We have been attending the Global Editorial Network Summit in Vienna this week and there have been many speeches, workshops and masterclasses on the use of Artificial Intelligence in newsrooms across the world. The range of topics included using robots to write stories, using software to identify elements of a photo and tracing sentiment to news stories on social media platforms.
What is very interesting is that although the technology clearly exists there is evidence that wide-spread adoption is going to a be slow process partly because there is much doubt about exactly how such news is going to be regulated.
The Associated Press is a fairly early adopter of these sorts of technologies and they have already taken some internal steps including giving the automated ‘author’ a byline which clearly identifies that the story was not written by a human. Their applications have focused mainly on the automated creation of company results stories and sports results where they have stepped carefully in terms of ensuring that journalists retain an overview of all output.
What is clear in all the inserts at the conference is that all AI implementations are going to take some time to bed into organisations and be fully accepted by journalists and other writers. It is also going to be tricky to fully regulate how and where such technology can be implanted carefully and appropriately so as to remove internal bias and to allay fears.
What is also clear is that these technologies have already shown that they can save significant journalistic time resources – AP reported that no writing jobs have been lost even though their coverage of final results has increased from 300 to 3,700.
So it is heading our way and AI will affect what you read now or soon but it may just be that general regulation is not quite up to speed with reality.