Matias S. Zavia, a Spanish-English translation editor at the tech-focused website Gizmodo, recently lost his job due to the growing prevalence of artificial intelligence-driven translation features.
Founded in 2002, Gizmodo has started relying on AI for its translation needs, including a disclaimer that says, “This content has been automatically translated from its original version. Minor discrepancies may exist due to the nuances of machine translation. Click here for the original version.”
As AI-based translation tools become increasingly sophisticated and widespread, their use has expanded into various sectors, from academic institutions to corporations.
This technological shift has raised concerns about job displacement among professionals like translators and editors. The situation involving Matias S. Zavia serves as a cautionary tale, illustrating the labor market changes triggered by advances in artificial intelligence.
“ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE TAKEN MY JOB”
Matias S. Zavia took to social media to announce his job loss, stating, “Hello friends. An AI literally took my job,” referencing his former role at Gizmodo’s Spanish edition, GizmodoEs. A G/O Media representative, the parent company of Gizmodo, confirmed that the decision impacted some of their international staff as well.
Gizmodo’s editor-in-chief further elaborated on the move in an internal email to employees, saying, “On Wednesday morning, G/O began publishing Gizmodo stories translated into Spanish using an automated system.” The email went on to explain, “We employ an advanced translation service that offers contextual understanding when executing translations. This initiative marks the beginning of our journey to publish our journalism in local languages. In the upcoming months, expect to see more of our brands extending into various languages.”
The email also noted, “Underneath each automatically translated article, a disclaimer outlines our methodology and provides a link to the original content. The translated pieces are published without subtitles.”
The developments at Gizmodo highlight the double-edged sword of technological progress. While AI capabilities can expand the reach of journalism and offer content in multiple languages, they also raise serious questions about job security for professionals in fields increasingly susceptible to automation.
The union affiliated with The Writers Guild of America expressed its sadness for the laid-off worker. “Instead of relying on the talented journalists at Gizmodo Espanol, G/O Media implemented automation that takes English-language Gizmodo articles, poorly translates them into Spanish, and publishes them to Gizmodo Espanol almost immediately, without any editing in Spanish,” the statement said.
NOT THE FIRST DISMISSAL
This is not the first complaint about employees being fired due to new artificial intelligence technology. In recent months, many workers have claimed that their jobs have been transferred to artificial intelligence products.
Companies are announcing that they are ready to incorporate AI into their daily workflows, and so some CEOs, including IBM boss Arvind Krishna, are reviewing plans to lay off some employees in favor of the technology.
Productive use of AI in the workplace can help with cost savings and efficiency, but AI is still far from perfect, according to technology researchers. Some companies run into problems after implementing technology too quickly or without human oversight.