Microsoft fired 77 news editors. Now the AI is doing their job.

“I spent all my time reading about how automation and AI would take over all our work, and here it is – AI took the job away from me.”

 

Microsoft has laid off several dozen employees of Microsoft News and MSN services. According to The Guardian, their work will now be performed by computer algorithms.

 

The exact number of those fired is not reported, but it’s at least 27 people in the UK, as well as about 50 Microsoft employees in the U.S. The Guardian reports. The company itself reported that the Covid-19 pandemic did not affect the optimization of the staff in any way, and called the event “a normal business review.

People who lost their jobs did not generate the content themselves. They only controlled the information selected by the robots for the news section in Microsoft Edge browser, as well as for the main page of the search service MSN. “I spent all my time reading about how automation and AI would take over all our work, and here it is – the AI took the job away from me,” one of the laid-offs told The Guardian.

 

According to the former employee, the decision to replace people with algorithms was very risky. The editors who viewed the selected content followed fairly strict rules to ensure there was no news that was unacceptable to particular groups of users. The staff members who were cut also edited the headlines, ensuring that they fully corresponded to the news texts, and “cut off inaccurate stories”. It is not yet clear whether artificial intelligence will perform these duties well.

 

In recent months, Microsoft has become increasingly reliant on intelligent systems for Microsoft News. Algorithms independently search, filter and process content and tell people which photo is best suited for a particular news story.