Game over, humans!
The struggling media company BuzzFeed told investors this week that its readers spend 40 percent more time with its AI-facilitated quizzes than traditional ones, Bloomberg reports.
While we have yet to see a more detailed breakdown of the numbers — the company would obviously be incentivized to present the stats in as flattering a way as possible — it is interesting to see it doubling down on AI after shutting down its entire Pulitzer-winning news division last month, laying off around 120 of its 1,200 total employees.
Despite those early promises, it soon turned out that BuzzFeed was using AI to generate more than just quizzes. Dozens of SEO-driven travel guides started appearing on the site that made heavy use of hackneyed writing and repeated phrases. In a statement to Futurism at the time, BuzzFeed said it was "continuing to experiment with AI to 'enhance human creativity,'" and "trying new formats that allow anyone (with or without a formal background in writing or content creation) to contribute their ideas and unique perspectives on our site."
As of right now, even the AI quizzes aren't much more than glorified Mad Libs — a far cry from the"more personalized, more creative, more dynamic" AI-generated content CEO Jonah Peretti promised in a March interview with CNN.
And it's not just BuzzFeed. Earlier this year, Futurism found that both CNET and Men's Health were quietly publishing entire AI-generated articles, some of which were riddled with errors and plagiarism.
Now, though, BuzzFeed is seemingly seeking to justify the AI move by trying to demonstrate that its experiment is paying off.
According to Bloomberg, BuzzFeed told investors that it's projecting adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization to be in the "high teens" millions of dollars this fiscal year (the company's stock, meanwhile, is now hovering around half its value at the time it first announced the AI content.)
Whether any of that is attributable to the purported success of its investment in AI — or the mass layoffs that have rocked the company this year — remains to be seen.
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