Microsoft sacks 50 journalists; robots to take their place

With media sector facing one of the worst crises ever since the outbreak of Covid pandemic, another threat is looming large on the horizon for journalists. Robots. Tech giant Microsoft is sacking up to 50 journalists and replacing them with Artificial Intelligence robots designed to pick suitable news stories, reports Daily Mail

In Britain, Microsoft has entered a pact with PA Media to supply robots whose job it is to update the company’s homepage on its MSN website and Edge browser. The company has informed its employees that they won’t be required anymore. About 27 employees will be hit by the order.

One of those journalists affected told The Guardian: ‘I spend all my time reading about how automation and AI is going to take all our jobs, and here I am – AI has taken my job.’ Many expressed scepticism that whether robots will be able to replace humans, as the editorial job requires some expertise like sticking to strict editorial guidelines, selecting from a wide range of sources and checking accuracy.

One US-based employee told the Seattle Times:  “It’s been semi-automated for a few months but now it’s full speed ahead. It’s demoralising to think machines can replace us but there you go.”

A Microsoft spokesperson told MailOnline: “Like all companies, we evaluate our business on a regular basis. This can result in increased investment in some places and, from time to time, re-deployment in others. These decisions are not the result of the current pandemic.”

Last year, a media organisation in China had used humanoids as news readers in the channel. Viewers could not figure out the difference. The media house has said the new news readers can work 24 hours without any exhaustion.

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