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ChatGPT, artificial intelligence and the future of journalists

What will happen from here on?


Beatrice has already shed some light on the origins, potential and ultimate aims of ChatGPT, the techno trend of the moment. The technical details, the hidden choices of the design team and the darkest secrets about the conquest of the world by real or virtual robots will be explored later, if there is a chance...

But one of the aspects that seems to most intrigue insiders and even those who work in completely different professions - Repubblica carried out an interesting experiment with students from Luiss - concerns the impact of this automatic editor of articles, interviews, dossiers and in-depth studies on the work and very existence of journalists. The question that many inside and outside the editorial offices have been asking is as simple as it is decisive: “Will ChatGPT, or a more or less futuristic evolution of it, be able to completely supplant the work of journalists, rendering them de facto outdated and useless?”.

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Un post condiviso da la Repubblica (@larepubblica)

A number of analysts and regular readers have been quick to raise their eyebrows and tweet that, after all, this scenario has already occurred and that artificial intelligence will eliminate a number of annoying marginal details that human journalists tend to foreground. Certainly, all the disputes over fair remuneration, shifts, holidays, deontology would be overcome, with peace of mind for real and alleged editors.

As for the rest, as far as the production of texts and in-depth studies is concerned, will ChatGPT, or a more or less futuristic evolution of it, be able to definitively retire the category? The question remains open. Probably the drafting of articles for the web, strategically centred on keywords and various alchemies aimed at obtaining a good placement on search engines, could easily be contracted out to an artificial intelligence, which, moreover, does not bristle at questions of principle and calls for correctness and quality. As long as one accepts, as a principle, that anyone can write about any subject, without asking too many questions about privacy, sources, and the right data to consult. A picture that unfortunately also already characterises a certain number of journalists, who avoid even the slightest verification of what they write, launching extraordinary stories that then turn out to be enthralling but fanciful narratives rather than well-constructed real facts.

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Un post condiviso da SMR Social (@smrsocial)

ChatGPT, or a more or less futuristic evolution of it, can certainly fulfil the information demands of the moment: a text that is not overly complicated, full of keywords, written quickly, optimised to go viral and create debate and interactions on social networks. If some fake news escapes us, if unverified or controversial data is drawn on, if ethical issues are left on the sidelines, patience. It is possible that the difference with the current situation does not even jump out at you.

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Un post condiviso da SL KNOWN (@teshabro)

On closer inspection, artificial intelligence could insert itself, not it/itself but its role, into the ongoing debate on the function of the Order of Journalists and also on the opening up to professional figures mistakenly considered to be assimilated: the classic Italian shortcut for not tackling problems, preferring instead to go around them by looking for a makeshift remedy. But, paradoxically, it is precisely ChatGPT, or a more or less futuristic evolution of it, that could undermine the claims of social media managers, communicators and web programmers, demonstrating that it can replace precisely these figures and bringing the role of journalists and the need for an evolution of the profession centred on responsibility, quality and ethics back to the centre of reflection....

Image Arseny Togulev on Unsplash