Microsoft recently published an AI-powered travel article about Ottawa, Canada, in which it unexpectedly recommended that tourists visit the Ottawa Food Bank, writes The Verge. In fact, it is a non-profit charitable organization that collects and distributes food to the hungry.
This recommendation ranked third, right after the National War Memorial and before attending an Ottawa Senators hockey game. However, after the story was published, Microsoft immediately removed the article. Now you can read it thanks to a screenshot uploaded to Imgur.
The Ottawa Food Bank, while important, is not a typical tourist attraction. It recently relocated due to an 85% increase in demand for its services since 2019. Rachel Wilson, CEO of the Ottawa Food Bank, expressed her hope that the organization will one day close its doors, emphasizing the goal of reducing the number of people who rely on food banks.
Each section of the original article, written by Microsoft Travel, included a brief description of the recommended destination. The description of the food bank was particularly out of context, stating: “The people who come to us have jobs and families to support and expenses to pay. Life is complicated enough. Think about visiting the place on an empty stomach.”
Samantha Koziara, Communications Manager at the Ottawa Food Bank, responded to the article and emphasized that the organization would never support such messages. She stressed the insensitivity of the phrase “empty stomach” and the importance of human supervision when creating content.
This incident highlights the challenges and potential pitfalls of relying solely on artificial intelligence for content creation. Even if the publisher has plenty of experience. After all, Microsoft already replaced human journalists at Microsoft News and MSN with artificial intelligence in 2020.
Other publishers have also experimented with AI in content creation, sometimes resulting in errors. For example, an AI-generated article on Gizmodo incorrectly identified the order of Star Wars movies, and CNET had to correct numerous AI-generated articles.