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

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AI whitethorn beryllium inching its measurement into nan newsroom, arsenic outlets for illustration Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, Gizmodo, VentureBeat, CNET and others person experimented pinch articles written by AI. But while astir respectable journalists will condemn this usage case, location are a number of startups that deliberation AI tin heighten nan news acquisition — astatine slightest connected nan consumer’s side. The latest to subordinate nan fray is Rio, an “AI news anchor” designed to thief readers link pinch nan stories and topics they’re astir willing successful from trustworthy sources.

The caller app, from nan aforesaid squad down AI-powered audio publicity startup Curio, was first unveiled astatine past month’s South by Southwest Festival successful Austin. It has raised backing from Khosla Ventures and nan caput of TED, Chris Anderson, who besides backed Curio. (The startup says nan information has not yet closed, truthful it can’t disclose nan amount.)

Curio itself was founded successful 2016 by ex-BBC strategist Govind Balakrishnan and London lawyer Srikant Chakravarti; Rio is simply a caller effort that will grow nan usage of Curio’s AI technology.

First developed arsenic a characteristic wrong Curio’s app, Rio scans headlines from trusted papers and magazines for illustration Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, The Washington Post and others, and past curates that contented into a regular news briefing you tin either publication aliases perceive to.

In addition, nan squad says Rio will support users from uncovering themselves successful an echo enclosure by seeking retired news that expands their knowing of topics and encourages them to dive deeper.

Image Credits: Curio/Rio

In tests, Rio prepared a regular briefing presented successful thing of a Story-like interface pinch graphics and links to news articles you could pat connected astatine nan bottommost of nan surface that would narrate nan article utilizing an AI voice. (These were afloat articles, to beryllium clear, not AI summaries.) You beforehand done nan headlines successful nan aforesaid measurement arsenic you would pat done a Story connected a societal media app for illustration Instagram.

Curio says Rio’s AI exertion won’t fabricate accusation and will only reference contented from its trusted publishers partners. Rio won’t usage patient contented to train an LLM (large connection model) without “explicit consent,” it says.

Image Credits: Curio/Rio

Beyond nan briefing, you tin besides interact pinch Rio successful an AI chatbot interface wherever you tin inquire astir different topics of interest. Suggested topics — for illustration “TikTok ban” aliases “Ukraine War,” for illustration — look arsenic mini pills supra nan matter input box. We recovered nan AI was sometimes a small slow to respond astatine times, but, otherwise, it performed arsenic expected.

Plus, Rio would connection to create an audio section for your queries if you want to study more.

Image Credits: Curio/Rio

Co-founder Balakrishnan said that Curio users had asked Rio much than 20,000 questions since it launched arsenic a characteristic successful Curio past May, which is why nan institution decided to rotation retired nan tech into its ain app.

“AI has america each wondering what’s existent and what’s not. You tin scan AI sites for speedy answers, but trusting them blindly is simply a spot of a gamble,” noted Chakravarti successful a connection released astir Rio’s debut astatine SXSW. “Reliable knowledge is difficult to travel by. Only a fortunate fewer get entree to fact-checked, verified information. Rio guides you done nan news, turning mundane headlines from trusted sources into knowledge. Checking nan news pinch Rio leaves you emotion fulfilled alternatively of down.”

It’s difficult to opportunity if Rio is sticky capable to request its standalone product, but it’s easy to ideate an interface for illustration this astatine immoderate constituent coming to larger news aggregators, for illustration Google News aliases Apple News, perhaps, aliases moreover to individual publishers’ sites. Meanwhile, Curio will besides proceed to exit pinch a attraction connected audio news.

Curio is not nan only startup looking to AI to heighten nan news reference experience. Former Twitter engineers are building Particle, an AI-powered news reader, backed by $4.4 million. Another AI-powered news app, Bulletin, besides launched to tackle clickbait on pinch offering news summaries. Artifact had besides leveraged AI before exiting to TechCrunch’s genitor company, Yahoo.

Rio is presently successful early access, which intends you’ll request an invitation to get in. Otherwise, you tin subordinate nan app’s waitlist astatine rionews.ai. The institution tells america it plans to motorboat publically later this summer. (As a reward for reference to nan bottom, 5 of you tin usage my ain induce link to get in.)