The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Opinion | Artificial intelligence is a great tool, but not a journalist

AI is a valuable tool for journalists, but its limitations deter it from being able to replace human writers.
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Journalists and writers fear artificial intelligence will take their jobs in the news industry, but AI isn’t going to be competition.

According to NBC News, Google asserts that its AI tools are not intended to “replace the essential role journalists have in reporting, creating, and fact-checking.” AI can be a great help to beginner writers by fixing grammar mistakes, analyzing data, and overall lessening the workload for humans. Artificial intelligence is a tool some journalists use today, but it cannot replace a standalone writer itself.

I will admit I was scared about my future in this career when I heard about the rampant use of AI in Hollywood writing rooms and the increase in AI-generated news articles. However, as I learned about the limitations of artificial intelligence, I understood that it doesn’t have the capability to be imaginative or opinionated without plagiarizing human beings and cannot distinguish fact from fiction. AI can mimic human writing, but it cannot entirely replace us.

Journalists and writers should simply embrace AI as a tool rather than fearing it. Online tech information database Techopedia explains the use of AI in journalism, stating that machine-learning algorithms can “identify trends and patterns” in mass amounts of data, saving time for journalists to evolve their own writing.

While current technology is not capable of fully imitating human writing, it still has the potential to be useful to human writers. AI can help writers research and analyze content and save them lots of time in doing so. Humans still need to do the writing, but the collection and analysis of data could be made quicker for them.

Additionally, AI helps news organizations cater their content to their audiences better and reach more precise target audiences.

Although AI is used by content-farming news companies to generate material, the content plagiarizes others and lacks originality. Because AI tools like ChatGPT are largely trained with information found on the Internet, everything they generate is based on preexisting knowledge. They cannot create anything original. For this reason, the idea of AI taking journalists’ careers is not a huge threat today.

According to tech news website Gizmodo, many news companies have used AI to plagiarize the work of human journalists. One example of this is when CNET’s AI “journalist” was caught plagiarizing the work of multiple other news outlets, like Forbes. Gizmodo also reported how content farms often simply make up news stories and earn high ad revenue. They gave an example of which published a false article announcing the death of President Joe Biden, which was self-reported by the AI bot.

Tacky mistakes like these from lazy news outlets do not point to AI as a major threat to the journalism industry. It shows the extent of AI’s ability to report news or write a story is, at best, copycat journalism.

Even when it comes to data-heavy reporting, readers usually look for comprehensive analyses to digest the information presented to them, which is something only a human writer can do. AI does not have the human abilities to implement critical thinking, context, interpretation, storytelling ability, adaptability to changes, or ethical judgment.

In conclusion, AI is a game-changer for journalists and writers as it will challenge us to be more analytic, in-depth, and thought-provoking in every piece. Instead of being afraid of AI, I believe it’s healthy for journalists to use it in their work. AI cannot replace the talent, creativity, or in-depth analysis that journalists and writers put into their work.

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About the Contributor
Natalie Nye, Opinions Columnist
Natalie Nye is a fourth-year Journalism/Mass Communication student with a minor in art at the Univeristy of Iowa. She is an opinions columnist at The Daily Iowan and a freelance writer for Little Village magazine. She also has her own blog, called A Very Public Blog.