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Google Tests AI Tool ‘Genesis’ for News Generation: Implications for Journalism and Legal Blogging

Robot typing on a typewriter illustration

How far will AI go in impacting journalism and blogging? Google is giving us a clue.

The New York Times’ Benjamin Mullin and Nico Grant reported this morning that Google is testing a product that uses AI to produce news stories, pitching it to news organizations including The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.

The tool, known internally as Genesis, can take in information — details of current events, for example — and generate news content.

“Google believed it could serve as a kind of personal assistant for journalists, automating some tasks to free up time for others, and that the company saw it as responsible technology that could help steer the publishing industry away from the pitfalls of generative A.I.”

Per Google Spokesperson, Jennifer Crider, “Quite simply, these tools are not intended to, and cannot, replace the essential role journalists have in reporting, creating and fact-checking their articles.”

Some executives who saw Google’s pitch were not so sure, saying it “seemed to take for granted the effort that went into producing accurate and artful news stories.”

Jeff Jarvis, director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, sees upsides and downsides.

If this technology can deliver factual information reliably, journalists should use the tool.

If, on the other hand, it is misused by journalists and news organizations on topics that require nuance and cultural understanding, then it could damage the credibility not only of the tool, but of the news organizations that use it.

What’s this have to do with the legal profession, particularly bloggers? Lots.

Legal bloggers are legal journalists, having provided more insight and commentary on the law over the last twenty years than anyone.

Other practicing lawyers and academics authoring content content on a piecemeal basis, still produce large volumes of articles.

An AI assistant saving time for bloggers and writers could be hugely valuable. AskLou on LexBlog will be offering a writing assistant to legal bloggers.

But as Jarvis warns, the tool needs to be used carefully when nuances and a cultural understanding is required – such as with writing on the law.