You Can Now Use AI to Summarise the News You Read

You Can Now Use AI to Summarise the News You Read

AI is good at summarizing. You can use it to summarise PDFs and task it with breaking down YouTube videos into truncated transcripts, for example. Basically, you can defer certain content to the robots and they can give you the highlights in seconds. And now, the bots can summarize news for you too, turning full articles into bite-size abridgments.

Artefact, the TikTok of news, recently rolled out a new AI summarizer that works with any news article you come across. Here’s how it works: In the app, choose a news article that seems interesting to you. Then, tap the “Aa” button along the top menu bar and choose “Summarize.” Artefact will analyse the piece for a moment, before delivering a short summary for you to peruse.

Of course, as we’ve seen since the rise of ChatGPT, AI can be a lot more fun than a simple, neutral summary. If you tap the three dots that appear on the summary box, you’ll have the option to adjust the summary into one of four other styles:

  • Explain Like I’m Five: Like the popular subreddit, this mode tells the AI to summarize the article as simply as possible. Will a five year old understand? Probably not. But you might.
  • Emoji: This mode translates the summary into corresponding emoji. Soon we will all be fluent in Emoji and will no longer have use for words, grammar, and syntax.
  • Poem: This setting turns the summary into a poem, just in case you wish your favourite journalists would channel their inner Robert Frost. The poems even rhyme.
  • Gen Z: Here, the AI attempts to summarize the news as if it were a member of Gen Z. It reads more millennial to me, though, to be honest: lots of OMGs and hashtags, less ironic detachment and making fun of me for being a millennial.

Artefact wants to make it clear, however, that this isn’t supposed to be a replacement for reading the news; rather, it’s supposed to aid your understanding and give you a brief explanation of the main points of a piece before you dive into the details yourself. They’re not wrong to be apprehensive: AI doesn’t “know” anything and often confidently presents incorrect information as fact, an act known as hallucinating. You’d hate to wildly misinterpret current events because the AI butchered its summary.

Plus, you miss out on a lot if you just rely on the summary. Articles are obviously more than bullet points: If you only read what the AI thinks is important, you don’t see all the pieces the writer thought to include, as well — everything from well-researched details to creative use of language to tell their story.

Still, it’s a fun experiment with AI, and one that can be genuinely useful. On the one hand, you can use it like Artefact wants you to and brief yourself on a long, tough-to-understand piece; on the other, you can put some faith in the AI and learn about a news story in seconds if you don’t have the time for more than that. One of the promises of this AI revolution, after all, is saving us time, even if that comes at the expense of context.

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