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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.

America can't quit polarizing politicians

Expand chart
Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

New data finds that the nation's most polarizing politicians are often the ones that garner the most attention online.

Why it matters: Online engagement helps politicians build a bigger national profile and more fundraising power, incentivizing them be more outrageous, more polarizing and more divisive.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
14 mins ago - Science

It's time to take reproduction in space seriously

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Before humans can settle off-Earth, scientists need to figure out how — or even whether — people can reproduce in space.

Why it matters: Powerful figures in the space industry like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos have dreams of a future where millions of people live in space, which would naturally require a self-sustaining population of humans somewhere other than Earth.