Tech giant Microsoft is looking to lay off editorial workers at its Microsoft News and MSN services. This is part of the company’s move towards artificial intelligence (AI) in the field of news curation. As a result, about 50 people in the US, and around 27 people in the UK, will be let go .
These editorial staff are part of the company’s SANE (search, ads, News, Edge) division. They are tasked to pick up news storues to be displayed on the Microsoft News app, the MSN website, and the Edge browser. The company also says that the layoffs are not the result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A company spokesperson said that the layoffs are a part of its regular business evaluation. “This can result in increased investment in some places and, from time to time, re-deployment in others”.
When Microsoft News was first launched, the company said it had “more than 800 editors working from 50 locations around the world”. Granted, the number of staff shed this time around is small in comparison. But it still sends the message that AIs can do the jobs of editors.
Maybe it’s only a matter of time before machines can write the stories themselves too. Hopefully it at least turns out better than the company’s previous AI.