Journalism and artificial intelligence

Notes by Charlie Beckett (at LSE’s Media Policy Project Blog) : “…AI and machine learning is a big deal for journalism and news information. Possibly as important as the other developments we have seen in the last 20 years such as online platforms, digital tools and social media. My 2008 book on how journalism was being revolutionised by technology was called SuperMedia because these technologies offered extraordinary opportunities to make journalism much more efficient and effective – but also to transform what we mean by news and how we relate to it as individuals and communities. Of course, that can be super good or super bad.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning can help the news media with its three core problems:

  1. The overabundance of information and sources that leave the public confused
  2. The credibility of journalism in a world of disinformation and falling trust and literacy
  3. The Business model crisis – how can journalism become more efficient – avoiding duplication; be more engaged, add value and be relevant to the individual’s and communities’ need for quality, accurate information and informed, useful debate.

But like any technology they can also be used by bad people or for bad purposes: in journalism that can mean clickbait, misinformation, propaganda, and trolling.

Some caveats about using AI in journalism:

  1. Narratives are difficult to program. Trusted journalists are needed to understand and write meaningful stories.
  2. Artificial Intelligence needs human inputs. Skilled journalists are required to double check results and interpret them.
  3. Artificial Intelligence increases quantity, not quality. It’s still up to the editorial team and developers to decide what kind of journalism the AI will help create….(More)”.