SN922 AI-driven news sites

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Dave New

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2020
I have to say that I've noticed for quite some time prior to "AI", that the majority of "news" sites were just copying and regurgitating everybody else's news site content. And I've encountered many sites in the past that would take a subject that could be covered in one or two paragraphs, and spread it out with almost meaningless filler across ten or more 'pages' so they could collect maximum ad revenue.

It was already disgusting before "AI" came on the scene. I agree that letting LLM engines loose on these sites will only make a bad situation worse.
@Dave New I agree completely. I've been researching AI for about 2 weeks now. I've documented some of my adventures here:

I've watched, or partially watched about 200 YouTube videos at this point. The signal to noise ratio was already low on YouTube. Now, it's getting substantially lower. The following has happened to me a number of times. I see a video with a specific picture of, say, Elon Musk. The headline says something like "Elon Musk Announces New Robot" or whatever. So, I click it. Then I waste 15 minutes of my life hearing an AI voice (usually a very good one) drone on about dozens of miscellaneous AI topics and show dozens of miscellaneous unrelated images and never mention or show Elon announcing his robot. It's infuriating. Some of the info might be useful, but I clicked it for something specific based on the picture and title.

Also, many of the videos will have "captions" in the form of 1-3 words flashing across the middle of the screen all the time. These production techniques are things I hate. Even with normal captions, many are automated and sometimes make total bloopers by typing the completely wrong words. It's getting very hard to find out what is truth and what is drivel. Also, the YouTube and Google ranking systems are biased against certain topics anyway and so they may not show you the true videos. Even some videos staffed by humans are adopting the click bait headline tactic. I hate teaser headlines. Tell me the topic of the video and I'll decide whether to click. If you say you're covering Elon and a robot, then actually cover it.

majority of "news" sites were just copying and regurgitating everybody else's news
You're exactly right. You have to wonder where the news reports are being originated and from whom.

For some entertainment, go to YouTube and search for "AI news anchor" or "AI news reader" or "AI news presenter". You could also try it on Rumble, etc. but their aren't as many videos. News stations all over the world are introducing AI on air personalities and replacing people. This is a chilling trend. Side note, Hollywood screen writers are either threatening to strike, or are striking because AI is threatening their jobs. Anyway, scroll through the search results and look for attractive pictures of a news anchor. Many are women, but there are some men too. Find one where the picture looks really good and click it. Observe the avatar and the voice. Some are crummy. Many are good, but still obviously AI. BUT, there are a few that are REALLY good. I've found 2 or 3 that are so good, in fact, that if I didn't know they were AI, I wouldn't know that they are AI. The problem is not when they tell you it's an AI personality. The problem is when they don't. You can also search for "AI deep fakes" if you want to go down that rabbit hole. It's a strange, and dangerous, new world.

May your bits be stable and your interfaces be fast. :cool: Ron
I have to say that I've gotten a lot of good information from YouTube. That being said, now days I try to avoid it. There seems to be a push to get you to go there. At least in many of my searches the first handful of hits are YouTube links which I now skip over. There are things where a sentence or two would tell me what I need to know, and I would rather read those than watch 5 or 10 minutes of video which may or may not tell me what I need to know.

Probably unrelated, there also seems to be a growing trend for news videos blurring the sides of the image. At times it is justified as in not showing someone's face intentionally. Many times however, you can make out from the blur that nobody is in the image, and from what you can see there is nothing of interest in what they are blocking. Perhaps the video editors are just practicing for when that is called for, but for years they seemed to be able to block things with a circular blur and leave everything else intact. It makes me wonder.
I was just reminded of the annoying thing that email notifications from Nextdoor do - they only give you an incomplete first sentence, enticing you to click on the link to find out what the actual topic is.

What is even more irritating is that if you do a 'view source' on the email, you will find the entire article posted (without the comments) in the body of the email, but they've figures out someway to get your http-compliant email client to show only a partial fist sentence with a 'see more...' link.

So, they are using my bandwidth to send an entire article, but jimmying the system to show only a portion of it, to make me click through to their ad-ridden site.

This is usually done when the source video is from a phone in portrait mode. It happens automatically to fill the frame. If you look carefully, you will see the blurry part is taken from the main video.
I hate that. I'm always watching things in landscape mode. If they want to put bars on either side, make it a static picture rather than having this blurry moving image distracting you.

May your bits be stable and your interfaces be fast. :cool: Ron
Interesting about the video coming from a phone. I'll have to take a closer look next time I run into the blurred edged video. Makes sense with all the phones capturing things now days.

I was on Next Door's site for a while and eventually closed my account. Some of the posts people put up were annoying, if not stupid. I had better things to do with my time.