Oh, good – AI bots won’t replace journalists, says Axel Springer CEO

axel springer
Mathias Doepfner, CEO of Axel Springer, delivers a speech at the German publishing company's annual news conference in Berlin, Germany, on March 8, 2018. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/Files

BERLIN (Reuters) – The use of robot journalism, or articles generated by artificial intelligence, does not pose a threat to jobs, the chief executive of German publisher Axel Springer said on Wednesday.

“Is it going to take the jobs of journalists? What we can see is exactly the opposite. We can now do things we could never afford in analogue days when we could only rely on big teams of journalists,” Mathias Doepfner told the NOAH tech conference.

Many big media companies, including Thomson Reuters, are experimenting with the use of artificial intelligence to automate the production of some data-heavy articles.

Springer, the publisher of top-selling German newspapers Bild and Welt, uses automated journalism to add coverage of soccer matches from the lower German leagues.

“Our offering is broader, it is attracting more readers and it doesn’t kill the jobs of existing journalists. It is even stabilising them,” Doepfner said.

Springer, which generates four-fifths of its core profit from digital, posted a double-digit gain in the first quarter. It reported a total of 2,867 journalists in 2017 versus 2,888 in 2016.

(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; editing by Jason Neely)

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