Semafor Launches Microsoft-Sponsored AI-Assisted Breaking News Feature

Microsoft is teaming up with media start-up Semafor to use artificial intelligence in the development of news stories, as the technology continues to infiltrate the media industry.

The tech giant is paying an undisclosed sum of money to the media company to sponsor a breaking news feature called “Signals.”

The feature intends to “offer readers diverse, sophisticated perspectives and insights on the biggest stories in the world as they develop,” Semafor wrote on Monday.

Signals will provide a breaking news feed and analysis with around a dozen posts per day, which Semafor cofounder Ben Smith says will be written entirely by journalists. AI will only be used to bolster research tools to inform the outlet’s reporting.

These journalists will be “aided by AI tools that help them search news sources across multiple languages and geographies, allowing them to extend their reach to bring more, and more diverse, perspectives to readers. When tapping into these AI research tools, our editors then evaluate and verify sources, compose summaries, and clearly cite and link readers to the original information,” Semafor wrote.

According to the Financial Times, the sum of money being paid to Semafor by Microsoft is significant to the outlet’s business.

This comes as concern over AI’s encroachment on the media industry is beginning to cause tension. AI companies are courting publishers to partner on developing a safe use for the technology, while outlets are grappling with a potential industry disruption as the use of the technology becomes more frequent.

In December, the New York Times filed a lawsuit against OpenAI and Microsoft, alleging that the companies have been using copyrighted material to train their language models. The Times is seeking billions in damages.

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