It appears no one is safe from the rise of the bots: Microsoft has announced that it will be axing its team of journalists that work for MSN.com, and replacing them with news-savvy artificial intelligence.
The tech giant currently contracts several dozen journalists to select and curate news stories that appear on MSN and its Edge internet browser. But starting in June, these media workers will be out of a job – with their responsibilities being delegated to software designed to sniff out the most suitable news for human consumption.
One anonymous employee who will soon be out of work told the Guardian that there is an ironic element to his precarious future. “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,” he said. The journalist added that he feels Microsoft is taking a big risk with automated news aggregation, as the company has strict editorial guidelines when it comes to curating content.
Microsoft said its employees were notified about the changes, and that the decision to do away with its human news staff was based on a routine evaluation of business practices.
“This can result in increased investment in some places and, from time to time, redeployment in others,” the company told the BBC, stressing that the move is not related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Artificial intelligence is starting to rapidly transform the global economy. From computer-driven taxis to self-checkout at the grocery store, “essential” workers are becoming increasingly obsolete.