By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Following up on how AI summarized a panel discussion

I got some great feedback on my post about using artificial intelligence to summarize a panel discussion. This is an issue I’ll continue to keep a close eye on and to experiment with. I want to surface a few comments I received and gather them together here.

  • From Ed Miller, editor of The Provincetown Independent: “I was there at the Radically Rural panel discussion, and I’m not sure I would call this summary ‘shockingly good,’ Dan. It is pretty good, but it completely misses the most important point in Victoria Bouloubasis’s presentation, which is that the Iowa poultry plant workers’ organizing efforts mostly failed to persuade local officials to help them.” OK, I guess I could have said “shockingly coherent” rather than “shockingly good.”
  • From Tom Johnson: “Any idea what it means to ’empower stereotypes’? Some species sure would help.” Johnson is referring to a section of the summary that says, “The story aimed to empower and defy stereotypes surrounding immigrant communities, contrasting with typical narratives of victimization.” I would agree that ChatGPT is no A.J. Liebling, but overall I thought we got the drift.
  • From Rebecca Rainey, writing on Threads: “Worth noting: The summaries are incredibly boring. I would much rather read your reporting and light analysis, which would tell me what matters most in the grand scheme of things.” My response is that such summaries would be more for internal newsroom use than for public consumption. The next step is to take such a summary and see if ChatGPT can transform it into a news story. I’ll be looking for a suitable event sometime in the near future.

Meanwhile, OpenAI, the company that rolled out ChatGPT a year ago, is in utter turmoil. Co-founder Sam Altman was fired over the weekend and is now moving to Microsoft. The speculation is that the OpenAI board wanted to proceed more slowly and was concerned that Altman was too dismissive of AI’s potential dangers. Presumably Microsoft will let him pick up the pace, so overall this is not good news.

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1 Comment

  1. I look forward to a little animated paperclip appearing in Microsoft Word – “It looks like you’re doing an assignment for your journalism class. Can I help?”

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