Audio journalism app Curio can now create customized episodes utilizing AI

Curio, a startup constructing a platform that turns expert journalism into professionally narrated content, is embracing AI know-how to create custom-made audio episodes, based mostly in your prompts. The corporate immediately already has a big catalog of high-quality journalism licensed from companions like The Wall St. Journal, The Guardian, The Atlantic, The Washington Put up, Bloomberg, New York Magainze, and others, which it leveraged to coach its AI mannequin, powered by OpenAI applied sciences. This enables Curio customers to now ask its new AI helper, “Rio,” a query they need to be taught extra about, then have it return a bespoke audio episode that features solely fact-checked content material — not AI “hallucinations.”

The corporate can also be immediately saying a further strategic funding from the pinnacle of TED, Chris Anderson, a previous investor in Curio’s Collection A spherical. Forward of this, Curio had raised over $15 million from investors together with Earlybird, Draper Esprit, Cherry Ventures, Horizons Ventures, 500 Startups, and others.

Anderson’s new contribution quantity is just not being disclosed, however Curio says he’s a “vital investor.”

Based in 2016 by ex-BBC strategist Govind Balakrishnan and London lawyer Srikant Chakravarti, Curio’s authentic idea was to supply a subscription-based service that gives entry to a curated library of journalism translated into audio. To take action, the corporate partnered with dozens of media organizations to license their content material, which is then narrated by voice actors and added to the Curio app. The expertise is an enchancment over the information audio choices offered by providers like Pocket, the place customers save articles to take heed to later, as Curio’s content material is learn by actual individuals, not robotic-sounding AI voices.

With the addition of its AI characteristic, Curio is now in a position to curate customized audio as effectively, on prime of its hand-picked number of audio journalism. The corporate believes this might change into a strong use case for AI at a time when there are reliable issues about AI chatbots offering false data or making up information after they don’t know the right way to generate the proper reply — one thing that’s known as a “hallucination.” Already, we’ve seen falsehoods offered by AI chatbots when both Google and Microsoft demonstrated their new AI search instruments, as an illustration.

Curio’s AI, alternatively, gained’t return something it “makes” up, because it’s combining audio clips from throughout its catalog in response to customers’ queries, successfully creating mini podcast episodes that help you discover a subject by high quality, fact-checked journalism.

The corporate suggests you possibly can use the AI characteristic through prompts like, “inform me about the potential of peace in Ukraine,” “what’s the way forward for meals?,” “inform me in regards to the U.S. debt ceiling,” “inform me why Vermeer is so nice,” or “I’ve 40 minutes, replace me on AI,” for instance.

Picture Credit: Curio screenshot on internet

Nevertheless, the AI can’t return data on breaking information, because it takes time for it to translate information articles into narrated audio. However could possibly be used to discover varied subjects in additional element.

“We are attempting to create from, a technical perspective, an AI that doesn’t hallucinate,” explains Curio’s Chief Advertising and marketing Officer, Gastón Tourn. “And the second factor that’s fascinating is this concept of unlocking data from journalism — from information — as a result of while you ask questions, it truly additionally proposes articles from, perhaps from a number of years in the past, however they’re nonetheless tremendous related to what’s occurring proper now.”

Along with the media manufacturers talked about above, Curio additionally has relationships with The Economist, FT, WIRED, Vox, Vulture, Scientific American, Quick Firm, Salon, Aeon, Bloomberg Businessweek, Overseas Coverage, The Lower, and others — in complete, over 30 publications are supported. (The New York Instances, we should always word, is just not one among them. And the corporate launched its personal audio journalism app immediately, because it seems.)

To get began with the brand new Curio AI, you’ll kind your query or immediate into the field offered, as if you happen to have been interacting with an AI chatbot, like ChatGPT. (Curio depends on OpenAI’s GPT 3.5 mannequin, we perceive.) This characteristic is obtainable each on the web and in Curio’s mobile apps.

To create the customized audio episode for you, Curio crunches by over 5,000 hours of audio, however this all takes only a few moments of processing from the person’s perspective. This ends in a customized audio episode that features an introduction together with two articles from Curio’s publications.

Curio itself is a premium subscription service priced at $24.99 per 30 days (or $14.99/mo if paying for a 12 months upfront). Nevertheless, the AI characteristic is free to make use of, in the meanwhile. The corporate says that’s as a result of it desires to get “Rio” into the arms of as many individuals as doable, so it may be taught. For example, it’s seeking to perceive what size customers want for these customized episodes, although proper now it’s leaning towards shorter articles.

Later, Curio might add extra options — like the flexibility to share your episodes with others or get recommendations based mostly on what different customers are asking about.

“We don’t see AI as a curation device,” notes Tourn. “We see it extra as a discovery device. We predict what AI does is unearth content material that’s tremendous fascinating and finds methods to narrate to it, however the curation remains to be human and the voices are nonetheless human.”

The corporate immediately has a smaller buyer base of over a thousand subscribers, and a million-plus app downloads, however the AI addition might immediate the app to realize extra traction as customers discover this distinctive use case for AI.

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