"This is so bleak, and it’s only the beginning of a trend that is already having a devastating effect on all types of workers."

Get Bent

One of BuzzFeed's most famous writers has some harsh words for CEO Jonah Peretti's decision to integrate AI into the site's content operations.

"I’m normally in the business of giving solicited advice but I’d like to take this opportunity to tell the CEO of BuzzFeed to get fucked," tweeted Max Collins, a columnist for BuzzFeed News — the news arm of the site — who's perhaps best known as the lead vocalist and frontman of 90s alt-rock phenoms Eve 6.

In a chat with Futurism, Collins elaborated on his remarks and reiterated why he believes Peretti — the brother of "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" star Chelsea Peretti," incidentally — can stick it where the Sun don't shine.

As Collins noted both in his own pithy tweet and to us, "BuzzFeed’s stock value soared" after Peretti announced yesterday that the company intended to use software from ChatGPT creator OpenAI to beef up its content mill, including those infamously cringe quizzes.

"This is so bleak," the Eve 6 bassist told us, "and it’s only the beginning of a trend that is already having a devastating effect on all types of workers."

Tweet in a Blender

After the publication of this story, a BuzzFeed spokesperson pointed to an interview Peretti conducted with CNN this week in which he envisioned a path for AI in digital media that's "more personalized, more creative, more dynamic — where really talented people who work at our company are able to use AI together and entertain and personalize more than you could ever do without AI."

Collins fears a much worse future, though.

"The dystopia is here and it’s not being brought about by the kind of abstract government tyranny technocrats like [Elon] Musk would have people believe it is, but by technology’s facilitation of corporate greed," Collins told us. "And it’s not just the case of a few supremely villainous CEOs being shitty either — it’s our capitalist system that demands that it’s incentives be followed."

Are you a BuzzFeed staffer with thoughts about the company's use of AI? Feel free to email us. We can keep you anonymous.

The 90s rock star said that fellow Twitter superstar merritt k's analysis of the BuzzFeed AI debacle was the "most accurate and troubling commentary" he'd seen:

Dude I'm so excited to live through a time when AI means nobody wants to pay for most jobs but we still think you need to work to be allowed to eat and have a place to live. It's going to be just like Star Trek (the part before the show starts when everything fucking sucks).

They're not wrong, folks — it does seem not only that BuzzFeed's spectacular failure to read the room will result not only in yet another dangerous changing of norms in the already-imperiled digital media industry, but also that they're being rewarded by investors for making such a disgustingly bold move.

Jon Christian contributed reporting.

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