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Fake news and ridiculing the dead — what’s wrong with Microsoft’s AI news

A new CNN report about the MSN AI model’s news aggregation kicks off with examples of questionable editorial calls, like highlighting a story claiming President Joe Biden dozed off during a moment of silence for Maui wildfire victims (he didn’t), or an obituary that inexplicably referred to an NBA player as “useless.” An editorial staff of humans probably would’ve spotted the problems. But Microsoft’s system, which continues to feel more like a social experiment than a helpful tool after ditching human efforts in favor of algorithms a few years ago, did not.

Microsoft Start and MSN are presented as resources for finding actual news. But its automated system keeps featuring or generating content with needlessly upsetting language and outright falsehoods, and there’s little indication anyone involved in the process cares. There are no careless journalists to blame, no editors with names and faces to take (or even shirk) responsibility. It’s all just software doing what it’s made to do and spokespeople shrugging when it goes wrong and saying they’ll try to make sure it doesn’t happen in the future.

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