Many roles "will no longer exist as they do today."

Bild Back Never

Bild, the German tabloid owned and operated by major European publishing house Axel Springer, is expected to replace over a hundred human editorial jobs with artificial intelligence, a leaked email first obtained by the German paper Frankfurter Allgemeine (FAZ) has revealed.

The tabloid will "unfortunately be parting ways with colleagues who have tasks that in the digital world are performed by AI and/or automated processes," the email reads, as reported by FAZ and translated by The Guardian.

According to the report, the email detailed that those who will be replaced by AI include "editors, print production staff, subeditors, proofreaders and photo editors," and that these time-honored human careers "will no longer exist as they do today."

The decision appears to be part of broader cost-cutting efforts across Axel Springer brands, including Insider, which also cut a large chunk of employees amid its own AI pivot earlier this year.

Though several publications across the media industry have experimented with incorporating AI into their workflows, the choice to fully automate hundreds of essential editorial roles with AI feels like a significant escalation. Bild might be a messy, politicized tabloid, but Axel Springer is the biggest publisher in Europe and others could be following suit soon.

AI Fabrication

The news comes after Axel Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner announced earlier this year that the company will turn into a "purely digital media company" and that AI will "make independent journalism better than it ever was — or replace it."

That said, there's still a chance the move could backfire on the publisher.

For one thing, as demonstrated earlier this year by BuzzFeed's quiet foray into extremely dull AI-spun travel guides, AI-generated text still tends to lack a sense of depth.

More importantly, generative AI tools are also notoriously unreliable and are known to consistently fabricate citations, quotes, and facts.

In short, it's unclear how an AI system could effectively replace anyone in the journalistic process, particularly when it comes to editing and proofreading.

What is clear, however, is that the move has been met with plenty of criticism already. In a statement to FAZ, the German Journalists' Association (DJV) condemned the automation effort as "not just antisocial towards employees, but also extremely stupid economically."

More on synthetic content: An AI Is Inventing Fake Quotes by Real People and Publishing Them Online

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