British Bot Corporation: BBC to Use Generative AI to Write Headlines for News Articles

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 25: People walk past Broadcasting House, the headquarters of the B
Oli Scarff/Getty Images

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has announced that it plans to begin using Generative Artificial Intelligence to write headlines for news articles to “help” journalists work at a quicker pace.

The publicly funded broadcaster said in an AI strategy update that it plans to use the emerging technology in various ways throughout its many media arms,
including the implementation of a “headline helper”, which the BBC said would “give journalists options of headlines to choose from”.

Other potential uses for AI could include using the tech to “summarise an article – to link to elsewhere,” the BBC said. Additionally the broadcaster pointed to the ability of speech-to-text generators, which could be used to quickly transcribe sports commentary to update live blogs on the website. The broadcaslter also pointed to the ability of AI to translate webpages as a potential use.

“We will experiment in each of these areas over the next few months, testing and learning as we go. We’ll see what works, what doesn’t – and make a call on what we take forward. It’ll be exciting to see how this develops,” the BBC said.

However, the public broadcaster said that currently, the “vast majority” of Artificial Intelligence projects will be for internal purposes only, and “won’t be used to create content for audiences until we have had an opportunity to learn more.”

The BBC has noted that there are serious risks associated with the use of AI, stating in its editorial guidance that: “The outcomes produced by AI are determined by both the algorithm behind it and the data that it has been trained on. Both the algorithm and the training data may introduce biases or inaccuracies into the outcomes of the AI.”

The potential for bias within AI systems was put on full display this month with the launch of Google’s generative AI Gemeni project, which had to be pulled from market after it was revealed to have numerous woke biases, resulting in the image generator effectively erasing white people from history and its chatbot defending paedophilia and communist dictator Joseph Stalin.

Given the lack of legal framework surrounding the use of AI, there have also been concerns raised over the potential for plagiarism, with the BBC noting that it may “simply adapt content from a web search or from a database of trusted content and present it as original.” Therefore the broadcaster said that “any proposed use of AI must take into account the potential that content presented as original may in reality be plagiarised or mimicked.”

Finally, the BBC said that any use of AI must “never undermine the trust of audiences” and only be used with “effective and informed human oversight”.

“In all cases, there must be a senior editorial figure who is responsible and accountable for overseeing its deployment and continuing use. Editorial line managers must also make sure they are aware of and effectively managing any use of AI by their teams,” the BBC said.

“Any use of AI by the BBC in the creation, presentation or distribution of content must be transparent and clear to the audience. The audience should be informed in a manner appropriate to the context and it may be helpful to explain not just that AI has been used but how and why it has been used.”

While the broadcaster is preparing to deploy AI, it has previously banned such technology, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, from trawling its website to deepen the AI’s knowledge base. The BBC, which followed others in doing so, including the New York Times, CNN, and The Guardian, said that the scraping of its website would not be in the interest of the British public who fund the broadcaster with the licence fee.

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Authored by Kurt Zindulka via Breitbart February 29th 2024