Technology giant Microsoft has reportedly sacked dozens of journalists in favour of artificial intelligence (AI) software. It is to be noted these reportedly sacked journos weren’t involved in producing or writing original content/news but were involved in editorial and curation activities like selecting stories to publish, changing headlines.
Microsoft has decided to replace the staff who maintain the news homepages on Microsoft’s MSN website and its Edge browser because “robots can now do their jobs”, reported The Guardian. About 27 employees of PA Media (formerly the Press Association), which is in a contract with Microsoft, use to select, edit and curate news articles on MSN homepages. These were told on Thursday that they would lose their jobs in a month’s time.
These about-to-be-sacked employees were told that Microsoft’s decision to end the contract with PA Media was taken at short notice as part of a global shift away from humans in favour of automated updates for news.
Stating a quote from one of the staff members who worked on the Microsoft curation team, the Guardian report said, “I spend all my time reading about how automation and AI is going to take all our jobs, and here I am — AI has taken my job.”
The team member then further said that the decision to replace humans with software was risky, as the existing staff were careful to stick to “very strict editorial guidelines” which ensured that users were not presented with violent or inappropriate content when opening their browser, of particular importance for younger users.
An another report from the Seattle Times said that about 50 contract news producers will lose their jobs by the end of June though the company but will still retain a team of journalists working full time.
To recall, in January 2017 Indian software giant Infosys had released 8,000-9,000 employees in one year of time because of automation of lower-end jobs, which was confirmed by the company’s human resources head Krishnamurthy Shankar.