It’s been hard to avoid hearing about Artificial Intelligence (AI). Whether in the form of a robotic vacuum, driverless car or voice-activated TV remote, AI is on the forefront of innovation.
And while we can’t say for sure what the near future will bring with AI, it’s pretty safe to say that it will become more and more difficult to tell where human intelligence stops and machine intelligence begins.
Media companies are at the forefront of developing their own AI applications and functions. They’re using this technology in everything from writing articles to organizing data. We’ll explore how these media outlets are incorporating artificial intelligence into their operations–and what they hope to accomplish as a result.
Artificial Intelligence In News Media
For many media outlets, artificial intelligence poses a unique set of problems. For a start, there’s only so much that human editors can do to edit content–and some of the best ones are self-editing.
This means that AI programs need to take over for big chunks of the job. In other cases, AI programs are better than human ones at spotting trends and information that’s not in publicly available databases.
When The Washington Post began utilising Heliograf, a domestic artificial intelligence tool, to cover the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and the legislative elections, it garnered attention. In addition to taking over basic journalistic tasks, artificial intelligence is also being used to personalize content based on reader trends and other data analytics.
Reporting on crime rates in certain areas might differ from news coverage in neighboring states depending on what readers there are interested in. Artificial intelligence can also be used to organize news stories and distribute them to the correct outlets–and even write headlines and descriptions of the story, based on what a human editor would write.
Beyond all these functions, artificial intelligence provides another, more profound way to provide context for content. Because of its ability to process data in real time, AI can better analyze facts and offer useful insights that human editors simply can’t pull off. The result is a more nuanced way of telling stories.
Importance Of Artificial Intelligence In News Media
Artificial Intelligence can generate insights that allow news media to generate articles that measure and reflect the true sentiments of their readers–and do so much faster than ever before.
It’s a huge step forward in journalism and one that’s definitely going to help media outlets become more successful once it makes its way into their workflows. News wire By utilising AI, AP increased its quarterly output of pieces about company earnings reports from 300 to 3,700.
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Risks In Artificial Intelligence In News Media
In recent years, the news industry has been under immense pressure as news articles have struggled to adapt to the digital age. This has led to many news organisation closing down, and those that remain are often forced to cut back on the number of news articles they produce.
About 40,000 stories are automatically generated by the newsroom AI technology of AP each year. The news production industry in London school is under immense pressure as news outlets, news organizations, and news articles are scrutinized more than ever.
The public is demanding more transparency and accountability from the news organisations, which is struggling to keep up. Automated news and machine learning can help.
1. Job Loss
Writers, editors and other journalists could be at risk of losing their jobs to artificial intelligence. AI programs can process large amounts of data and generate reports, articles or even complete books just as well–and in the end, faster–than humans.
While we’ll always need real journalists to write the hard-hitting stories, non-essential tasks might be taken over by AI programs.
2. AI Filter Bubbles
Media outlets might find that readers are increasingly interested in non-objective news or information–the kind that fits into their “bubble,” so to speak. That’s because AI programs can already interpret and write news that fits a user’s biases.
And while this might be good for personalization, it would further widen the gap between different groups of people–and even incite certain types of violence or other acts of aggression.
3. Algorithmic Bias
Artificial intelligence is only as good as the data it’s fed and written by humans. That data could include human biases–which are likely to be translated into the AI program itself, so that it feeds similar biases to readers in the form of news content.
Some media outlets might have an agenda behind getting people to take certain actions or hold certain opinions, which could end up damaging their credibility completely.
4. AI-Generated Fake News
A lot of people already think that current media outlets report fake news nowadays. But with the development of AI, there’s no telling what types of content will be generated–especially if they’re meant to create a certain impression in the reader, whether positive or negative.
They might even target specific groups and demographics, making them seem larger than they really are in reality.
5. AI-Generated Propaganda
As we’ve discussed before , propaganda is easy to spot when it comes from specific outlets with a well-known agenda behind it. But it’s even easier to spot when it comes from artificial intelligence.
For example, if an AI program were to write a news story about how its creator is a hero–and then demonize someone else that the creator despises–it would be very easy for the AI-generated propaganda to spread virally via social media.
6. Surveillance Bias
Artificial intelligence programs can already be set up to collect information on users and then analyze their questions, comments and other data in order to determine what their biases are–and then feed them information accordingly. That way, readers will get information that fits their beliefs no matter what they may be.
7. AI Hacking Risk
Artificial intelligence can also be used to hack into networks and other systems, as we saw in the case of the McAfee-generated malware. While AI has also been used to protect networks, it can easily be turned against them as well.
For example, a fake news story could be generated that will cause readers to take certain actions–whether attacking a group or individual or responding a certain way to a specific situation.
8. Greater Potential For False Alarms
Finally, media outlets are more likely to issue false alarms–whether they’re known as such or not–because they won’t have any hard evidence on which to base their reports.
It’s hard to determine what the “truth” is in any given situation–and there’s too much information out there for machines to process all of it. Therefore, AI-generated content can create false alarms that are widely shared.
Benefits Of Artificial Intelligence In News Media
So, is journalism being replaced by robots? No, according to Charlie Beckett, director of the London School of Economics’ Polis media research tank, who recently oversaw a survey of 71 news organisations in 32 nations.
The Washington Post is one of the most respected news organizations in the world, and they’re now using AI technologies to help with their digital journalism. AI systems are being used to help with things like fact-checking and story selection, and they’re already having a positive impact on the journalism industry.
As more and more news organizations adopt these AI technologies, it’s likely that we’ll see even more positive changes in the way that news is reported.
1. Improved Journalistic Quality
As AI-generated content becomes more common, news media will probably hire more people to develop it–and even start hiring AI programmers. Therefore, the amount of articles that use AI will only increase as well.
Of course, it’s not just about quantity but about what type of articles are generated–and how much human input is actually required. For example, an article might be written by a professional journalist using a human editor. But the original writing might be done by an AI program itself.
2. Better Targeted Content
Artificial intelligence can be used to target users specifically based on their interests, biases and interests–and then create content that fits that target group’s needs. This would be good for media outlets because it would increase their chances of engaging readers and getting them to share the content–which would broaden the circulation.
3. Higher Accuracy In News Reporting
The more data that’s collected about a certain person or a certain group, the better AI can predict what they’re likely to say or do in response to certain situations–and even come up with speculations about what they might do next.
For example, if you hear about something that happened a few days ago and suddenly see an AI-generated article regarding it, you might wonder whether the author has inside information or has simply guessed what might happen next based on past events.
4. Greater Speed Of News Reporting
Beckett and his team questioned newsrooms utilising AI on how this technology is affecting journalism and the news industry in Polis’ global study on journalism and artificial intelligence, “New Powers, New Responsibilities.”
Artificial intelligence can process large amounts of data–such as Facebook statuses and Tweets about a situation or event, for example–and then come up with a report in a very short amount of time. Therefore, an AI-generated article could be published almost instantly, especially if the information is already being processed by the machine.
5. Better Quality Of Press Releases
Artificial intelligence programs would be able to write high-quality press releases for their human counterparts in media outlets that focus on publishing news rather than creating it themselves. This would entail the writer entering some basic information–such as names of people involved and the actions they performed or said they’re going to take, etc.
6. Greater Pace In News Reporting
More accurate, faster and more focused-on-the-moment reporting would make AI-generated articles more timely. They might not be exactly on point, but they could certainly be more timely than the ones created by humans–and that would make them very useful for readers.
Although a lot of it could still be written by humans if the AI proposed for the article doesn’t meet their standards.
7. More Balanced Reporting
It’s human nature to favor one party over the other in any given dispute or decision-making process. However, with the AI-generated articles, news media will be able to write reports that are more balanced and that cover both parties’ positions in a dispute as objectively as possible.
Even if they have their own biases, they can make sure that they’re not reflected too strongly in their reporting. That’s something that readers would appreciate, too.
8. Less Emotional Reporting
Emotion generally doesn’t factor into human news reporting–but it can when humans get too involved in what they’re writing about. When the human does get attached to a story, it’s quite easy for their emotions to come into play and cause them to focus on one aspect of the story over others.
They might even be able to cover both sides–but only by reporting on one at a time because of their emotional attachment. This can make articles disjointed and hard to follow, which is definitely not user-friendly.
But artificial intelligence could help better organize and write an article from start to finish in one go, which would result in something that’s more useful for readers.
One of the first German media outlets to use AI was The Stuttgarter Zeitung. There is no question that artificial intelligence will permeate the media.
Whether it’s for news reporting, writing press releases or even writing articles themselves, the process will only get easier with time. And at some point, it might even be completely replaced by AI-generated content–which is definitely something that our readers will love!