Tech publisher CNET quietly started an experiment with articles written by ChatGPT and, despite many industry experts lauding the software’s remarkable power, they were littered with fairly basic errors.
In heartening news for anyone, anywhere who has to write anything with even a modicum of complexity, the initial results of CNET‘s remarkably wide-reaching experiment have been far from positive.
According to a post by the site’s editor in chief, Connie Guglielmo, CNET published 78 articles that were written by the ChatGPT robot since November, at some points, it was churning out 12 posts per day. However, the publisher has been forced to issue large and embarrassing corrections to many.
The idea was simple, the site’s Money editorial team would use the tech on basic explainers around financial services topics in order to free up time for editorial staff on less trivial matters. Articles titled “How to Cash a Check Without a Bank Account,” “Alternatives to Traditional Savings Accounts,” and “How to Get Your Overdraft Fees Refunded” were published under the CNET Money Staff byline with no mention of AI involvement on the articles themselves. Readers would be able to find out that an AI had written the articles if they checked the byline’s bio page.
However, a bunch of other publishers and journalists caught on and called out the site for not disclosing that the articles were written by a machine. Then, the corrections came.
I think about shit like this a lot as somebody laid off from a copyediting job because some people think AI tools can do the work for you.
I can’t believe I’m saying this but I hope Google steps in https://t.co/NUG8vThTCm
— Carli Velocci (@velocciraptor) January 11, 2023
One article, discussing compound interest contained a basic but important error.
“To calculate compound interest, use the following formula:
Initial balance (1+ interest rate / number of compounding periods) ^ number of compoundings per period x number of periods
For example, if you deposit $10,000 into a savings account that earns 3 per cent interest compounding annually, you’ll earn $10,300 at the end of the first year.”
Not only is it wordy but it is wrong, as well. It implies that, if you stuck ten grand into a savings account with a 3 per cent interest rate, you would earn $10,300 per year — effectively doubling your money. In reality, you would have $300 more than you did at the start of the year.
In response, Guglielmo wrote that CNET had built its “reputation testing new technologies and separating the hype from reality” for more than “two decades.”
She also said that while the AI engine would “compiled the story draft or gathered some of the information in the story,” every article would be reviewed, fact-checked, and edited by an editor with topical expertise before publish. If errors were found post-publish, the site would issue a correction.
Here’s the correction for the story on compound interest in full:
“Correction, 1:55 p.m. PT Jan. 16: An earlier version of this article suggested a saver would earn $10,300 after a year by depositing $10,000 into a savings account that earns 3% interest compounding annually. The article has been corrected to clarify that the saver would earn $300 on top of their $10,000 principal amount. A similar correction was made to the subsequent example, where the article was corrected to clarify that the saver would earn $304.53 on top of their $10,000 principal amount. The earlier version also incorrectly stated that one-year CDs only compound annually. The earlier version also incorrectly stated how much a consumer would pay monthly on a car loan with an interest rate of 4% over five years. The earlier version also incorrectly stated that a savings account with a slightly lower APR, but compounds more frequently, may be a better choice than an account with a slightly higher APY that compounds less frequently. In that example, APY has been corrected to APR.’
That’s some statement.
The article now also states that it was edited by Liliana Hall, who covers , and was “assisted by an AI engine and reviewed, fact-checked and edited by our editorial staff.”
Other publications, such as the Associated Press, use AI to fill in the blanks on pre-formatted stories. The Financial Times does something similar with quick turnaround financial results reporting — though the analysis of those results is done by a human.
So, if you do anything involving writing, it seems the robots won’t be coming for your job just yet, at least.
Independent brand and digital agency, Archibald Williams (AW) has been appointed to lead the NBA account across the APAC region. The NBA is one of the most prestigious sporting leagues in the world and basketball is one of the fastest-growing sports in Australia. Effective immediately, AW said it was “excited” to work across all digital, […]
B&T's shining a light on industry folk prior to adland. Preference given to anyone purporting actual UFO abduction.
Leading digital outdoor company QMS has announced it is the first-ever inaugural partner for Most Contagious APAC, the landmark London event by creative and strategic intelligence company Contagious, which will be showcased in Australia on Tuesday, 12 December in Sydney and Wednesday, 13 December in Melbourne. Most Contagious is an event that delivers key advertising […]
Omnicom’s data and analytics division Annalect has partnered with Meta, giving it access to Advanced Analytics (AA) – one of Meta’s privacy-focused measurement solutions – to provide Omnicom’s clients with future-proof, next-level measurement. Omnicom is the first holding company to have access to AA. AA allows advertisers to combine their first-party data with Meta’s ads […]
WPP’s AKQA has launched Fixmas.gift, an environmentally conscious AI-powered DIY assistant, affectionately known as Fixie, for a one-stop solution for all things repair. Fixmas.gift hosts an array of guides and inspiration to empower people to prolong the lives of their belongings or purchase pre-owned items that need a little love and care. Fixie can: Help […]
Marc Collister (pictured) of P2 Content Creators spills the beans on his 2024 predictions drawing from two decades of experience in the advertising, film and television industry. I’m certain it will come as no surprise that in 2024, we can expect our industry to move at breakneck speed again. With even more rapid shifts in […]
Zeno Australia has announced expanded creative design capabilities and the appointment of Jim Michell (lead image) to its senior leadership team. The new moves support strong growth in the region. Zeno Australia’s clients, including Abano Healthcare, Motorola and Yorkshire Tea, can now tap into a suite of creative design services to augment the agency’s work […]
Assembled Media, is drawing upon the creative power of TikTok Creator Marketplace to help generate unique, impactful content for iconic stationery brand, BIC. The social activation campaign titled ‘A Pen for Every Side of You’ promotes the flexibility of BIC’s 4 Colours pen and is active nationwide on the BIC Stationery TikTok account. The campaign […]
Pinterest reckons jellyfish & moody cowboys will be big in 2024. Refused to be drawn on the return of shoulder pads.
IAB Australia has launched ‘Evolution in Market Mix Modelling’, the fourth module in its Marketing Measurement Innovation Series, which has been developed by IAB Australia’s Ad Effectiveness Council. The module explores what is driving the increased use of MMM and how the technique is evolving with advances in computing power and machine learning to provide […]
Scope3, the collaborative sustainability platform leading the decarbonisation of media and advertising, announced the addition of digital out-of-home (DOOH) to its emissions measurement. With DOOH ad spending predicted to grow from $17B in 2023 to nearly $24B by 2028, measuring this channel brings us one step closer to understanding the total impact of digital advertising […]
NRF 2024: Retail’s Big Show Asia Pacific, is now open for online registrations for the main conference. Jointly organized by the National Retail Federation and Comexposium, Retail’s Big Show Asia Pacific will take place from 11 – 13 June, 2024 at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre in Singapore and is expected to draw thousands […]