Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Bit by bit, text generated by artificial intelligence is creeping into the mainstream. This week brought news that the venerable consumer tech site CNET, where I worked from 2012 to 2013, has been using “automation technology” to publish at least 73 explainers on financial topics since November. While the site has refused to answer any questions, it’s hardly the first news organization to explore replacing human labor with robots: the Associated Press has been publishing automated stories since 2014.

This week the New York Times’ Cade Metz profiled Character A.I., a website that lets you interact with chatbots that mimic countless real people and fictional characters. The site launched last summer and for the moment leans heavily on…

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