The ChatGPT Era Will Be Disruptive — And Far Less Human
Early this year, BuzzFeed was one of the first major media companies to announce that it would experiment with A.I. to produce content.
In an internal memo, BuzzFeed chief executive Jonah Peretti said,
“In 2023, you’ll see A.I. inspired content move from an R&D stage to part of our core business, enhancing the quiz experience, informing our brainstorming, and personalizing our content for our audience.”
Many of us shrugged. “Oh, it’s only the clickbait quizzes.” The problem is that BuzzFeed didn’t keep A.I. caged in the quiz creation room for long. Thanks to some keen-eyed reporting from Futurism, it was discovered that the company has already been using it to write some pretty bland travel guides.
Only a few months later, the move from humans to robots is in full swing.
On April 20, BuzzFeed announced it was shutting down what was left of BuzzFeed News, marking the end of its award-winning news department that once sought to upend traditional journalism by leaving heavily into social media. The company cited many reasons; tougher market conditions, changing audience habits, the failing stock market listing and the harsh truth that publishing high-quality news is an unforgiving business model. The cuts extend beyond the newsroom, with an additional 15% of staff being let go. It marks another step in BuzzFeed’s downfall; once valued at $1.7 billion, the stock has been in free fall since the company went public via a SPAC in December 2021. According to The Guardian, the business is worth less than $100 million.
BuzzFeed is not alone in its struggles; online media and journalism are going through a rough spell.