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AI is accelerating the collapse of context online (and I feel fine)


The AI is eating itself

Early notes on how generative AI is affecting the internet

It’s an AI story, for which I can only apologise. One day I’ll lead a newsletter without one, I promise. But this article from Casey Newton is interesting in how it suddenly neatly encapsulates a lot of the cynicism about AI and its role in both the media and the context in which journalism appears.

For instance, the executive editor of the New York Times Joseph Khan has just said: “For every paragraph that ChatGPT instantly generates, it seems, it also creates a to-do list of facts that need to be checked, plagiarism to be considered, and policy questions for tech executives and site administrators.”

Personally I think this is a textbook example of Amara’s Law, but both Newton and Khan’s points stand. At the moment the new breed of AI tools are mostly having a deleterious impact on the fundamental structures of the internet and how it operates, while at the same time accelerating some surface-level trends around content creation.


Google violated its standards in ad deals, research finds

About 80% of Google’s video ad placements on third-party sites violated promised standards, new research shows. Google disputed the claims.

Bad news for Google, as a research company has claimed that four fifths of its video ads on third-party sites fell short of the promised standard to advertisers. Adalytics claimed that despite promising that the video ads would appear on premium sites, they actually ran on sites that don’t match the ad giant’s criteria for advertising. This is potentially huge and, while Google is disputing it, feels like it’ll have ramifications for some time yet.


Canada’s Online News Act may let Meta and Google decide the winners and losers in the media industry

“Our interviews showed that platforms were able to push for individual deals that aligned with their own business priorities.”

Actually quite liked this piece from Diana Bossio about the Online News Act. Despite the headline Bossio seems appropriately cynical about the motivations of both platforms and publishers, and specifically calls out the lack of transparency in the similar Australian deal that so many Murdoch stooges have conveniently ignored. A few days ago I despaired of a lack of nuance in this debate, so it’s great to finally see some.


Thomson Reuters to buy digital content management company Imagen

Thomson Reuters will buy Imagen, a digital content asset management company, for an undisclosed price, to expand its agency business to new customers, the news and information company said on Wednesday.

At long last, it’s a good old fashioned media acquisition story!

Thomson Reuters is building out its streaming video capabilities, and the acquisition of Imagen will certainly help it do that. As an aside, look at how many verbs its president Paul Bascobert managed to pack into this sentence: “With the addition of Imagen, clients will have the ability to seamlessly add media asset management services to store, manipulate, permission, distribute and monetize all their visual content”.

More from Media Voices


Big Noises: Shirish Kulkarni on why there are no quick fixes in media

Media analyst Shirish Kulkani explains why news avoidance is a rational response to the current news ecosystem – and what to do about it.


Want to differentiate your media business? Hire more ‘weirdos’

Amy Kean explains why media businesses struggle to differentiate themselves, and why we need more ‘weirdos’ in the industry.


Media Voices at FIPP Congress 2023: Resilience in the face of disruption

Peter Houston headed back to Cascais for FIPP Congress 2023, and heard from leading publishers about building resilience.

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