AI could also be inching its manner into the newsroom, as shops like Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, Gizmodo, VentureBeat, CNET and others have experimented with articles written by AI. However whereas most respectable journalists will condemn this use case, there are a selection of startups that assume AI can improve the information expertise — no less than on the buyer’s aspect. The newest to affix the fray is Rio, an “AI information anchor” designed to assist readers join with the tales and subjects they’re most fascinated with from reliable sources.

The brand new app, from the identical group behind AI-powered audio journalism startup Curio, was first unveiled ultimately month’s South by Southwest Competition in Austin. It has raised funding from Khosla Ventures and the pinnacle of TED, Chris Anderson, who additionally backed Curio. (The startup says the spherical has not but closed, so it may well’t disclose the quantity.)

Curio itself was based in 2016 by ex-BBC strategist Govind Balakrishnan and London lawyer Srikant Chakravarti; Rio is a brand new effort that can develop the usage of Curio’s AI know-how.

First developed as a characteristic inside Curio’s app, Rio scans headlines from trusted papers and magazines like Bloomberg, The Wall Avenue Journal, Monetary Instances, The Washington Put up and others, after which curates that content material right into a day by day information briefing you possibly can both learn or take heed to.

As well as, the group says Rio will hold customers from discovering themselves in an echo chamber by looking for out information that expands their understanding of subjects and encourages them to dive deeper.

Picture Credit: Curio/Rio

In assessments, Rio ready a day by day briefing offered in one thing of a Story-like interface with graphics and hyperlinks to information articles you possibly can faucet on on the backside of the display screen that may narrate the article utilizing an AI voice. (These have been full articles, to be clear, not AI summaries.) You advance by the headlines in the identical manner as you’d faucet by a Story on a social media app like Instagram.

Curio says Rio’s AI know-how gained’t fabricate info and can solely reference content material from its trusted publishers companions. Rio gained’t use writer content material to coach an LLM (massive language mannequin) with out “specific consent,” it says.

Picture Credit: Curio/Rio

Past the briefing, you may also work together with Rio in an AI chatbot interface the place you possibly can ask about different subjects of curiosity. Urged subjects — like “TikTok ban” or “Ukraine Battle,” for instance — seem as small capsules above the textual content enter field. We discovered the AI was generally a little bit gradual to reply at occasions, however, in any other case, it carried out as anticipated.

Plus, Rio would supply to create an audio episode to your queries if you wish to study extra.

Co-founder Balakrishnan stated that Curio customers had requested Rio over 20,000 questions because it launched as a characteristic in Curio final Could, which is why the corporate determined to spin out the tech into its personal app.

“AI has us all questioning what’s true and what’s not. You may scan AI websites for fast solutions, however trusting them blindly is a little bit of a chance,” famous Chakravarti in a press release launched round Rio’s debut at SXSW. “Dependable information is difficult to return by. Solely a fortunate few get entry to fact-checked, verified info. Rio guides you thru the information, turning on a regular basis headlines from trusted sources into information. Checking the information with Rio leaves you feeling fulfilled as a substitute of down.”

It’s laborious to say if Rio is sticky sufficient to demand its standalone product, but it surely’s simple to think about an interface like this sooner or later coming to bigger information aggregators, like Google Information or Apple Information, maybe, and even to particular person publishers’ websites. In the meantime, Curio may even proceed to exit with a concentrate on audio information.

Curio isn’t the one startup trying to AI to boost the information studying expertise. Former Twitter engineers are constructing Particle, an AI-powered information reader, backed by $4.4 million. One other AI-powered information app, Bulletin, additionally launched to deal with clickbait together with providing information summaries. Artifact had additionally leveraged AI earlier than exiting to For Millionaires’s father or mother firm, Yahoo.

Rio is presently in early entry, which suggests you’ll want an invite to get in. In any other case, you possibly can be part of the app’s waitlist at rionews.ai. The corporate tells us it plans to launch publicly later this summer time. (As a reward for studying to the underside, 5 of you need to use my own invite link to get in.)