Microsoft has decided to fire dozens of journalists and editors at its Microsoft News and MSN organizations and replace them with robots that will curate articles for its software. This clearly shows that no one is safe from the rise of bots anymore.
The firings are associated with a bigger intent Microsoft has, namely to replace people with artificial intelligence that would be programmed to select news and content that’s provided by MSN.com, in Microsoft’s Edge browser, and in the organization’s various Microsoft News applications. Most of the dismissed workers are part of Microsoft’s SANE (search, ads, News, Edge) department, and are contracted as human editors to help choose stories.
“Like all companies, we evaluate our business on a regular basis,” said a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement. “This can result in increased investment in some places and, from time to time, re-deployment in others. These decisions are not the result of the current pandemic.”
International Teams are Also Affected
Business Insider first reported the dismissals on Friday and said that more than 50 jobs are taken away from people in the United States alone. The Microsoft News job losses are also impacting international teams, and The Guardian reports that approximately 27 people are also being sacked in the United Kingdom after Microsoft decided to stop employing humans to pick articles for its homepages.
Microsoft has been in the news industry for a while, after launching MSN back in 1995. At the launch of Microsoft News that took place almost two years ago, Microsoft mentioned that it had over 800 editors working from more than 50 locations around the world.
The organization has slowly been moving towards AI for its News work in the last few months and has been telling publishers and journalists to use AI as well. Microsoft has been using the technology to scan for content, process and then filter it, and even suggest photos for human editors to pair it with. The company has been using human editors to pick top stories from a number of sources to offer on Microsoft News, MSN, and Microsoft Edge.