Artificial intelligence (AI) has become a prominent tool in the media industry, generating content and assisting with tasks such as writing travel guides and explanatory articles. However, some tech outlets are taking a different approach, using generative AI to provide readers with quick and accurate answers to tech-related questions. On August 1st, Macworld, PCWorld, Tech Advisor, and TechHive introduced an AI chatbot called Smart Answers, aimed at helping readers find specific information within their vast archives of tech content.

Developed by media and marketing company Foundry, Smart Answers is not designed to replace human authors but to enhance the reader experience. This AI chatbot, trained exclusively on English-language articles from the four tech websites, offers responses based on the content published by expert writers. Readers can enter questions or select from an FAQ list generated by AI, with responses including relevant article links.

The primary goal of Smart Answers is to assist users in quickly accessing specific information from a vast repository of content. Neil Bennett, Global Director of Product and Data at Foundry, explained that sometimes readers seek precise facts rather than in-depth articles. By utilizing AI, readers can retrieve targeted information efficiently.

To ensure the AI-generated responses are accurate and trustworthy, Foundry conducted extensive testing with editorial staff over several months. The company emphasizes the importance of maintaining the quality and reliability of information provided by Smart Answers.

However, Smart Answers is not without its limitations. Some straightforward queries may challenge the chatbot, resulting in inaccurate or incomplete responses. For instance, when asked about the release date of the last iPod Nano, the chatbot initially provided an incorrect answer, which was later amended to “I don’t have enough information to answer this question.” Such limitations are attributed to the specificity and coverage of the content from which Smart Answers draws its responses.

In the event of inaccuracies or incomplete responses, Foundry relies on user feedback to improve the chatbot’s performance. Smart Answers aims to address the common pitfalls of AI tools by leveraging high-quality content from reputable sources, ultimately enhancing the reader’s ability to obtain accurate tech-related information.

While Smart Answers represents a promising integration of AI in tech media, its development remains a work in progress, with ongoing efforts to refine its capabilities and reliability. The chatbot’s introduction reflects a growing trend in media where AI complements human expertise to provide readers with valuable information efficiently.

By Impact Lab