Curio raises funds for Rio, an ‘AI news anchor’ in an app

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AI could also be inching its manner into the newsroom, as retailers 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 variety of startups that assume AI can improve the information expertise — not less than on the buyer’s aspect. The most recent to hitch 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 finally month’s South by Southwest Pageant 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 will possibly’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 expertise.

First developed as a function inside Curio’s app, Rio scans headlines from trusted papers and magazines like Bloomberg, The Wall Avenue Journal, Monetary Instances, The Washington Publish and others, after which curates that content material right into a each day information briefing you’ll be able to both learn or take heed to.

As well as, the group says Rio will preserve 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 each day briefing introduced in one thing of a Story-like interface with graphics and hyperlinks to information articles you may faucet on on the backside of the display that might narrate the article utilizing an AI voice. (These had 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.

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Curio says Rio’s AI expertise gained’t fabricate data and can solely reference content material from its trusted publishers companions. Rio gained’t use writer content material to coach an LLM (giant language mannequin) with out “express consent,” it says.

Picture Credit: Curio/Rio

Past the briefing, it’s also possible to work together with Rio in an AI chatbot interface the place you’ll be able to ask about different subjects of curiosity. Instructed 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 bit gradual to reply at instances, 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 be taught extra.

Picture Credit: Curio/Rio

Co-founder Balakrishnan mentioned that Curio customers had requested Rio greater than 20,000 questions because it launched as a function in Curio final Might, 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 possibly can scan AI websites for fast solutions, however trusting them blindly is a little bit of a bet,” famous Chakravarti in an announcement launched round Rio’s debut at SXSW. “Dependable data is difficult to return by. Solely a fortunate few get entry to fact-checked, verified data. Rio guides you thru the information, turning on a regular basis headlines from trusted sources into data. Checking the information with Rio leaves you feeling fulfilled as an alternative of down.”

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It’s exhausting to say if Rio is sticky sufficient to demand its standalone product, but it surely’s straightforward to think about an interface like this in some unspecified time in the future coming to bigger information aggregators, like Google Information or Apple Information, maybe, and even to particular person publishers’ websites. In the meantime, Curio can 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 TechCrunch’s dad or mum firm, Yahoo.

Rio is at present in early entry, which implies you’ll want an invite to get in. In any other case, you’ll be able to be a part of the app’s waitlist at 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.)


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