AI taking over the newsfeeds

It should not come as a surprise, but AI is taking over the newsfeeds. Within a couple of weeks, the number of AI-generated news and information sites showed a 155% increase – from 49 in April this year to 125 on the 15th of May. The number was published by NewsGuard, an independent news and information ratings service.

number of AI generated newssites rises dramatically

NewsGuard even coined a new term, the UAIN, or “unreliable AI-generated news site”. They have defined four criteria for a site to be considered UAIN: Clear evidence that a substantial portion of the site’s content is produced by AI. In addition, a strong evidence that the content is being published without significant human oversight (e.g. numerous articles might contain error messages or other language specific to chatbot responses). Furthermore, the site has a layout, generic or benign name, or other content typical to a news and information website, leading readers to believe that content is produced by human writers or journalists. Finally, the site does not clearly disclose that its content is produced by AI.

UAIN sites are proliferating as they can tap advertising money with minimal cost. They seem to be designed to attract programmatic advertising by carrying generic news site names and churning out clickbait articles. The sites do not simply republish existing news articles, they “generate” news themselves. NewsGuard states that “These sometimes include false claims, such as celebrity death hoaxes, fabricated events, and articles presenting old events as if they just occurred.”

In the future many news sites will use AI tools (some already do) but also deploy effective human oversight, which will set them apart from UAINs. Human judgment supported by AI can improve efficiency and reliability but if pure AI is taking over the newsfeeds it will undermine the trust in news in general and funnel revenue away from genuine journalism.

Printed flyers remain contested topic

The future of the printed flyer remains a contested topic – definitely in Germany but I am sure in other places as well. Some high-profile retailers recently ditched their printed flyers and supplements, or announced plans to do so. The claim is to be more environmentally friendly and better serve the changing interest of their customers. Proof is missing for both claims. At least on customers usage and preferences some new market research has been completed by the German research institute IFH. The first part has just been published.

Hunkeler innovationdays 2023 – next level automation

It was good to be at the Hunkeler innovationdays 2023 again, with next level automation as its motto. This certainly held true. 50 print application lines were shown live with many in-line or highly integration solutions.

Hunkeler launched several interesting new pieces of equipment like a B2 cut-sheet finisher moving into a new level of productivity. In the traditional web finishing space a high volume, yet variable book block production line (the Starbook) with added Book Sorting Module was presented. Adding to flexibility and automation was a new autosplicer for fast and easy roll change – either in front of a press or for near-line web finishing lines.

AI in journalism

Recently I wrote an article for on AI image generation tools. I wrote it at the end of last year, shortly before text tools like ChatGPT kept on making headlines. I can still very much recommend reading the article and I am sure it is worth the subscription 😉. While I am confident that AI image generation will revolutionise image production, at first, I was reluctant about the capabilities of AI in journalism and text generation in general.

Hunkeler innovationdays bringing more inkjet

Finally, the Hunkeler innovationdays are back, not only bringing more inkjet devices, but also a lot of technology around the presses – of course with finishing being very prominent. If you have not been to the Hunkeler innovationdays: it is the event to get the best possible overview on continuous feed production presses. Not only will all important vendors for digital commercial, publishing and document printing presses be there, the event also allows seeing the latest presses printing side-by-side.