The inexorable march forward of Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues today with the recent revelation that Microsoft is reportedly laying off more than fifty of its news production workers to make way for their AI replacements.
The Seattle Times reported recently that around fifty employees have been informed that they would no longer be working for Microsoft beyond the end of June this year.
The news production workers were contracted to the MSN arm of Microsoft, in charge of curating and organising content for their parent company, have been replaced by an algorithm that reportedly does their information-gathering task more efficiently.
In a recent statement, a spokesperson for Microsoft stated that just like any other company, their business is evaluated on a constant basis, and the resulting change is simply a part of this process.
“This can result in increased investment in some places and, from time to time, redeployment in others. These decisions are not the result of the current pandemic,” the spokesperson stated.
Some employees, when contacted by the Seattle Times, stated explicitly that MSN will be using AI to replace the work they were contracted for. The replaced tasks include identifying news trends, editorialising headlines and optimising article’s visual media such as photographs and slide-shows.
The soon-to-be-replaced contract employees were also responsible for planned content and managing the production calendars for MSN content.