BuzzFeed rolls out new AI-powered quizzes for users

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Artificial intelligence used to be the stuff of SciFi movies. But now it’s fast becoming part of our everyday reality, and it’s being tasked with everything from writing computer code to poetry.

BuzzFeed is one of the first media companies to announce it will incorporate A.I. into its business model, and on Tuesday it launched a new A.I.-powered content generation feature that uses quizzes to create customized content that includes everything from a break up text to a movie script.

The product is called “Infinity quizzes,” based on the idea that the mix of distinct human user responses and A.I. generation could yield a wide range of new content in a matter of minutes. With its new A.I. tech, the company is offering a total of six different quiz categories, which can be customized by each user with the help of BuzzFeed’s A.I. technology. 

The idea is that a BuzzFeed writer will create pre-set questions that users need to answer, reflecting their interests and preferences. The A.I. will then use their answers to create a whole new end-product based on the category of the quiz. One of the quizzes for which A.I. is used lets users create their own rom-com movie idea. Another quiz, which allows users to create a “cult” for a group of friends, is exclusively available for premium BuzzFeed+ users.

In a note on Tuesday, the company said its approach would be to “build content that is ‘A.I.-native’ or could not exist without artificial intelligence.” But it emphasized that it will continue to work with human creators at the first step of the process.

“We see A.I. as an exciting new creativity tool, one that opens up new avenues for imagination, storytelling and engagement — in addition to new premium product offerings that allow us to innovate and collaborate with our clients and partners on a new frontier in media,” Jessica Probus, Senior Vice President of BuzzFeed Editorial, said in a statement Tuesday.

The company’s A.I. quizzes will use ChatGPT-maker OpenAI’s Application Programming Interface (API) which synthesizes information text, code and information from the internet to generate content.

As generative A.I. technology is still in its infancy, BuzzFeed told Fortune that it has guardrails in place to ensure that users can flag any errors or inappropriate content that they may encounter. The company moderates what content is “safe” or “unsafe” in addition to OpenAI’s existing moderations on its A.I. tools. BuzzFeed will also allow their audience to submit feedback on their experience so it can update its quizzes.

The New York-based media firm initially announced its plans to develop its A.I.-linked content offerings in January. BuzzFeed’s CEO Jonah Peretti told employees at the time that the company’s “creative process will increasingly become A.I.-assisted and technology-enabled.” He also pointed at the wider shift to A.I. tools in the coming decades.

BuzzFeed’s stocks soared as much as 150% after the announcement was made.

A.I. Boom—with Stumbles

BuzzFeed’s announcement comes as OpenAI’s ChatGPT takes the world by storm. As a first-of-its-kind tool open for public use, it has helped foster creativity by writing speeches in the voice of various historic figures and proved itself capable of passing several university exams.

While the A.I. chatbot has generally proven its competence for different tasks, it has also prompted concerns about misuse and its wider effects on the labor market. Tech leaders have also highlighted that the tool may be far from perfect and could make factual errors that users may overlook. Even in a newsroom setting, tech news platform CNET used A.I. for months before its inaccuracies were revealed in an investigation by Futurism.

And when Google unveiled its own A.I. offering, Bard, in a promo video last week, the video captured the A.I. providing inaccurate information. Google shares immediately fell and the company lost $100 billion dollars in market value. 

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