Esquire Singapore uses AI bot to create and curate April issue

Esquire Singapore has launched a print issue created by an artificially intelligent bot. The cover of the issue also features an app-less AR hologram of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, with a detailed interview inside the magazine.

With the growth and influence of artificial intelligence (AI), Esquire said it aims to "push the boundaries of story telling" by unveiling its April AI issue. The April issue has been curated and written by both human editors as well as an artificially intelligent editor, named "AI Squire".

The issue was specifically created for Esquire Singapore by artificial intelligence consulting company QLX. Stories by AI Squire will be marked within the April Issue with a robot icon accompanied by the text to indicate that it is written by the bot. Articles are also marked as "AI curated" if they are recommended by the bot but written by the human editorial team.

According to Esquire Singapore, this issue mixes print and digital technology in an attempt to answer pressing questions in the publishing industry such as "are human editors and writers replaceable" and "what actually constitutes good storytelling".

Norman Tan, editor-in-chief of Esquire Singapore said the April issue is a culmination of humans and bots working together to create "thought-provoking" content in a bid to encourage readers to discuss and debate an AI editor’s storytelling process versus a human editor’s process.

Gary Jackson, executive director of innovation and learning at QLX said with AI Squire, a research paper or a magazine article is written in five minutes just by typing in the concept of the story. The bot also prevents plagiarism by citing sources and the flexibility to change the percentage of re-wording to make it more unique.

Meanwhile, the magazine's take on an app-less AR hologram was done in partnership with AR platform, HoloMe. Readers will be able to view the hologram of Game of Thrones star Nikolaj Coster–Waldau by scanning a QR code within the cover story. The QR code leads the reader to a URL that activates the smartphone’s camera. In addition, Esquire also features a virtual robot personality, Blawko on its dual cover April issue to reflect the magazine's collaboration of humans and bots.

Tan said on balance, an artificially intelligent bot should be "more objective" and able to curate and write stories for the magazine independent from personal human perspectives. “But does that make for better stories? That’s what we want to explore. As humans, we all have inherent biases and prejudices that colour not only how we write, but also which stories we choose to tell,” he added.


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