Audio journalism app Curio can now create personalised episodes utilizing AI


Curio, a startup constructing a platform that turns professional journalism into professionally narrated content material, is embracing AI expertise to create personalized audio episodes, primarily based 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 permits 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 an extra 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 buyers together with Earlybird, Draper Esprit, Cherry Ventures, Horizons Ventures, 500 Startups, and others.

Anderson’s new contribution quantity just isn’t 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 unique 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 supplied by companies like Pocket, the place customers save articles to hearken to later, as Curio’s content material is learn by actual individuals, not robotic-sounding AI voices.

With the addition of its AI function, Curio is now capable of curate customized audio as nicely, on high of its hand-picked number of audio journalism. The corporate believes this might grow to be a robust use case for AI at a time when there are authentic considerations about AI chatbots offering false info or making up details after they don’t know the right way to generate the appropriate reply — one thing that’s known as a “hallucination.” Already, we’ve seen falsehoods supplied by AI chatbots when both Google and Microsoft demonstrated their new AI search instruments, as an example.

Curio’s AI, then again, received’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 can help you discover a subject via high quality, fact-checked journalism.

The corporate suggests you might use the AI function by way of prompts like, “inform me about the potential for peace in Ukraine,” “what’s the way forward for meals?,” “inform me concerning 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 info on breaking information, because it takes time for it to translate information articles into narrated audio. However could possibly be used to discover numerous matters 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 attention-grabbing is this concept of unlocking data from journalism — from information — as a result of while you ask questions, it really 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, International Coverage, The Minimize, and others — in complete, over 30 publications are supported. (The New York Occasions, we should always observe, just isn’t one in all 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 sort your query or immediate into the field supplied, as for those who have been interacting with an AI chatbot, like ChatGPT. (Curio depends on OpenAI’s GPT 3.5 mannequin, we perceive.) This function is obtainable each on the web and in Curio’s mobile apps.

To create the personalised audio episode for you, Curio crunches via over 5,000 hours of audio, however this all takes only a few moments of processing from the consumer’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 thirty days (or $14.99/mo if paying for a yr upfront). Nevertheless, the AI function is free to make use of, in the intervening time. The corporate says that’s as a result of it desires to get “Rio” into the arms of as many individuals as potential, so it will probably be taught. For example, it’s trying to perceive what size customers desire for these personalised episodes, although proper now it’s leaning towards shorter articles.

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

“We don’t see AI as a curation instrument,” notes Tourn. “We see it extra as a discovery instrument. We expect what AI does is unearth content material that’s tremendous attention-grabbing and finds methods to narrate to it, however the curation continues 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 could immediate the app to realize extra traction as customers discover this distinctive use case for AI.


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