The fears most people had about Artificial Intelligence taking over human jobs are slowly coming into reality as seen in many big tech companies. Microsoft, one of the biggest tech companies in the world, is laying off dozens of journalists and editorial workers at its Microsoft News and MSN organizations.
The layoffs are part of a bigger push by Microsoft to rely on artificial intelligence to pick news and content that’s presented on MSN.com, inside Microsoft’s Edge browser, and in the company’s various Microsoft News apps. Many of the affected workers are part of Microsoft’s SANE (search, ads, News, Edge) division, and are contracted as human editors to help pick stories.
“Like all companies, we evaluate our business on a regular basis,” says a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement. “This can result in increased investment in some places and, from time to time, redeployment in others. These decisions are not the result of the current pandemic.”
While Microsoft says the layoffs aren’t directly related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, media businesses across the world have been hit hard by advertising revenues plummeting across TV, newspapers, online, and more.
The layoffs are currently happening in the US and UK
Business Insider first reported the layoffs on Friday and says that around 50 jobs are affected in the US. The Microsoft News job losses are also affecting international teams, and The Guardian reports that around 27 are being let go in the UK after Microsoft decided to stop employing humans to curate articles on its homepages.
Microsoft has been in the news business for more than 25 years, after launching MSN all the way back in 1995. At the launch of Microsoft News nearly two years ago, Microsoft revealed it had “more than 800 editors working from 50 locations around the world.”
Microsoft has gradually been moving towards AI for its Microsoft News work in recent months and has been encouraging publishers and journalists to make use of AI, too. Microsoft has been using AI to scan for content and then process and filter it and even suggest photos for human editors to pair it with. Microsoft had been using human editors to curate top stories from a variety of sources to display on Microsoft News, MSN, and Microsoft Edge.
Our world is moving towards being overrun by Artificial Intelligence. Many tasks are now being automated or mechanically handled as opposed to manual and human handled roles. This is posing a great threat to the job security of many in the world. Soon AI would be able to program and train itself leaving the programmers jobless as well. Controversy as to whether Artificial Intelligence is good in the long run or are moving into a cybertronian Artificial Intelligence attack on humans as we see on popular movies such as The Terminator.
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