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Inside the news industry's uneasy conversation with OpenAI

Inside the news industry's uneasy conversation with OpenAI

For months, some of the biggest players in the US media industry have been in confidential negotiations with OpenAI over a thorny issue: the price and terms of licensing their content to the artificial intelligence company.

The curtain on those negotiations was lifted this week when The New York Times sued OpenAI and Microsoft for copyright infringement, alleging that the companies used its material without permission to build artificial intelligence products.

The Times said it had been talking to the companies about a deal for months before filing the lawsuit. And it was not alone. Other news organizations – including Gannett, America's largest newspaper company; News Corp., owner of The Wall Street Journal; And IAC, the digital colossus behind The Daily Beast and magazine publisher Dotdash Meredith – are in talks with OpenAI, said three people familiar with the talks, who requested anonymity to discuss confidential talks.

The News/Media Alliance, which represents more than 2,200 news organizations in North America, is talking with OpenAI about creating a framework for an agreement that would extend the term to its members, a person familiar with the negotiations said. Would be appropriate.

Microsoft, which is OpenAI's largest investor and is incorporating OpenAI's technology into its products, has also talked up. Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw said, “We have had thoughtful conversations with a number of publishers, and look forward to future discussions.”

Companies such as OpenAI and Microsoft have sought licensing deals with news organizations to train AI systems that can produce human-like prose. Those systems in turn power applications like chatbots, from which companies can generate revenue.

Nearly a dozen publishing executives and media business experts say the conversation has been complicated by the rapid growth of artificial intelligence applications in the marketplace, raising thorny issues for the future of the media industry.

In a statement, OpenAI cited its deals with the Associated Press and German publishing group Axel Springer, saying it respects the rights of content creators and owners and believes they stand to benefit from AI technology. Needed

“We are continuing productive conversations with many of them around the world to discuss their questions about AI,” Kayla Wood, an OpenAI spokeswoman, said in a statement. “We are optimistic that we will continue to find mutually beneficial ways to work together in support of a thriving news ecosystem.”

News publishers have had an uncertain relationship with tech companies since losing their traditional advertising businesses to newcomers like Google and Facebook more than a decade ago, and publishing executives are wary of selling their content too cheaply.

Andrew Morse said, “I think one of the reasons news organizations are now looking at OpenAI so carefully is because they have a 20-year history that shows that if we're not careful, we can get the keys to the kingdom.” will give.” The publisher of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the flagship newspaper of Cox Media Group, is not negotiating with OpenAI.

There are also fears that artificial intelligence applications may provide false information when cited in its articles, damaging the companies' credibility.

“We've been living through a decade of misinformation and disinformation, and that was pre-AI,” said media analyst and entrepreneur Ken Doctor. “Now with AI, we are at the beginning of an era where anyone has the ability to push and amplify misinformation and disinformation. “And of course, that scares news publishers.”

Still, some news organizations have made deals. Agreement with the Associated Press, announced in July, allows OpenAI to license AP's collection of news articles. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Axel Springer, whose holdings include Politico and Business Insider, went further: This month, it attacked a multiyear deal It gave OpenAI access to its news archive and allowed the artificial intelligence firm to use newly published articles in apps like ChatGPT. The deal, which includes a “performance fee” based on how much OpenAI uses its content, is worth more than $10 million a year, a person familiar with the agreement said.

Some media companies have decided not to make commercial deals with OpenAI. Bloomberg, which has a massive data terminal business that uses artificial intelligence, has decided against pursuing its own AI efforts, according to a person familiar with the company's strategy. The Washington Post also has not been talking to OpenAI in recent months, a person familiar with the company's efforts said.

Despite tensions between the news industry and OpenAI, some publishing executives struck a measured note on AI's potential upside, said Jim Friedlich, chief executive of the Lenfest Institute for Journalism, the nonprofit owner of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Organizations and artificial intelligence companies said they were “increasingly co-dependent” as users wanted AI technology with reliable information.

“It is important for all parties to reach an agreement and this should be done quickly if possible,” he said. “Whether it will take months or years is anyone's guess.”

https://static01.nyt.com/images/2023/12/29/multimedia/29media-ai-02-wjgz/29media-ai-02-wjgz-facebookJumbo.jpg

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