The Dudes Who Created Instagram Launched a New AI News App

The Dudes Who Created Instagram Launched a New AI News App

Artefact, the self-described “personalised news feed powered by artificial intelligence,” is now live and ready for use by the public. The app was previously introduced last month and seeks to aggregate news stories from top outlets using artificial intelligence.

Artefact was developed by Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, and was previously released as an invite-only platform ahead of its widespread release today. While the app doesn’t reinvent the wheel with its bare-bones news feed, TechCrunch is reporting that future iterations of Artefact will include social networking that allows you discuss the news with friends. Sounds like a non-anonymous Reddit.

The app won’t require you to sign up after downloading, but will prompt you to select ten areas of interest which range from home products, to U.S. politics, to men’s style. Artefact also allows you to link subscriptions to your account to prioritise the news you pay for. But the app’s piece de resistance is its artificial intelligence engine, which learns as you dive into the news.

“Feed improves each time you read,” Artefact tells you when you finish signing up. “Read 25 articles for Artefact to better personalise your feed. Track progress on your profile.”

After playing around, I found the app’s interface cute but clunky. It’s sleek and minimal, which I enjoyed navigating, but the main aesthetic issue is with how articles are presented. Artefact does not open the article in its own in-app interface, but instead opens up an internet browser window within the app that then loads the article. Likewise, while I have the option to prioritise my subscriptions to news outlets, I do not have the option to hide outlets I don’t subscribe to, meaning I run into a paywall more often than not.

Artefact is powered by an AI to feed you news that it thinks you’ll like, but I can’t help but worry about how that could influence the way I consume news — or rather how news consumes me. Artefact is learning what I like and don’t like, meaning it’s going to find what news I click on, try to figure out why, and repeat the process.

While that may seem innocuous in the sense of Artefact consistently feeding me reviews of The Last of Us, how might the app detect and exploit my own political biases? What does my own doom scrolling tell Artefact? While news aggregators use AI all the time, Artefact appears to be no different in its efforts and will create a Kevin-sized echo chamber for me to live in — it’s a tale as old as time with AI.

Artefact did not immediately return Gizmodo’s request for comment on what “learning” is going on inside the app’s digital brain, or on how that may affect a user’s news consumption.

Artefact is currently available to anyone on iOS or Android.

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