The Washington Post launches “Climate Answers”

The Washington Post launches “Climate Answers”

From chief technology officer Vineet Khosla:

I’m excited to announce the launch of Climate Answers, our latest initiative to meet our audiences where they are and make our journalism more accessible to them.

The rise of chat interfaces powered by generative AI got us thinking: How could we offer an experience that leaned into the expertise and high-quality reporting produced by The Washington Post? Over the past six months, the Product, Design, and Engineering teams worked closely with the Climate team to build this new conversational interface to make it easy for readers to get answers to their climate questions.

This experiment leverages artificial intelligence to help our users discover and explore our authoritative climate reporting. Users’ questions are answered directly from articles published by The Washington Post since 2016 that are in the Climate & Environment and Weather sections. If the tool doesn’t readily find a relevant article (even if we’ve published one), it won’t serve a reply: we set a high bar in our scoring of relevant articles for a given question.

This new feature further exemplifies our belief that one size does not fit all when it comes to how our users experience our journalism. Its intent is to offer users new ways to engage with our authoritative reporting that we have already published.

This launch is a true company-wide effort involving many teams and dozens of individuals across our newsroom and technology teams:

  • I want to thank those teams that made today’s launch happen, especially our Climate team and the leadership of its editors Zach Goldfarb and Juliet Eilperin. Whether through Climate Coach, Climate Lab, our climate and environmental journalism at large – and now Climate Answers – the data shows our critical journalism empowers and informs users’ decision-making for navigating our changing planet.
  • The Tech team has worked tirelessly to create various beta-tested versions of Climate Answers, which some of you have tried. I would like to thank Dr. Sam Han, Phoebe Connelly and Tony Guzman for their relentless effort in crafting this product. This team will now continue to closely monitor, vet, test and confirm the experiment to offer our users the most accurate and informative experience possible.

Climate Answers, limited article summaries, and AI audio-read newsletters are some of the initial steps we’ve made during the “Build It” phase to infuse AI across the most relevant areas of our work. Stay tuned for more experiments and opportunities to serve our readers with these emerging technologies.

Please join me in thanking those involved for their hard work and try Climate Answers for yourself if you haven’t already.

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