Following monthslong questions on how CNET makes use of synthetic intelligence instruments, longtime CNET editor-in-chief Connie Guglielmo will step down from her function and tackle a brand new job: senior vp of AI content material technique and editor-at-large, in keeping with an inside draft memo circulated at this time, a replica of which was obtained by The Verge.
In her new function, Guglielmo will work on machine studying technique at Purple Ventures, the private equity-backed media company that acquired the tech information web site in 2020. Adam Auriemma, the previous editor-in-chief of a unique Purple Ventures outlet, NextAdvisor, will change into editor-in-chief. NextAdvisor, a private finance outlet, seems to not be energetic — the location’s Twitter account hasn’t posted since January, it not seems on Purple Ventures’ checklist of manufacturers, and its web site redirects to CNET.
Guglielmo’s transfer to her synthetic intelligence function comes simply hours after The Verge reported that mass layoffs have been underway at CNET. At the least a dozen staff misplaced their jobs, together with some longtime figureheads on the firm, in keeping with sources with data of the layoffs. The total extent of the layoffs shouldn’t be but clear as workers work to determine which colleagues are affected — the quantity might be as excessive as 26 or extra, sources say.
After Futurism revealed in January that CNET had been quietly publishing dozens of articles generated utilizing AI, Guglielmo and different Purple Ventures leaders defended the use of automation tools regardless of public concern round how the apply was applied. The instrument’s use was quickly paused whereas Purple Ventures carried out an inside audit of all AI-generated content material throughout its websites. Quickly after, greater than half of the articles were updated with corrections.
Guglielmo, who has been CNET editor-in-chief for 9 years, has defended the usage of AI instruments on the outlet. In late January, she mentioned in a blog post that although the AI-generated tales have been halted, the newsroom would proceed testing AI instruments that may “assist [CNET’s] groups.”
A number of former CNET workers informed The Verge that editorial independence was chipped away underneath Guglielmo’s management and Purple Ventures’ possession. Former workers recounted a number of situations of staff being pressured to alter their work to appease advertisers, and different group members have been repeatedly requested to work on adverts and prioritize work that served advertising and marketing functions and ranked extremely in Google search.
The most recent spherical of layoffs is way from the primary: former CNET workers informed The Verge that some groups have been decimated by previous cuts to the workforce, whereas different staffers have been pushed out over time.
Purple Ventures didn’t instantly reply to The Verge’s request for remark.