These information pages were already written by AI – Les Échos

Published December 1, 2023 at 1:43 p.m

The website’s presentation contains their backgrounds, their main interests, their photos… They have their own style and cover specific topics. Carine Gravée, Vianney Garet and Nina Gavetière have names, but they are not real: they are robot journalists created from scratch.

More and more websites are popping up that are completely powered by artificial intelligence (AI). Of course, initiatives remain limited at the moment, but some are trying to carve out a niche, experiment with a new way of creating content by clearly claiming it… or not.

Magazine at the kiosk

This is the case, for example, of the magazine (paper and web) “LHC – Les Heures Claires”, which presents itself as the first French magazine 99% generated by AI and was launched a few weeks ago. Like a classic medium, it includes news, interviews (with questions from a robot), pages about fashion or a horoscope. Responsible: Rémy Rostan, former photographer. “I’m always pretty surprised by what ChatGPT offers,” he admits. The magazine, sponsored by Easy Partner, a recruitment company specializing in digital, is scheduled to appear on newsstands monthly in the spring. “I appeal to the community of technology enthusiasts and curious people,” explains Rémy Rostan, who hopes for 20,000 sales. Although the goal seems very ambitious, the project presented in November at the AIM Forum (in Marseille) has certainly aroused a lot of interest.

Further examples: Tech-generation and Cuisine-generation, launched in the spring by Ari Kouts, a consultant specializing in innovation at Viseo. He linked the tech site to various trade magazines specializing in this area (TechCrunch etc.). Every fictional “journalist” (who has his own style) takes up press articles on current topics (the crisis at OpenAI, Musk’s statements, etc.), rewrites them, citing the source, and does so without human intervention. In the end, some inconsistencies, some clumsiness, but articles similar to certain blog posts. In the kitchen, the “cooks” come up with several recipes, “and many are plausible and even good, even if the cooking times are approximate,” says Ari Kouts. It was more of an experiment that the consultant – whose parents are journalists, by the way – created this “media” without any desire to monetize it. “It also serves as a reminder of the value of analysis, of journalistic research, which robots cannot carry out,” he assures.

Both sites still have a small audience (around 3,000 visits per month) and sometimes appear in Google News! Even if the probability is small, in this case since it is an experiment that is a bit like a game, “primary sources could prevent this type of practice by invoking parasitism, that is, taking away the value of an object “appropriate,” says Julien Guinot-Delery, lawyer at Gide.

Fear of professionals

If these few examples clearly claim to use the latest technologies, there are also websites and articles created by AI but whose production method has been concealed. “In a working group at the Joint Commission on Publications and Press Agencies, fears were expressed that there are sites with a strong AI component,” says one expert. “We all have this risk in our minds,” says Pierre Pétillault, director of the General Information Press Alliance.

Additionally, in a recent study, Newsguard identified a large number of websites with articles rewritten using AI (nearly 600 at the end of November!), without human supervision. In many cases they benefit from programmatic advertising

Sports Illustrated highlighted

Just recently in the United States, the famous “Sport Illustrated” or “TheStreet” (Arena Group) were highlighted by an investigation into the media “Futurism”. Articles were allegedly written by AI and fake journalist profiles were created from scratch (using images purchased from a website offering AI photos), which angered journalists. The media group defended itself by pointing out that it had bought certain papers from an agency.