Welcome to The Week in Generative AI, a weekly column for marketers from Quad Insights that quickly sums up need-to-know developments surrounding this rapidly evolving technology.

NYT hires AI editor

The New York Times announced on Tuesday that it has hired Zach Seward as editorial director of artificial intelligence initiatives, The Wall Street Journal’s Alexandra Bruell reports.

Seward was a co-founder of the news brand Quartz, and according to a statement from New York Times Executive Editor Joe Kahn and Deputy Managing Editor Sam Dolnick, one of Seward’s tasks will be “to work with newsroom leadership to establish principles” for how the Times will deploy generative AI, along with building “a small team in the newsroom to experiment with generative A.I. tools and prototype ideas.”

The Journal’s Bruell notes that “the hire comes as news organizations cautiously explore generative-AI tools to assist in creating news content,” while Poynter’s Tom Jones writes that he hopes the Times and Seward “are open about the lessons they learn along the way to better help all news organizations and individual journalists understand the benefits and pitfalls of… AI in their work.”

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OpenAI and Axel Springer strike news partnership

CNBC’s Hayden Field reports that OpenAI and global publishing powerhouse Axel Springer are joining forces to bring AI-generated news summaries to the masses. The partnership allows ChatGPT to digest and summarize subscriber-only articles from Axel Springer’s stable of news brands including Politico and Business Insider. Axel Springer will also provide its premium content firehose to help train next-gen AI systems.

According to the news release from Axel Springer, “ChatGPT users around the world will receive summaries of selected global news content from Axel Springer’s media brands…. ChatGPT’s answers to user queries will include attribution and links to the full articles for transparency and further information.”

For Axel Springer, this partnership taps into ChatGPT’s capabilities to generate news briefings that may better hold its audience’s attention. For OpenAI, it’s an opportunity to responsibly access publisher content to help further train its systems.

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Microsoft and the AFL-CIO make an AI deal

Microsoft and the AFL-CIO announced a significant AI-related agreement on Monday, marking a unique collaboration between a major tech company and a labor organization, Reuters’ David Shepardson reports. In addition, Microsoft said it will commit to taking a neutral position on any moves by workers to unionize. “AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler said Microsoft’s position was in stark contrast to other tech companies that aggressively fought efforts to unionize,” Shepardson notes. As a part of the agreement, Microsoft and the AFL-CIO, which represents about 12.5 million workers, agreed to collaborate on AI public policy, focusing on equipping workers with necessary skills for future technological advancements. “Shuler said workers want a voice in how AI gets deployed,” Shepardson writes.

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Further reading

Thanks for reading.

If you’d like to catch up on prior installments of this column, start by heading to our last recap: “The Week in Generative AI: December 8, 2023 edition”

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