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Microsoft has deleted an MSN article that recommends Ottawa Food Bank as a tourist destination. 

The article was first pointed out by Paris Marx on X (formerly Twitter) yesterday and claims the article advises tourists to go “on an empty stomach”. 

The food bank was reportedly placed at number 3 on the list of destinations to visit. 

Microsoft faced backlash in 2020 after the company lay off its journalists to replace them with AI generated content

Since then an open letter has been signed by ten of the largest global news agencies calling for stricter AI regulations and transparency. The letter calls for AI’s usage in journalism to be monitored to ensure public trust in the media. 

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By GlobalData

Speaking to The Verge on the food bank’s inclusion in the MSN article, communications manager Samantha Koziara expressed deep concern over the “insensitive” empty stomach line which she believes was not proofread by a human editor. 

“To my knowledge, we haven’t seen anything like this before – but as AI gets more and more popular,” Koziara explained, “I don’t doubt an increased number of inaccurate/inappropriate references will be made in listicles such as this.” 

Koziara’s concerns are echoed by GlobalData research that suggests many businesses are already incorporating AI into their systems. 

As of 18 August 2023, 18% of businesses surveyed stated that they had a “very high adoption” rate of AI. A further 28% answered that they were very confident in integrating ChatGPT into their software in the near future. 

Just this week travel company TUI announced that it would be launching ChatGPT features to its UK mobile app. The AI features are intended to give customers personalised trip recommendations, from hotels, locations and restaurants. 

In response to Verdict’s request for comment, Microsoft clarified that the article was not the result of a lone AI system.

A spokesperson for Microsoft explained that the content was generated through a “combination of algorithmic techniques with human review, not a large language model or AI system.”

The spokesperson reassured that Microsoft was working on ensuring this type of content was not published again.