One digital media company is generating a great deal of buzz with a plan to feed readers with content created with the help of artificial intelligence.
A memo to BuzzFeed staff on Thursday revealed the company would soon rely on tools made by OpenAI, the creator of the ChatGPT chatbot that is taking the world by storm across multiple sectors.
BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti said “AI inspired content” will make strides toward “enhancing the quiz experience, informing our brainstorming, and personalizing our content for our audience.”
Humans will remain a part of the editorial process, Peretti assured his staff, though soon they will be able to wield computer technology to refine their work.
“Our industry will expand beyond AI-powered curation (feeds), to AI-powered creation (content),” Peretti wrote. “AI opens up a new era of creativity, where creative humans like us play a key role providing the ideas, cultural currency, inspired prompts, IP, and formats that come to life using the newest technologies.”
The Verge obtained the memo and published it in full.
News of BuzzFeed’s new direction appears to have been received well on Wall Street. BuzzFeed Inc. shares jumped by about 150% after The Wall Street Journal broke the story.
BuzzFeed, founded in 2006, established a space for itself on the internet with news reporting, listicles, and quizzes. But recent years have posed challenges for the company.
It took steps in 2021 to cut back on its news arm as the division was losing about $10 million a year, according to CNBC. After merging with a special purpose acquisition company, Peretti announced in December 2022 that BuzzFeed would cut 12% of its workforce, or about 180 staffers, to “weather an economic downturn.”
ChatGPT is making all sorts of headlines these days, whether it is stirring fresh concerns about cheating in academic institutions with computer-generated essays or being used to generate a speech read on the House floor advocating for a bill to create a United States-Israel artificial intelligence center.
Peretti said the new BuzzFeed content would launch in February, and he would share a preview of the system during a staff meeting on Thursday.
“In publishing, AI can benefit both content creators and audiences, inspiring new ideas and inviting audience members to co-create personalized content,” Peretti wrote in a memo. “When you see this work in action it is pretty amazing.”
Some journalists shared less-than-enthused reactions to the news, suggesting the turn to artificial intelligence is an omen for the media industry. Samit Sarker, deputy managing editor of Polygon, tweeted, “a sentence to put on journalism’s tombstone if I’ve ever seen one: ‘BuzzFeed remains focused on human-generated journalism in its newsroom, a spokeswoman said Thursday.'”