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.

Has Earth’s Inner Core Shifted It’s Spin-Cycle…Again?

Thousands of kilometres beneath your feet, Earth’s interior might be doing something very weird. Many scientists think that the inner core spins faster than the rest of the planet — but sometime in the past decade, according to a study, it apparently stopped doing so…

“We were quite surprised,” say Yi Yang and Xiaodong Song, seismologists at Peking University in Beijing who reported the findings today [January 23rd] in Nature Geoscience.

The results could help to shine light on the many mysteries of the deep Earth, including what part the inner core plays in maintaining the planet’s magnetic field and in affecting the speed of the whole planet’s rotation — and thus the length of a day. But they are just the latest instalment in a long-running effort to explain the inner core’s unusual rotation, and might not be the final word on the matter…

Researchers discovered the inner core in 1936, after studying how seismic waves from earthquakes travel through the planet. Changes in the speed of the waves revealed that the planet’s core, which is about 7,000 kilometres wide, consists of a solid centre, made mostly of iron, inside a shell of liquid iron and other elements. As iron from the outer core crystallizes on the surface of the inner core, it changes the density of the outer liquid, driving churning motions that maintain Earth’s magnetic field…

Now, Yang and Song say that the inner core has halted its spin relative to the mantle. They studied earthquakes mostly from between 1995 and 2021, and found that the inner core’s super-rotation had stopped around 2009. They observed the change at various points around the globe, which the researchers say confirms it is a true planet-wide phenomenon related to core rotation, and not just a local change on the inner core’s surface.

Now, we ALL can feel unsteady on our feet.

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