USA Today Owner Pauses AI Articles After Butchering Sports Coverage

Fumble That was fast. The Columbus Dispatch, a newspaper serving the Columbus, Ohio area, has suspended its AI efforts after its AI-powered sports writing bot was caught churning out horrible, robotic articles about local sports, Axios reports. The Dispatch — which is notably owned by USA Today publisher Gannett — only started publishing the AI-generated sports pieces on August 18, using the bot to drum up quick-hit stories about the winners and losers in regional high school football and soccer matches. And though the paper’s ethics disclosure states that all AI-spun content featured in its reporting “must be verified for accuracy and factuality before being used in reporting,” we’d be surprised if a single human eye was laid on these articles before publishing. Why? Because each formulaic article is riddled with laughably vague statements — one August 18 article about a football game, for example, described the event as a “close encounter of the athletic kind” — and repetitive phrasing about hibernating second halves and which team drew first blood. One article even failed to populate properly, with the text instead featuring a bracketed glimpse at how its opening sentence was supposed to read. “The Worthington Christian [[WINNING_TEAM_MASCOT]] defeated the Westerville North [[LOSING_TEAM_MASCOT]] 2-1 in an Ohio boys soccer game on Saturday,” reads the butchered intro. Yikes. Short and Sweet The Dispatch’s AI efforts were powered by LedeAI, a startup claiming to use generative AI to offer “lightning-fast” and “easy to read” sports content. (The firm also goes so far as to…USA Today Owner Pauses AI Articles After Butchering Sports Coverage

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