CNET, one of the most popular technology news outlets, has been using AI to write financial explainer articles without any formal announcement or coverage. The articles are published under the byline of “CNET Money Staff” and cover topics like “Should You Break an Early CD for a Better Rate?” or “What is Zelle and How Does It Work?” However, when readers click on “CNET Money Staff,” it reveals that the articles were “generated using automation technology” and “thoroughly edited and fact-checked by an editor on our editorial staff.”
The program, which was first spotted by online marketer Gael Breton, has been in operation since November 2020, and CNET has published around 73 AI-generated articles. While the use of AI-generated articles is not new, with many news organizations like The Associated Press using the technology to automate tedious tasks, the sophisticated language used in CNET’s articles suggests that the outlet is using a more advanced AI tool like OpenAI’s GPT-3.
Despite Google’s vow to penalize AI-generated content, some of the articles seem to be pulling in large amounts of traffic. It remains to be seen how the use of AI in news writing will impact the industry and the role of human journalists in the future. CNET did not respond to requests for comment on the AI-generated articles.