News publishers have jumped headfirst into artificial intelligence, using generative AI tools to produce bland travel guides, inaccurate film blogs, and SEO-bait explainers. By and large, the goal has been: can we make more pages for ads without paying more writers?
Now, a group of tech outlets is attempting to incorporate generative AI into its websites, though readers won’t find a machine’s byline anytime soon. On August 1st, an AI chatbot tool was added to Macworld, PCWorld, Tech Advisor, and TechHive, promising that readers can “get [their] tech questions answered by AI, based only on stories and reviews by our experts.”
The AI chatbot, dubbed Smart Answers, appears across nearly all articles and on the homepages of the sites, which are owned by media/marketing company Foundry.
Smart Answers is trained only on the corpus of English language articles from the four sites and excludes sponsored content and deals posts. The user experience is similar to other consumer tools like ChatGPT: readers type in a question, and Smart Answers spits out a response.
Alternatively, readers can select a query from an FAQ list, which is AI-generated but based on what people are asking and clicking on. Smart Answers responses include links to the articles from which information was pulled.
The goal, leadership says, is to help readers look for specific pieces of information in the mountain of writing.
“We’ve got this huge wealth of content. But sometimes you don’t want to read 2,000 words of great journalism — sometimes you just want a particular fact,” Neil Bennett, global director of product and data at Foundry, told The Verge.
This article originally appeared here and was republished with permission.