In an era where technology and news media often intersect, a ground-breaking series of negotiations are on the horizon. Forefront players in artificial intelligence, including OpenAI, Google, Microsoft, and Adobe, are engaging in dialogues with top media houses to explore collaborations over the use of news content in training their AI technologies.
AI technology meets news content
Publishing magnates like News Corp, Axel Springer, The New York Times, and The Guardian are reported to be in preliminary discussions with the AI giants.
The topic of conversation? The use of copyrighted news material to refine AI technologies like text chatbots and image generators. One suggested arrangement involves the AI firms paying subscription-like fees to the media houses, in exchange for content to develop technologies underpinning chatbots like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard.
This innovative conversation comes at a time when media groups are voicing concerns about the potential threat AI poses to the journalism industry.
The fear stems from the use of their content by AI companies without legal agreements in place. Already, companies like Stability AI and OpenAI are facing litigation from artists, photo agencies, and coders over alleged copyright infringement.
Charting a new course: Media & AI
A potential agreement between media and AI companies could set a precedent for how news organizations worldwide deal with AI companies.
Industry insiders have underlined the importance of avoiding the pitfalls of the early internet era, when free online articles inadvertently undermined their business models.
Big tech firms, including Google and Facebook, leveraged this freely available information to create thriving online advertising businesses.
The ongoing discussions seek to develop a suitable pricing model for news content used as training data for AI models. The broad range currently under consideration is between $5 million and $20 million annually.
Mathias Döpfner, chief executive of Axel Springer, advocates for a “quantitative” model, akin to the music industry, where radio stations, clubs, and streaming services pay record labels each time a song is played.
The increasingly popular generative AI has provoked concerns in the news industry due to its ability to generate persuasive, human-like text.
Google, for example, recently launched a generative search function, which showcases an AI-written information box above its traditional web link format.
Google is spearheading negotiations with UK-based media companies like The Guardian and NewsUK. It has existing partnerships with numerous media firms, using content data to optimize its search engine and train its large language models.
OpenAI, too, has entered the dialogue, with CEO Sam Altman engaging with News Corp and The New York Times about potential collaboration possibilities.
The challenge lies in developing a financial model for using news content to train AI, which is proving to be a complex task. As a result of the somewhat secretive nature of product launches by tech companies, the media industry is playing catch-up, negotiating payments retroactively.
Despite the complications, there’s optimism that agreements will be reached. Both media and AI companies are aware of the impending wave of regulation and understand that finding a mutually beneficial solution is in the best interest of maintaining a healthy digital ecosystem.
As AI continues to weave its way into journalism and newsrooms, this meeting of minds could be the first step towards a more collaborative and symbiotic relationship between technology and news media.