Clarification: This article has been updated to reflect a comment from a Bild Group spokesperson about the reason for the downsizing and the role of AI in the company.
the german tabloid Bild has denied reports that it is laying off part of its editorial team and replacing staff with artificial intelligence and “automated processes.”
The Guardian and other media reported on June 21 that Bild’s parent publishing company, Axel Springer SE, planned to replace a number of editorial positions with AIciting an internal email.
However, Bild Group communication director Christian Senft told Cointelegraph that the “reports are false” and that “with our current measures, we have no intention of substituting AI for journalism.”
Instead, Senft said the announcement referred to a restructuring program for regional editions of newspapers, which implies the reduction of 18 regional editions to 12 by the end of the year, and the closure of 10 of the 15 regional offices, since many functions will be transferred to Berlin.
BILD-Gruppe formiert Managementteam für digitale Transformation pic.twitter.com/FFTMR3bRuE
— Axel Springer SE (@axelspringer) June 19, 2023
The BILD Group forms a management team for digital transformation.
“Thereforethese tasks, such as secretaries and photo production, are no longer needed in the regions,” he said, reiterating that the associated job cuts have nothing to do with AI.
Senft confirmed that the layoffs will affect employees “in the low triple digits.” He also clarified that the announcement states that the company will “increasingly use AI to support journalistic work.”
“To this end, we are approaching the issue with an open mind and currently have many initiatives with which we are exploring AI application areas for our journalistic brands.both in the production processes of newsrooms and in relation to the reader’s experience,” he added.
“The use of AI creates more time and space for the journalistic creativity of editors and reporters. Wherever AI supports, a journalist always has to check and recheck the result on Axel Springer.”
The tabloid newspaper was founded in June 1952. By the 1980s, Bild was selling more than five million copies a day. By 2010, Bild’s circulation had fallen to 3.55 million, according to World Times. In 2022, the circulation of the printed newspaper barely exceeded one million copies, according to Media Impact.
Nevertheless, the rapid development of AI has raised concerns about future job losses.
In May, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna told Bloomberg that 7,800 jobs at the company could be replaced by AI and automation over the next five years, representing about 30% of its workforce.
IBM expects to pause hiring for roles as roughly 7,800 jobs could be replaced by #AI.
Back-office functions such as human resources will be suspended or slowed.
30% of non-customer-facing roles could be replaced by AI and automations in 5 years.
Universities, Schools, HR… pic.twitter.com/OkyHMwhqQD
— Brian Solis (@briansolis) May 2, 2023
IBM foresees a hiatus in hiring, as some 7,800 jobs could be replaced by AI. Administrative functions, such as human resources, will be suspended or slowed down. 30% of non-customer facing positions could be replaced by AI and automations in 5 years. Universities, schools, HR…
In a June 14 report, management consultancy McKinsey & Co. predicted that generative AI could be able to fully automate up to 50% of all work activity that takes place in workplaces today, including tasks related to decision making, management and interaction with stakeholders.
Update (June 21, 6:39 am UTC): This article has been updated to include information provided by a Bild Group spokesperson.
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