Major media block the bot behind ChatGPT

Several of the US’ largest news outlets are implementing protective measures to secure their online content from ChatGPT, the revolutionary artificial intelligence chatbot viewed as a possible threat to the news industry.

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Numerous leading news organisations recently added code into their websites to prevent OpenAI’s web crawler, GPTBot, from scanning their platforms for content. In addition to CNN, Reuters, and The New York Times, as reported last week, international news and media giants had done the same from Disney to ESPN, and Bloomberg to ABC News. Major publishers like Condé Nast and Hearst have also blocked the bot.

News archives are key to training the generative artificial intelligence that makes ChatGPT ground-breaking. Feeding the GPTBot facts derived from news outlets, facts that have been checked, unlike the barrage of fake news online, is exactly what makes the new technology invaluable.

News organisations are simultaneously, and thus far individually, inserting code to protect their data from a fast-evolving technology that threatens the news industry globally, already considered under attack by unregulated dissemination of misinformation, and deemed a growing security threat worldwide.

Legal action has yet to be taken for the use and misuse of media and news outlets’ intellectual property and the US’ Associated Press signed a licensing agreement with OpenAI, ChatGPT’s creator.

Newsrooms had been inadvertently training the very robot some fear might render them redundant. Inserting code designed to block GPTBot’s access to their database, the news and media industry as a whole seems to be following suit. The mass news block risks negatively impacting the quality of the blocked bot ChatGPT.

Whether the media and newsrooms’ move is motivated by their desire to protect the truth or their need for a lifeline in the form of licensing fees, it could also be both.

Without major newsrooms, the quality and reliability of news and journalism will dissipate with an incalculable knock-on effect for society. Ironically, the demise of the newsroom would also affect the quality of ChatGPT in the long run and while life without ChatGPT is survivable, what would life without dependable news sources look like?   

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