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Watergate journalists warn against impact of AI in reporting

Watergate journalists warn against impact of AI in reporting

Watergate reporters are worried about the impact artificial intelligence (AI) could have on the future of journalism.

Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward were heavily involved in reporting the Watergate scandal and fall of President Nixon in 1972, and they have weighed in on the way technology could change the industry.

The fast rise in using AI has made people concerned for their jobs, privacy and the way it could lead to misleading information being circulated.

Speaking to the BBC, Bernstein said: "We need to know what's real as opposed to what's false. The press is the essential element in a community of being able to attain that."

He noted that people should want to become a reporter to find "the best obtainable version of the truth".

As part of the interview, the two men were read a ChatGPT excerpt which offered a brief summary of who they were, adding that their work "inspired a new generation of journalists and established a new standard for investigative reporting".

However, Bernstein described the extract as "an amalgam of things that have been written about us", recognising a line of it from a brochure.

Meanwhile, Woodward offered a blunt asessment of the limitations of AI when compared with real, breathing journalists.

He pointed out: "I can call the Pentagon and say, 'I'd like to talk to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the top military man', and he's either going to talk or maybe not. AI can't do that."

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