Will Artificial Intelligence Really Steal Journalists’ Jobs? Here are ten things you need to know7 min read
There’s no doubt that technological development is refining machines (computers, calculators, electronic devices) to levels of precision to make their abilities appear increasingly similar to those of human beings.
Artificial Intelligence or AI, i.e. the ability of a machine to demonstrate human capabilities like reasoning or planning, is one of the fastest growing technological sectors ever. Those who have had the good fortune to use the services offered by Contents.com will know something about it!
However, this frenzy is in certain ways starting to scare some of the “flesh and blood” professionals: there is a fear that in the future AI could completely replace human intellect. But is that really just?
Let’s try to clarify this, explaining in 10 points what the benefits and risks associated with using AI in content creation could actually be.
Can AI really replace a journalist?
It’s worth discussing certain fears that written word experts might have about Artificial Intelligence and its potential impact on the news industry. In fact, there are some myths to dispel and topics to debate.
1 . AI won’t steal journalists jobs
Even if certain work load processes can be lightened thanks to AI, the ability to understand which processes need to be done will always be the prerogative of a human being.
It‘s no coincidence that today Artificial Intelligence in the context of journalism deals mainly with completing the most boring and repetitive tasks, such as the transcription of interviews or the publication of a company’s financial results.
2 . AI is not what you might think
Movies have accustomed us to thinking of Artificial Intelligence as a machine that can actually replace a human being, often even in terms of features. But it’s really only cinematographic fiction.
3. Sometimes AI is even superfluous
Some problems can certainly be solved with the help of AI. Some, on the other hand, could be managed even more practically, and economically by different means. The AI that a platform like Contents.com uses for example, is just one of the possible solutions for content creation. In certain journalistic contexts where a more in-depth analysis is preferred or in the scientific field where the content to be treated is very specific, its use would be completely redundant.
4. There’s no point in using AI without a strategy
Let’s imagine that you’ve “done your homework”: you have evaluated your specific case, you have clarified what AI can and can’t do for you, and you have come to the conclusion that it could actually be useful for you. This is not the time to claim victory, because the implementation of AI can be a big problem without a precise strategy.
Implementing AI is sometimes thought to be a simple process, but that’s not necessarily the case. The truth is that depending on your situation and the type of technology used, the process itself could be much more complicated than your initial expectations.
Automatically optimizing the paywall (i.e. paid access to the contents of a website) to generate as many subscriptions as possible is a completely different thing from filtering user comments: these are two completely different applications of AI!
5. Where to find AI tools
It has been said that Artificial Intelligence can provide journalists and companies with the tools necessary to create content. But where can these tools be found?
Basically there are two options: you can rely on a tool that integrates AI with human creativity, as is the case with Contents.com, or you can develop your own AI tools internally. In the second case, obviously, the expenditure of time and economic resources will be considerably higher.
6. Irreplaceable talent
One of the main challenges that companies face when they want to approach Artificial Intelligence is finding or developing technical capabilities to implement in their projects. The problem is that in the world of journalism there are few who use AI compared to other sectors that are certainly more avant-garde in the use of this tool.
But the difference between journalists and other experts, is that in their work they are not driven only by profit, but also by the desire to provide information. There is no Artificial Intelligence that can replace their talent and ability to work for the greater good, ie
for a more aware and informed society.
7. The role of collaboration
AI-powered projects can and should rely on a collaboration between various industry experts.
It’s possible that people in other newsrooms are facing the same challenges and aiming to build the same type of content that a journalist is working on. It matters little if they are direct competitors, or if they live on the other side of the globe. When it comes to Artificial Intelligence, collaboration between professionals in the same sector is of the utmost importance.
Let’s think of the exchange of information between journalists in the event of an investigation into an online “hate speech“: thanks to Artificial Intelligence, for example, it’s possible to automatically filter and analyze a series of racist, sexist or homophobic comments published in different languages.
8. No worries
It’s often difficult to keep up with scientific and technological discoveries and, consequently, with new opportunities that improvements in AI offer.
The phrase is “no stress”: for your content creation, always apply the knowledge you currently have regarding AI, choosing to update as soon as possible, and remember the saying “knowledge is power”.
9. Artificial Intelligence learns
Artificial intelligence, which is based on machine learning systems, is not perfect: it can make mistakes and it’s therefore important that journalists do not blindly rely on it, but are fully aware of both its benefits and its limitations.
Can an algorithm be sexist, racist, homophobic? Sometimes yes, because like all products of human ingenuity, even IT products suffer the imprint, positive or negative, of whoever created them. For this reason, in recent years the scientific community that deals with AI has been paying increasing attention to identifying, mitigating or eliminating, the biases that can lurk in these systems.
“When someone applies a machine learning algorithm, it’s difficult to control its behavior,” explains Philip Thomas, a university researcher. “But machine learning algorithms are increasingly impacting our lives and it’s therefore of paramount importance to ensure their fairness to avoid harm.” Based on his studies, however, he believes that there is a huge room for improvement for learning artificial intelligence tools.
10. An opportunity for improvement
In general, journalists should see AI as a valuable resource for gathering data and information, consequently for providing better and more accurate journalistic work. Artificial Intelligence should therefore be seen as an ally, and not as a threat.
11. To clarify: Artificial Intelligence and journalism: enemies or allies?
Following this quick review of the topic, it’s clear that some journalists’ fears may be a little exaggerated.
Data in hand, to better explore the relationship between AI and journalism, the London School of Economics recently interviewed around 70 newspapers in 32 countries. It emerged that AI can certainly support and enhance the work of journalists, but to do so it is necessary not only to overcome cultural resistance in this regard, but also to develop a plan to acquire financial resources to invest in it and to implement knowledge on the subject.
Technology can be an ally to the journalist. The key to it revealed in an interview by Marco Pratellesi, pioneer of online information: “AI is a helper: A journalist must know how to manage it to enhance their work”.
To discover all the advantages of integrating AI and human creativity, in the world of journalism and more, we invite you to explore the services offered by Contents.com, a generative artificial intelligence platform that supports the ideation, creation and transformation of content.
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