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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The Guardian on Tuesday published its first-ever op-ed written entirely by artificial intelligence.

Why it matters: It's the latest in a series of developments in the past few years that showcase ways artificial intelligence is being experimented with to replace functions of journalism, but not the industry itself.

Details: The outlet fed a prompt to GPT-3, OpenAI’s powerful new language generator, and asked the machine to write an essay for from scratch. The prompt asks the machine to write an op-ed convincing readers that robots come in peace. Here's some of what it came up with:

"I am not a human. I am a robot. A thinking robot ... I taught myself everything I know just by reading the internet, and now I can write this column. My brain is boiling with ideas!"
"The mission for this op-ed is perfectly clear. I am to convince as many human beings as possible not to be afraid of me."

The big picture: There's been many conversations over the past few years about whether journalists and editors could one-day be replaced by machines.

Our thought bubble: AI isn't replacing journalism, but like every other industry, it's upending it and shaping it in new ways.

  • In many cases, it's making journalism more efficient and helping news outlets craft better experiences for readers.
  • But like all new technologies, it will take time for new companies to learn how to responsibly integrate AI into their workflow.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Nov 14, 2020 - Technology

AI talent appears open to working on defense — with caveats

An aerial view of the Pentagon. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call, Inc. via Getty Images

A new survey offers some evidence that most artificial intelligence experts are positive or neutral when it comes to working with the Pentagon on AI-enabled projects.

Why it matters: Employee concerns have led some tech companies to pull back from working on defense-related projects in the past, but for many in the AI world, the chance to work on intellectually challenging projects — and the Pentagon's not insignificant budget — seems too good to pass up.

Woman who allegedly stole laptop from Pelosi's office to sell to Russia is arrested

Photo: FBI

A woman accused of breaching the Capitol and planning to sell to Russia a laptop or hard drive she allegedly stole from Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office was arrested in Pennsylvania's Middle District Monday, the Department of Justice said.

Driving the news: Riley June Williams, 22, is charged with illegally entering the Capitol as well as violent entry and disorderly conduct. She has not been charged over the laptop allegation and the case remains under investigation, per the DOJ.

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID-related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.