The Associated Press (AP), one of the largest news wire services in the United States, is taking a stand against the use of AI-generated news articles. In a blog post, the AP’s VP of standards, Amanda Barrett, emphasized that while AI can be a valuable tool to improve journalistic work, it should not replace human journalists. The AP has implemented guidelines that allow staff to experiment with AI chatbots like ChatGPT, but they are not permitted to generate publishable content. Instead, any output from the AI must be treated as unvetted source material, requiring journalists to independently verify the information and find actual sources.
These new guidelines reflect the AP’s commitment to maintaining the veracity of its news reporting. Journalists are now expected to be extra cautious about the sources they use, conducting reverse image searches and seeking corroboration from multiple trusted sources. The AP’s decision to prioritize source verification comes after an open letter signed by major media organizations, including the AP, urging lawmakers to require AI developers to obtain consent before training their models on media content.
While the AP itself employs AI for certain tasks, such as generating articles on niche data-driven topics or summarizing stories for subhead blurbs, it has made it clear that it will not use AI to modify photos, videos, or audio. However, the AP has entered into a two-year agreement with OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, allowing OpenAI to train its language models on the AP’s extensive archive of content. In return, OpenAI has made philanthropic donations to journalism nonprofits.
The AP’s approach differs from that of other major newsrooms. For example, The New York Times recently updated its Terms of Service to prohibit the use of its articles for training AI models. Nevertheless, companies like Google continue to pursue partnerships with newsrooms to promote the use of AI tools. Some media outlets, such as CNET, have even experimented with fully AI-generated articles, though these attempts have been criticized for their inaccuracies.
The AP’s influence extends far beyond the United States, with its content being republished by over 1,000 smaller news outlets and hosting numerous bureaus worldwide. It is widely relied upon for its writing style guide, the AP Stylebook. Whether other news organizations will follow the AP’s lead in rejecting AI-generated articles remains to be seen. However, the AP’s stance reaffirms its commitment to producing reliable, accurate, and human-driven news content in an era of rapidly advancing AI technology.