Microsoft Using AI to Help Write Blog Posts on AI
A Microsoft developer used AI to help create a post about using AI last week, apparently for the first time on the company's Developer Blogs site.
This might signal a new use of AI on the part of Microsoft, which became a leader in the AI space thanks to its partnership with OpenAI that resulted in AI-powered "Copilots" abounding throughout the company's softwares (see the November 2023 RedmondMag article, "Microsoft Goes Big with Multiple Copilots at Ignite Event").
The Jan. 24 Microsoft Developer Blogs post titled "Code Faster and Better with GitHub Copilot's New Features: Slash Commands and Context Variables" includes this note at the bottom:
AI-assisted content. This article was partially created with the help of AI. An author reviewed and revised the content as needed. Learn more
That link points to Microsoft's undated "Principles for AI generated content," apparently published in November 2023, judging from the source code.
Under a heading of Transparency, the site says: "Our authors may use AI to augment their content creation process. We're transparent about articles that contain AI-generated content. All articles that contain any AI-generated content include text acknowledging the role of AI. You'll see this text at the very top of the article."
Many sites and news organizations and reporters (including this one) are using AI to help write articles, but the practice has stirred controversy when the process goes awry (see the The Washington Post's January 2023 article, "A news site used AI to write articles. It was a journalistic disaster" and the November 2023 PBS article, "Sports Illustrated found publishing AI generated stories, photos and authors").
The practice was studied in May 2023 research titled "The Challenges and Opportunities of AI-Assisted Writing: Developing AI Literacy for the AI Age." That report's abstract reads:
Generative AI may significantly disrupt the teaching and practice of business communication. This study of 343 communication instructors revealed a collective view that AI-assisted writing will be widely adopted in the workplace and will require significant changes to instruction. Key perceived challenges include less critical thinking and authenticity in writing. Key perceived benefits include more efficiency and better idea generation in writing. Students will need to develop AI literacy -- composed of application, authenticity, accountability, and agency -- to succeed in the workplace. Recommendations are provided for instructors and administrators to ensure the benefits of AI-assisted writing can outweigh the challenges.
Those challenges, this reporter and others have experienced, include time-consuming fact checking and required editing that sometimes seem to outweigh the benefits.
Copyright issues have also sprung up from the use of AI-generated content (see, the September 2023 Virtualization & Cloud Review article, "As Cloud Giants Wrestle with AI-Generated Content, AWS Demands Kindle Notifications").
With AI tech advancing continually, seemingly by the day, the practice is sure to get better and more prevalent, with many journalists and corporate authors fearing they will eventually find their jobs taken over by AI constructs (see the June 2022 Vanity Fare article, "The New Generation of A.I. Apps Could Make Writers and Artists Obsolete"). Many disagree though, as discussed in the July 2021 Forbes article, "AI Is Not Going To Replace Writers Anytime Soon -- But The Future Might Be Closer Than You Think."
A search of Microsoft's Developer Blogs site found only that one post that notes the AI assistance. We reached out to the company yesterday for more information on its use of AI to help write articles but as of yet have received no response from the company's PR agency.
Update: Shortly after this article was published, Microsoft's PR agency replied that the company "has nothing to share on your specific questions" and pointed to "Our principles for using AI-generated content on Microsoft Learn" and the Developer Blogs principles cited above.
Note: This article was not created with the help of AI-generated content.
David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.