If Joe Biden Can’t Win in 2024, Maybe AI Can Win for Him

Microsoft has a plan to use AI to create a “healthy information ecosystem” just in time for the 2024 election.

A February 5 headline from Microsoft’s own site sends the signal: “Here’s how we’re working with journalists to create the newsrooms of the future with AI.” That’s the intended future: The marriage of Big Tech and Big Journalism, with a hybrid offspring coming soon to a screen near you. 

Highlighting new “partnerships” with various publications and non-profits, Microsoft tells us, “We are helping these organizations identify and refine the procedures and policies to use AI responsibly in newsgathering and business practices,” adding that the goal is to “identify ways AI can help create efficient business practices and help build sustainable newsrooms for generations to come.”

Here’s the translation from the corporate blather-speak: Microsoft, the richest company in the world, is making its move into journalism, or, more precisely, the journalism business. Journalism, for better or worse, requires journalists, those flesh-and-blood cost centers, whereas the journalism business can get by on whatever it can get away with, AI-wise.

Yet, so far, at least, AI journalism has not been a success. Most obviously, reporters realize that AI could send them down the same automated chute as bobbin turners and hod carriers. So they’ve been calling out AI when it’s gotten too flagrant, as in the recent case of Sports Illustrated. That was a victory for journos, although, of course, soon thereafter, the publication shut down.

This announcement from Microsoft is not just about the news business in general. It is also about “democratic elections worldwide.” The Microsoft February 5 announcement makes this explicitly clear:

Today, Microsoft is launching several collaborations with news organizations to adopt generative AI. In a year where billions of people will vote in democratic elections worldwide, journalism is critical to creating healthy information ecosystems, and it is our mission, working with the industry, to ensure that newsrooms can innovate to serve this year and in the future. [emphasis added]

How convenient for President Joe Biden and the Democrats that Microsoft is creating this “healthy information ecosystem” in time for the 2024 election.