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The Future of Journalism Is Secure With Hell A.I.P.S.

An announcement on Hell Gate's plan to save local news using artificial intelligence.

Technical rendering of the Hell Gate Artificial Intelligence Publishing System. (Hell Gate)

If you talk to journalists at all these days, which we in Hell Gate management are obliged sometimes to do when the water cooler on the executive floor is empty and we need someone to heft a new jug on it, it's difficult to avoid coming away with a dire picture of the journalism industry: mass layoffs, shuttered bureaus, entire publications blinking out like dead stars, panicked and dubiously capable management pivoting madly from desperate strategic folly to desperate strategic folly.

Technology has disrupted the old ways of learning things about the world and sharing that information with the public, and disruption is inevitably painful, to be sure. But technology has also opened up vast new fields of opportunity for newsmedia, for those of us in management with the courage and blithe self-confidence to leap into the unknown and seize the moment.

That's why we are extremely proud to announce today that we are steering Hell Gate straight into the crisis-tunity with a bold and visionary new initiative we're calling the Hell Gate Artificial Intelligence Publishing System, or Hell A.I.P.S. 

(A quick note here, lest there be any confusion: Hell A.I.P.S. is a completely different product from Hell Apes, the crypto-powered non-fungible-token journalism funding model we talked a lot about a couple years ago until things got weird and which we have studiously avoided mentioning ever since. Suffice it to say that the blockchain-enabled Hell Apes technology did not prove to be the silver bullet for rescuing journalism that we had hoped. But experimentation requires failure, and if we learned one thing from our Hell Apes initiative, it is that we must not hang our hopes for the future of journalism on buzzy and poorly-understood technologies.)

Here's how we assess the current state of play in news publishing: Hell Gate is the owner of a large and growing intellectual property library chock-full of words arranged by humans, containing information that actual humans took time to collect and verify. Historically, that library had some value on the traditional market to news consumers, who might subscribe to Hell Gate to learn what's going on in New York City. But now, it also has value to tech companies, which want to feed that library into their large-language model plagiarism-laundering machinery like a clear-cut forest into a sawmill, and mix it into a slurry with other repositories of knowledge like the WrongAnswersOnly subreddit, the complete writings of P*U*S*S*Y*I*N*B*I*O social media bots, and the Atlantic magazine. Then the tech companies can serve that enhanced slurry to news consumers themselves, in a way that commingles the best of all these sources and serves them straight to consumers straight from their own search portals, cutting out the tedium of linking out to a reliable news source.

This new model obviously has a great deal to recommend it, and many believe it to be the future of the industry, but it does pose one technical challenge: If the enhanced information slurry is being served to news consumers directly by the tech companies in such a way that it profits the tech companies but not particularly the journalists whose time and energy produce the reports that constitute the raw material of the slurry, there's a risk that the journalists, alienated even further from their readers and any sustaining revenue, might die of starvation or quit the field for more remunerative work. If that happens, it could produce one of those extremely rare instances in which the free market produces unsustainable development tendencies, devastating resources and leading to agonizing boom-bust cycles. After all, where will the news slurry find its raw materials when all the news reporters are gone?

This is where Hell A.I.P.S. comes in. While other publications are selling their content to tech companies out of desperation, hoping to buy themselves another year or two of survival with no plan for what happens after AI craters their readership and revenue, Hell Gate is doing something different. As of today, we are feeding every Hell Gate blog into two discrete AI systems: One, owned by the tech lords, who are giving us $6.99 a month to use our NYC news in their slurry; and the other, Hell A.I.P.S., our own proprietary neural network composed of highly efficient wetware nodes made from ethically sourced bonobo brainstems. These nodes only live a week before they have to be replaced, but they use a fraction of the electricity of conventional silicon networks.

As the Hell A.I.P.S. network processes these blog posts, it teaches itself how to write its own blog posts in the signature Hell Gate style. This means that if Hell Gate's licensing deal with the beneficent lampreys of Silicon Valley proves insufficient to keep our journalists alive and healthy enough to produce journalism, we have a fallback: An automated Hell Gate doomsday machine that can continue to publish NYC news blogs long after the last journalist is dead or reskilled as a bonobo euthanization technician.

We are proud to say that Hell Gate has transcended the human-machine duality. New York City will never become a news desert, even if nobody ever pays for journalism again. The future of local news is secure.

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