Tag Archives: News

If AI can write news items, they can write essays too

There is a crisis coming in academia. It’s been looming on the horizon for quite some time, and now threatens to bring the profession into disrepute.

That problem is AI.

For many years now, AI have been used to power chat bots and digital assistants such as Cortana, Siri and Alexa. Over the years, these bots have become far more nuanced and complex. While these systems aren’t intelligent in the same way as a human being, they do a fairly good job at mimicking human behaviour, and convincing us that they are ‘real’.

Indeed, these technologies are now so convincing that it won’t be long before they are put to nefarious use. It’s already been shown that AI can write convincing news articles, and it won’t be long before they are used to write academic essays, even more complex works such as research papers and even full-length publications.

Make no mistake, this is a serious issue, and one that needs to be taken seriously. In the next few years, AI-powered essay mills have the potential to shake academia right to the very core.

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Should press releases include hyperlinks?

There’s been some debate in the office recently over whether press releases should include hyperlinks. Opinion seems to fall quite firmly into one of two camps: on the one hand there are those who believe that press releases should be link-free as ‘that’s how it’s always been done’, and those who think that links are essential in the modern connected world. I’ve outlined the main arguments of the two camps below:

The NO camp

  • Press releases are the purest form of news; they exist in objective isolation, and it is up to the journalist to decide how to use them.
  • The release should ‘sell itself’.
  • We’ve never included links before, so why change now?

The YES camp

  • Hyperlinks make a journalist’s job that little bit easier.
  • Links can be used to add information or value to a release.
  • We live in a digital world, and we should adapt our processes accordingly.

So which side is right? Is there a right or wrong answer? I would argue that there is a ‘right’ answer here, and that a balance can, and indeed should, be struck between the two camps. This all comes back to the question of ‘what is news?’, and the even more fundamental question of ‘what is a press release for?’ – why are we sending out a press release in the first place, and how is it consumed by the people who receive it? Continue reading »