They’ve been knocking around since the 1980s, but it now, finally, looks like spell and grammar-checkers will get seriously suped-up and change the copywriting world, including print journalism, marketing and anything else that uses sentences, along with it.
That’s because Microsoft is teaming up with Open AI, the producer of the GPT-3 (or Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3) language model. It’s early days yet, so we’ll calm the hype, but the deep learning system is able to produce human-like prose.
Why is this development so important? Because Open AI can use Microsoft’s heft, including its mass reach, to eventually roll GPT-3 out into or with a commercial product. Expect Word on steroids, folks.
The most interesting part of the announcement is below:
The scope of commercial and creative potential that can be unlocked through the GPT-3 model is profound, with genuinely novel capabilities – most of which we haven’t even imagined yet. Directly aiding human creativity and ingenuity in areas like writing and composition, describing and summarizing large blocks of long-form data (including code), converting natural language to another language – the possibilities are limited only by the ideas and scenarios that we bring to the table. Realizing these benefits at true scale – responsibly, affordably and equitably – is going to require more human input and effort than any one large technology company can bring to bear.
Some outlets will see this as a tool to aid and assist their reporters and producers. Others, especially churn-shops, no doubt, will seek to use this kind of technology to replace human journalists.
📈 Earnings, funding and M&A
TV broadcaster ION Media is getting sold to E.W.Scripps for $2.65bn, in a deal which will see Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway invest $600m into Scripps to back the transaction. Scripps has earmarked $500m worth of ‘synergies’.
The co-founder and CEO of Spotify Daniel Ek is going to invest €1bn in European tech start-ups over the next decade.
The Variety and Hollywood Reporter merger.
🗳️ Election 2020
Bob Woodward’s interview with Axios on his new Trump book goes live today.
Joe Biden’s influencer strategy.
Boris Johnson wants to fill the institutions with conservative, Brexiteer allies, namely ex-Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre as OfCom chairman and Charles Moore, the Prime Minister’s former editor at The Telegraph, as chairman of the BBC. The Sunday Times report came after BBC big beast Andrew Neil announced he would no longer be working for the corporation and had decided to chair GB News, a new broadcaster which we will launch next year to take on the BBC, Sky News and ITV (more on that in the next edition of FN).
VC-backed Axios is quietly going on hiring spree across the board, presumably looking to gain traction off the back of the 2020 election.
Wolfgang Blau and Jennifer McGuire, formerly of Condé Nast and CBC News respectively, have joined the Reuters Institute as Visiting Fellows.
Recode Media: Politico Editor Carrie Budoff Brown.
Facebook’s long-awaited Oversight Board will apparently launch in mid to late October, according to former Guardian editor and OB member Alan Rusbridger. It has also emerged that it could take up to 90 days (or more than 12 weeks) for rulings to be decided. Going off the FT’s interview with Nick Clegg, the company’s public affairs chief, Zuckerberg is still very much in charge.
Google services were out in parts of the US last week, which begs the question: do we rely too much on Alphabet to run our business and home lives?
Georgetown University has some AI policy recommendations.
Some interesting stats in TikTok’s transparency report.
A new look Wikipedia is coming.
Break our AI, says Facebook.
CIA Labs launched.
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