Ross Levinsohn, Sports Illustrated CEO, Recognizes Responsibility in Using AI for Publication

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Ross Levinsohn, Sports Illustrated CEO, Recognizes Responsibility in Using AI for Publication

Digital transformation is causing disruption in virtually every industry, including publication, mentioned Ross Levinsohn, Sports Illustrated CEO, during recent interviews. Specifically, he addressed the issues faced by Arena Group’s publications by adding artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to its business. While recognizing AI’s capabilities as part of publication processes, Levinsohn also acknowledged potential drawbacks. By implementing AI into the publication responsibly, he is making sure that the publication doesn’t run afoul of issues the technology may cause, an obstacle faced by other publications.

Arena Group manages many major publications including Parade, Men’s Journal, TheStreet, and Sports Illustrated. As Sports Illustrated CEO, Ross Levinsohn has monitored AI’s progress creating stories for major publications and is approaching the technology in Sports Illustrated with appropriate caution and responsibility. As Arena Group partners with Jasper and Nota to increase production speed and the breadth of its offerings by leveraging AI, Levinsohn is making sure that using the technology is done with an eye toward responsible publication.

Another Arena Group brand, Men’s Journal, recently created AI-assisted articles using OpenAI, a ChatGPT tool. The magazine’s articles “Proven Tips to Help You Run Your Fastest Mile Yet” and “What All Men Should Know About Low Testosterone” were created with bylines that attribute the articles to Men’s Fitness Editors. However, unlike other publications, the magazine has chosen to include a disclaimer referencing the AI origins of the articles: “This article is a curation of expert advice from Men’s Fitness, using deep-learning tools for retrieval combined with OpenAI’s large language model for various stages of the workflow. This article was reviewed and fact checked by our editorial team.”

However, Ross Levinsohn is taking the process a step further, training Sports Illustrated‘s AI language models using the company’s existing archives so the generated stories remain in line with the magazine’s brand. Once new stories are created, they are edited by humans to ensure the facts are correct and in line with the publication’s preferred tone, style, and voice. This will, hopefully, help Sports Illustrated avoid the issues faced by CNET after revelations showed issues with the accuracy of their AI-generated articles.

CNET’s new owner Red Ventures pushed the brand into various economizing schemes, including publishing AI-generated content without review. Criticism soon arose over the lack of proper disclosure. An internal review showed over half of the AI-generated articles included errors that needed to be corrected. It’s been noted by many experts that AI language tools are capable of generating plausible information that is often incorrect, as noted by computer science professor Arvind Narayanan. 

Arena Group and Ross Levinsohn do not want to replace the company’s existing journalists but instead are aiming to create additional “enterprise value for our brands and customers,” per Levinsohn. The existing plan is to use the technology to increase workflow efficiency, with the idea to extend the capabilities of the company’s existing writers while allowing a broader range of topics to be covered by the publication.Following the announcement, Arena Group Holdings’ share prices rose but are expected to settle again similar to the activity seen when BuzzFeed shared comparable news. Ross Levinsohn only sees good in using AI responsibly, mentioning during a Wall Street Journal interview, “It’s not about ‘crank out AI content and do as much as you can.’ Google will penalize you for that and more isn’t better; better is better.” With today’s mentality that creating more content now is an imperative, this type of responsibility in the face of pervasive and irresponsible technology use is reassuring.