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Content Aware media news: June 27, 2024

Bad robots, AP's $100m local news plan, and social networks' immoderation laid bare - all in this week's Content Aware.

Published: 13:13, 27 June 2024
The activities of AI and other companies who scrape sites while ignoring robots.txt instructions are being scrutinised

Scraping the bottom line
Revelations that ignored robots.txt file instructions to scrape content have flushed out allegations that plenty of other AI firms have been up to it too when pinching your stories and articles and insight. Reputationally bad, and perhaps catastrophic for future court judgements. And, likely to embolden discussion over assigning legal validity to robots.txt files.

Reddit's edit
With perfect timing Reddit amends its robots.txt to kindly ask those sneaky AI bots to shut their eyes. Given its recent exclusive $60m+ deal with Google to allow Reddit content training of AI, and nobody being better placed than Google to spot breaches, we're keen to see what actions are taken against miscreants and how quickly formal lobbying to legislate against robbing robots occurs - if it isn't already.

Corbidge comments... on bad robots and wild west tactics
The ignorance of long-held open web protocols looks like another case of move fast and steal things, says our resident content computer Rob. Will the law ever catch up?

Suited and looted
Press Gazette's latest report into who is suing AI companies, and who is taking the cash in deals.

AP's $100m local news push
AP expands its valiant efforts to bolster local media and news initiatives, establishing a non-profit sister organisation tasked with raising $100m for local news ventures.

Is creativity a problem to be solved?
OpenAI's CTO Mira Murati likely has to watch her every word, given the company's beacon role in any discussion around the wider impact of AI. However, comments about AI replacing creative roles did little to make friends in the sector. Rather than join in a predictable dogpile over a slipped comment, it's worth watching the whole interview before making up your mind that OpenAI don't really know, or seem overly concerned about, what impact its tech will have.

State of panic
In the related news box: AI start-ups fear a California Bill tabled for an August vote could simultaneously throttle sector development in the state - arguably Ground Zero for global AI dev right now - as well as reinforce the lead of well-heeled incumbents such as OpenAI and Google.

Look the other way
Facebook feeds for many now resemble unmoderated wastelands of AI slop, dodgy pics, and scams, prompting the inevitable question: has the platform given up on moderation? This deep dive suggests it has, as well as other major platforms too.

Game of clicks
A good read into what can happen at sites who all simultaneously realise a phenomenon is happening in front of their eyes. Both a cautionary tale of algorithm-inspired content uniformity, and the power of spotting a trend and keeping ahead of it.

Clone rangers
In a similar theme to robots.txt being ignored, here is the danger of assuming the text in a T&C checkbox is anything more binding than a child's note explaining they are excused from homework for the rest of the year. Behold the startlingly low bar to having your voice cloned.

Sounds familiar
Musicians and music companies take a lead from publishers in doing deals with AI heavyweights to stem the tide of theft and/or make quick buck. Similarly, only time will tell if it is a deal with the devil, or a clever hedge against the competition in their own sector.

No Apple for EU
Apple Intelligence features might be caught at customs for EU users, with a number of new iPhone gimmicks unlikely to make it to users in the bloc due to Digital Markets Act smallprint.

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Content Aware media news: July 18, 2024
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