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  • Mal McCallion

NYT's Bold Move: No AI Training on Our Content!

Updated: Dec 11, 2023

The New York Times (NYT) has taken a bold step in the AI ethics debate.

The esteemed publication has updated its Terms of Service to prohibit the use of its content for training artificial intelligence (AI) models. This move, which includes text, photographs, audio/video clips, and metadata, is a significant development in the ongoing conversation around AI and data rights.

This decision comes in the wake of Google's recent privacy policy update, which revealed that the tech giant might collect public data from the web to train its AI services. Large language models like OpenAI's ChatGPT often use vast datasets, potentially containing copyrighted materials, without the original creator's permission. This move by the NYT could be seen as a direct response to such practices.

Interestingly, the NYT signed a whopping $100 million deal with Google earlier this year, allowing the search giant to feature Times content across its platforms for the next three years. The two companies will collaborate on tools for content distribution, subscriptions, marketing, ads, and "experimentation". However, the recent changes to the NYT's terms of service seem to be aimed at other companies like OpenAI or Microsoft.

The Times' decision to drop out of a media coalition attempting to negotiate with tech companies over AI training data further suggests that it might strike deals on a case-by-case basis going forward.

In response to growing concerns, OpenAI recently announced that website operators could now block its GPTBot web crawler from scraping their websites. Microsoft also added new restrictions to its terms and conditions, banning users from using its AI products to create, train, or improve other AI services.

The move by the NYT is a clear signal to the AI industry that data rights and ethical use of content cannot be overlooked. It's a wake-up call for AI developers and a reminder that the road to AI advancement must respect the rights of content creators. As the AI ethics debate continues, we can expect more organizations to follow suit and take a stand for their data rights.

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