Microsoft ‘to replace journalists with robots’

Microsoft is to replace dozens of contract journalists on its MSN website and use automated systems to select news stories, US and UK media report.

Microsoft won’t renew the contracts for dozens of news production contractors working at MSN and plans to use artificial intelligence to replace them, several people close to the situation confirmed on Friday.

The roughly 50 employees — contracted through staffing agencies Aquent, IFG and MAQ Consulting — were notified Wednesday that their services would no longer be needed beyond June 30.

“Like all companies, we evaluate our business on a regular basis,” a Microsoft spokesman said in a statement. “This can result in increased investment in some places and, from time to time, re-deployment in others. These decisions are not the result of the current pandemic.”

Full-time news producers employed by Microsoft will be retained by the company; they perform functions similar to those being let go. But all contracted news producer jobs have been eliminated.

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