St. Pete news org introduces AI reporter ‘Cora Quantum’

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology. By Shutthiphong Chandaeng via iStock for WMNF News.

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A St Petersburg news outlet just hired a new journalist: artificial intelligence.

Joe Hamilton is the Editor in Chief for the St. Pete Catalyst.

In May, it announced a new journalist named Cora Quantum, an AI-generated persona. Hamilton says it will quote amplify local journalists.

“The stories are good, the content’s good, and, certainly there’s a certain flavor of content that best fits Cora, and we stick in those lanes, but very positive for the most part.”

Quantum has covered stories such as Pinellas County Commission meetings and tech conferences. Hamilton says every story created by AI is reviewed by a human.

Alex Mahadevan is the director of MediaWise at Poynter Institute. He surveyed audiences’ thoughts on AI and says the results are grim.

“We learned that most people are pretty hesitant about news organizations using AI. There’s already a trust problem in journalism so throwing AI in there was more problematic.”

He says giving the persona a face and a name gives him pause.

“That can rub people the wrong way in an uncanny valley way, and also it brings up some interesting ethical questions about, are you very clear that this is a robot doing the work?”

The Catalyst’s Joe Hamilton says people tend to focus on the risks more than the benefits.

“When you read a great article and, you know, you happen to see that it was written by Cora, and you just got your information and moved on with your life, and you were served by that news, what’s there to worry about?”

Currently, major news outlets like USA Today and the Associated Press use AI in their reporting.

 

 

 

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