’re in.”

The pitch is enticing, but it raises a few questions. Is the electric F-150 Lightning “better” than the conventional F-150 if its added weight and size deepen the country’s road-safety crisis? And how, exactly, are electric-vehicle drivers going to use the extra power that companies are handing them?…

Converting the transportation system from fossil fuels to electricity is essential to addressing climate change. But automakers’ focus on large, battery-powered SUVs and trucks reinforces a destructive American desire to drive something bigger, faster, and heavier than everyone else.

And that question raised in conjunction with what smallish discussion there is among American consumers about battery-electric cars…sounds like, feels like, every discussion I’ve wandered into about more power, different power methods, in the last seventy years of my life. Not that the discussion originated with me. That just covers the time on this wee planet I’ve spent as a car nut, a hot rodder, sports car jockey and rally car navigator.

I honestly feel it’s over-emphasized in the article. Excepting me, my immediate and even somewhat-extended portions of our family are fairly representative consumers of automotive gear. Most of our vehicles are US-made cars and pickup trucks. They already include a few hybrids…usually driven as designed with a significant portion of all driving done on electric power. We can announce our “gas mileage” is 50 or 70 or 90 miles per gallon (today, in fact) when we’re out running errands to town in my wife’s Ford Maverick Hybrid.

What I see of the folks in our small community driving hybrids from the host of brands already midway to full-electric commitment, our driving styles haven’t changed a jot from prior. The same holds true of the few Teslas in the neighborhood. Aside from that subtly different nose, that crew is mostly identifiable by the sudden sprouting of solar panels atop their garages.

CNET comes out about publishing AI-written articles for months

The AI-written CNET articles bear the byline CNET MONEY STAFF which is identified on the outlet’s website as “AI Content published under this author byline is generated using automation technology.”

The first article written by CNET Money Staff was published on November 11 with the headline, “What is a credit card charge-off?” Since then, the news site has published 73 AI-generated articles, but the outlet says on its website that a team of editors is involved in the content “from ideation to publication. Ensuring that the information we publish and the recommendations we make are accurate, credible, and helpful to you is a defining responsibility for what we do.”

The outlet says they will continue to publish each article with “editorial integrity” and says, “Accuracy, independence, and authority remain key principles of our editorial guidelines.”

You betcha!

Car Companies Are Copying One Thing Tesla Always Does Right

Auto manufacturers are entering an arms race of electrification, hawking concept EVs with increasingly luxurious cabins, self-driving driving assistance features, and gargantuan batteries capable of unnecessarily long driving distances. These defining features help brands stand out in a sea of compact crossover EVs, but one thing is common between them: the public charging experience sucks. At the Consumer Electronics Show 2023, some manufacturers announced plans to change that.

EV adoption is expected to grow to 29.5 percent of all new car sales in 2030, up from roughly 3.4 percent in 2021.

But explosive growth has a drawback – it creates more demand for the paltry public charging infrastructure available in most of the U.S. As a result, Mercedes-Benz and Stellantis are angling to get ahead of the problem by developing their own charging networks tailored toward its customers.

Drivers arriving at broken public charging stations are an increasingly common story on social media. Although most EV owners refuel at their home, more apartment dwellers are opting for EVs despite not having a dedicated charging spot, and most drivers need to venture beyond their usual haunts once in a while and into areas where stations may be scarce. Worse, the few that are available may be broken when they get there.

These charging fails aren’t just bad for owners – they could become cautionary tales that sour future buyers on a technology into which automotive manufacturers are pouring billions of dollars. One way to protect that investment is to take control of the public charging experience.

Getting ahead of the curve not only works driving down the road…not a bad idea in business, as well.

1000 airliners given another year to fix outdated altimeters

BTW. They’ve already had 2 years.

The Federal Aviation Administration will give airlines another year to fix or replace airplane altimeters that can’t filter out cellular transmissions from outside their allotted frequencies…the FAA proposed a deadline of February 1, 2024, to replace or retrofit faulty altimeters, which are used by airplanes to measure altitude.

Out of 7,993 airplanes on the US registry, the FAA said it “estimates that approximately 180 airplanes would require radio altimeter replacement and 820 airplanes would require addition of radio altimeter filters to comply with the proposed modification requirement.” The total estimated cost of compliance is $26 million…

“Some radio altimeters may already demonstrate tolerance to the 5G C-Band emissions without modification,” the FAA said. “Some may need to install filters between the radio altimeter and antenna to increase a radio altimeter’s tolerance. For others, the addition of a filter will not be sufficient to address interference susceptibility; therefore, the radio altimeter will need to be replaced with an upgraded radio altimeter.”

These asshats have been making the required changes for 2 years. Haven’t finished, yet. Bet it would be all done if profits were in question…instead of some old-fashioned worries about not crashing into a frigging mountain.

Who’s putting up mystery antennas in Utah?

Strange antennas have appeared in the foothills around Salt Lake City and authorities have no idea what they are or who put them up…first reported by KSLTV 5 in Utah, people first began noticing the antennas a year ago. They’re simple machines made up of a LoRa fiberglass antenna, a locked battery pack, and a solar panel to power it. The Salt Lake City public lands department has been pulling them down as they find them, and told KSLTV that there have been as many as a dozen.

It’s illegal to place structures on public lands without permission and some of the antennas have appeared on steep peaks. In one instance, the removal of an antenna required a team of five people. Other antennas were found on land managed by the University of Utah and the Forest Service.

Cue the theremin.