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Content Aware media news: May 23, 2024

Scarlett's rebuke, Google scales back AI overviews, Apple news - all in this week's Content Aware.

Published: 15:00, 23 May 2024
A grey dog sleeping on a rug in the living room

He says, she says. And if she doesn’t, then we’ll find a machine that will
If action is intent, then actress Scarlett Johanssen’s claims that OpenAI created a voice that sounds like hers to use in a bot after she rebuffed Sam Altman’s attempt to enlist her actual voice reveals a lot about OpenAI’s attitude to ownership. OpenAI is now on the defensive, saying that the voice was created without reference to Johanssen. Expect legal action.
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Timely insight from WSJ
Insight into the mindset of one of the giants as editor of News Corp-owned WSJ Emma Tucker opens up on the relationship between the press and AI firms.
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EU vs AI
AI firms appear to running as fast as they can to outpace regulation for as long as they can. Still, lawmakers are showing a rare turn of pace to keep up.
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Channel cropping
Is nowhere safe? Of course not, and we should all assume so accordingly. Turns out Slack is training its machine-learning models on user messages, files, and other content without permission. To opt out takes the digital equivalent of sending a corporate telegram - extra clunky given how many Slack users are guests.
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Pulling the rug in their own backyard
Google doesn’t like the proposed California Journalism Preservation Act, which would see it pay for news content. Their standard playbook is of no-compromise, so are threatening to remove all news links for users in the US state, home to Google’s Mountain View HQ, “until there's clarity on California's regulatory environment”. Some politician looking to make a name might take them up on that.
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Meta is lacking quality, not quantity
Fresh on the heels of the story that Meta is using harvested news content to train its AI models to produce summaries, comes a rumour that the company might be joining those looking to cut deals for content use with news publishers. It appears that all those millions of posts on its platforms don’t actually yield very high quality data. That’s such a surprise.
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Evolving content on content
If you’ve never heard the phrase “access media” used pejoratively, then maybe it’s time to get an understanding of the way content about content is burgeoning on platforms such as YouTube.
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Throttling the Overviews
The announcement last week of Google’s AI Overviews, the web search tool that is supposed to end the internet as we know it, caught much of the publishing industry by surprise. Preliminary tracking shows how very very few search results are yielding an Overview-provided answer as against a standard search return. Does Google have the courage of its AI convictions at heart?
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Sources for sauces
A current theme is spotting AI-generated answers which have emerged from frankly ludicrous posts on Reddit. The latest gem will see you advised to add some “non-toxic” glue to your cheese sauce to thicken it. It’ll thicken something for sure.
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Think Different again
As the door closes on one tech giant, others open. Apple News is proving to be a handy revenue driver to brands that have chosen to enter the Apple ecosystem.
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Reporters or cheerleaders?
AI reporting leaves a lot to be desired, with major questions failed to be asked and critcal insightful reporting in short supply.
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