An AI-generated intern is causing a stir in media circles. And the conversation is spreading.
Picture this: you’re a university student in your final year, and you’re keen to seek out an internship to gain some workplace experience before you graduate. You like writing, so you apply for an internship with a media company.
All is going well, and the recruiter promises that you will receive a reply in a week. But in the end, you receive an email that begins with: “We received a large number of applications, and after carefully reviewing all of them…”
You’ve been rejected.
Guess you’re still unemployed. Oh well, you sigh to yourself. You go out for a nice hotpot and forget about it. A few weeks later, you come across an article about said company introducing its new recruit: A lovely intern whose face is generated with Midjourney, and whose excellent writing is generated with ChatGPT.
Oh my god, you think to yourself. Have I just been replaced by an AI?
That was an entirely made up scenario, but considering AI’s increasing prevalence in the workplace, could it very well be reality in the near future? Tech In Asia, one of Singapore’s largest technology news publications, introduced Grace Priscilla Teo, the newsroom’s first “AI-generated intern”, and perhaps the island’s first.
Grace’s first official introduction was in April on TikTok. In mid-July, she took over the publication’s Instagram account for a day to answer questions from Tech In Asia’s audience.
“I’ve always been fascinated by the tech scene in Asia and how it’s constantly innovating. I’m also curious to learn more about how journalism works. That’s why I applied for an internship at Tech in Asia, where I could combine my passion for writing and technology,” wrote Grace on Instagram.
A few days later, the publication confirmed to its readership that Grace is actually completely generated by AI. Surprise, surprise — if you didn’t already catch that easter egg, Grace’s initials stood for ‘GPT’ which is a reference to ChatGPT.
“We’ve been experimenting with AI a lot this year. Actually, they’re more than experiments: as a company, we often make over 100 requests [to perform tasks] to AI tools on a weekday,” the publication wrote.
Grace’s photos were made with Midjourney. In correspondence with The Chainsaw, Terence Lee, Chief Editor of Tech In Asia, shared that the prompt to create Grace contained her age, descriptions of her appearance, and what she would be wearing. However, Midjourney’s output was not consistent, noted Tech In Asia, resulting in Grace looking “different from photo to photo.”
AI in the newsroom
Early this year, online publication CNET announced that it would let AI write articles for the ‘Money’ section. However, CNET shortly overhauled its policy after more than half of the AI’s finance stories contained factual inaccuracies.
Lee tells us that with Grace’s case, “every article generated with the help of AI is fact-checked before publishing.” The publication also described Grace as a “super intern”. She has the capacity to work “tirelessly” on mundane tasks “at the fraction of the cost of hiring a human intern.”
In Australia, a recent report found that as many as 70% of Aussies fear that AI could someday take over jobs. Such is the same in Asia-Pacific nations like Singapore: Data from Microsoft shows that 67% of Singaporeans fear that AI will replace their jobs.
How did writers in Tech In Asia’s newsroom feel about AI’s presence? Lee tells us that they’re actually “intrigued”, and “played around with AI tools” themselves. However, as efficient of an intern as Grace may seem, the publication noted that she sometimes needed guidance from her superiors.
“We quickly found out that it’s not capable of writing complex articles better than our journalists,” Lee tells The Chainsaw. Like human journalists, Grace made mistakes that required human editing.
So, journalism students and writing majors don’t have to panic… for now. 😉