Powerful AI robot, ChatGPT, to write BuzzFeed articles after mass layoffs
Struggling online publisher BuzzFeed will start using artificial intelligence (AI) to help write its quizzes after laying off dozens of employees.
The media company, known for its light-hearted articles and “listicles”, will work with OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, on the initiative.
The chatbot, which provides human-like written responses to prompts, has attracted praise from tech executives, academics and politicians amid hopes it could simplify and transform tasks across a range of industries.
The technology will be used to create quizzes on the website that are tailored to an individual, with, for example, a pitch for a personalised rom com.
The quiz would ask prompt questions such as “Pick a trope for your rom com” and “Tell us an endearing flaw you have” before using AI to generate a write-up based on the responses, according to a memo to staff from chief executive Jonah Peretti.
Mr Peretti said he planned to increase the use of AI across BuzzFeed’s editorial output and business operations this year, according to the memo seen by the Wall Street Journal.
Mr Peretti said he expected AI to assist the creative process and enhance the content, while humans would provide “cultural currency” and “inspired prompts”.
But he suggested the use of the technology could be extended further to help “create, personalise, and animate the content itself” over the next 15 years.
A BuzzFeed spokesman said the company remained focused on human-generated journalism in its newsroom.
The move highlights growing interest in AI, particularly since the public launch of ChatGPT late last year. Microsoft has invested a reported $10bn in OpenAI amid excitement over the tool.
US publisher CNET has already begun experimenting with the technology, using an AI assistance tool to create around 75 personal finance articles. It has since halted the trial after finding a number of factual errors.
BuzzFeed itself published a story on CNET’s AI push written entirely by ChatGPT.
The company’s push into AI comes just over a month after it sacked 12pc of its workforce – around 180 employees.
Mr Peretti blamed the cuts on the worsening economic outlook, as well as changes in how people consume media.
BuzzFeed has been overshadowed by financial troubles since its disastrous stock market float at the end of 2021.
At its peak, the online publisher was worth $1.7bn. It was one of a clutch of new media start-ups that attracted attention from investors and audiences alike in the 2010s, alongside Vice and Vox.
However, shares in BuzzFeed have lost more than three-quarters of their value since it went public through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (Spac). It is now worth around $340m.
The stock rallied on Thursday after the Wall Street Journal reported that BuzzFeed was being paid millions of dollars by Meta to help drive more content creators to Facebook and Instagram.