Microsoft is reportedly cutting dozens of jobs in its news production and replacing them with artificial intelligence (AI)-based algorithms to perform their editorial duties, reports stated on Friday.
According to a report in the Seattle Times, “the roughly 50 employees, contracted through staffing agencies Aquent, IFG and MAQ Consulting, have been notified that their services would no longer be needed beyond June 30.”
The jobs are in Microsoft’s news section or the content arm that operates MSN.com and other properties. The report, however, suggests that full-time news producers will be retained and all contractual news production jobs have been eliminated.
A Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement that like all companies, they evaluate business on a regular basis.
“This can result in increased investment in some places and, from time to time, redeployment in others. These decisions are not the result of the current pandemic,” said the Microsoft spokesperson.
Some employees told Seattle Times that “MSN will use AI to replace the production work they’d been doing. That work includes using algorithms to identify trending news stories from dozens of publishing partners and to help optimize the content by rewriting headlines or adding better accompanying photographs or slide shows.”
Besides the production work, the contract employees also planned content, maintained the editorial calendars of partner news websites and assigned content to them.